From time to time, The Black Dog comes to live in my house. He mooches around, tripping me up, getting in the way, leaving a rather disappointing odour wherever he goes. This is the fourth time he has come to stay: he first arrived just days after I became a Mum and hung around, uninvited, for almost three years. Two years later he came for a briefer stay after a miscarriage, and popped by for an even shorter visit after my second beautiful boy was born. I think he likes the smell of maternal hormones. Then again, this time there has been no new baby to make up for the dog’s company. I was busy dealing with a family bereavement, an injury that left me immobile for several weeks, a new job and a move to a new city and I guess I left the back door open. The dog snuck back in.
I have learned a few things about living with the Black Dog over the last 9 years. I have learned that if you get a grip and firmly tell him to leave he rolls over for a tummy tickle. If you try to ignore his presence and live as though he simply is not there you find him chewing up your mail, eating food off your table and bounding up to greet visitors before you have a chance to put on your friendly face. If you stay in bed waiting for him to leave he gets into bed with you.
So here’s how I persuaded The Black Dog to finally leave each of the last three times… I took him out for little walks every day and the more we walked the less inclined to stay with me he was until eventually he just left. And that’s what I am going to do now: I am going to spend the next 50 days taking the Dog for a little walk each day and see if that’s enough to encourage him to move on again.
If you like, you can walk with us.