A dog’s life

10375114_10152195698608167_2854753701065428763_nI’ve got this dog, his name’s Murphy and he’s a Cockapoo which is half spaniel and half poodle.

He’s nearly five months old and fitting into the family fairly well, though he’s basically daft as a brush – the kids like him, he likes us, I think. He’s going to be bigger that we thought due to my wife, who made the purchasing decision, not realising there was a difference between toy poodles, which are tiny, and miniature poodles, like Murphy’s dad, which are bigger.

She said I didn’t have a clue either, but I pointed out that I hadn’t been doing the research.

I don’t know what they are getting up to at the Large Hadron Collider in Cern either but they would be hard pressed to blame me if it all goes pear-shaped given I had nothing to do with the planning stage.

1010860_463422437123233_4549282047718340273_nAnyhoo, you may be asking, what’s all this got to do with creative writing? Well – here’s the thing. Various writers down the years have claimed that looking after animals helps you as an author.

There was one, I forget most of the details now, including the name and the period, who claimed that the writing life should involve a good deal of animal husbandry, including looking after a cow, sheep and so on – plus tending crops in what amounted to a small-holding. He was basically suggesting a career as a farmer then, with a bit of fiction on the side.

I’m guessing he was one of the Romantics – it certainly smacks of them doesn’t it?

All of the cattle and sheep would be too much trouble in a suburb I’m sure you agree. But I do run to the dog and a veg plot full of spuds and beans. So – has nurturing Murphy improved my writing life?

On the whole I would say no.

For example, he chewed up my story about someone hunting for a lost tortoise and I had to write it again, also, while I was trying to edit on the computer in the spare bedroom he did a huge poo on the landing, which he seemed very proud of and which hung around in the atmosphere for some time after, even once lots of Fabreze had been sprayed and a vanilla scented candle was burning on the desk.

1897704_10152050442158167_2055527088_nHe does like going for walks of course, and walks are good for writers. They are useful thinking time and it’s always better to do some thinking before you do the writing I find. Walking around with a dog seems less weird to passers by than ambling about on your own.

Many writers seem to have cats – they put pictures on Facebook of them sitting on their desks, stretched out over the keyboard. Cats don’t bite your ankles, they don’t stick their big wet heads in your lap and whine, they don’t bark at the door until you get them a biscuit. Unfortunately my wife is allergic to cats. I assumed she was making this up because she didn’t want one, but then we went to see a friend who had one, it sat on her knee and she went red and blotchy almost straight away. It was all she could do to croak: ‘I told you so.’

Perhaps the best thing Murphy has done for me as a writer is make me think less about writing, which is a healthy distraction. I already have plenty of those what with the kids, and the proper job and so on, but still – it offers a fresh perspective, and I suppose he is quite cute.

ImageDon’t forget if you get a moment to take a look at my book Song of the Sea God.

You can look inside to read the first few pages free and download a free Kindle sample for UK readers here. And for readers in the USA here.

 

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22 thoughts on “A dog’s life

  1. Hahahaha… one of the funniest blogs you’ve written!!! Oh – may I point out that cats walk across your keyboard and change bits of your text…or jump the book 300 pages… or even manage to delete bits or they make you sneeze by running their tails under your nose while performing said manouvres. So they are just as destructive. BTW that dog is SO bloody Damn CUTE!! And I don’t lie dogs!!!

    • Sorry, Chris, but just had to have a laugh at carol’s comment here…yes, Murphy is too gorgeous for words, even if you don’t like dogs…and I do!!

    • Thank you Carol – I’m not really a big dog person either, but I am coming round to him. I get a very big welcome when I come home from work now, and that’s never happened before!

  2. Love it, Chris! This really made me chuckle – especially the chewed up story and the land(ing) mine!! And if you ever get fed up with Murphy, I’ll have him. I don’t know about helping with my writing, but animals have certainly given me lots of material for writing – my current pooch to name but one, not to mention a whole book about my adventures in farming 🙂

  3. Yes. I know! I too am a writer and mother to two of the most spoilt rotten hounds in the universe. One drools and the other has a piercing bark that can shatter eardrums – neither is conducive to writing anything apart from funny blogs about how enriching animals are to one’s life – with tongue firmly in cheek! Lovely post, thank you.

  4. I have had dogs in the past and can recommend the benefit of their company. We are blessed (is this the right word?) with a cat who thinks he’s a dog these days. In some respects he is worse than any dog (Carol got that right!) and I really could write a book about him as some of the things he gets up to are hilarious!
    Love the post, by the way Chris, good stuff…

  5. While Murphy is indeed abominably cute, I can imagine that on the whole he is not being quite the advantageous acquisition your mystery advisor was referring too. But that is the nature of hounds. They require an awful lot more attention than most other animals.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. But after having been mother to a young dog a while back I can quite honestly say that I got very little writing done because I had my hands too full with him and his myriad tricks.
    I think cats are better writing muses, personally.

  6. Lovely blog post Chris and even lovelier dog muse, Murphy. You know damned will you won’t get any writing done when he’s around. You’ll be staring into his melty brown eyes every five minutes and then you’ll be wondering how big he’s going to get (look at his big paws OMG!!!) and if he’ll fit through the study door in the end, or the front door for that matter. Forget serious pursuits, this dog is distraction on four legs. Enjoy!!!! 🙂
    Just be grateful you don’t have a mad, manic dog like my Jack Russell Wallace…..

  7. Worse comes to worse you write about the dog and then it goes on to become a best seller and they make a mediocre movie out of it.

    Oh wait, that was ‘Marley and Me’ not ‘Murphy and Me’ wasn’t it?

    Never mind. Keep up the walking and, from personal experience, he’ll be a great distraction when the writing doesn’t go so well.

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