The 11 month old Lurcher’s future hangs in the balance – the Sighthound Rescue Home’s number is on speed dial, the scary, made-in-China training collar is his last hope.
It’s not the fact that he’s eaten his bodyweight in Haviana flip flops this summer (not to mention a Dolce & Gabbana mule, a pair of Russell & Bromley wedges, the entire back of some sturdy Caterpillar boots).
It’s certainly not the fact that he helped himself to a box of acrylic paints and chewed them all over the playroom carpet. Seagrass with attractive patches of Azure Blue, anyone?
It’s not the disgraceful thieving – impossible to catalogue so we’ll leave it at the gently cooling home-made chicken and ham pie. He stood on his hind legs and left nothing but a couple of peas for us to fight over.
Or the fact that last week he helped himself to a live chicken straight from the hen-house of my sister’s aggressive new neighbour (think Chelsea Headhunter meet Hell’s Angel and you’re halfway there) .
No, it is because three days ago he was rescued moments before he blithely stepped onto the A303 like a suicide bomber. It is because a day later, he was found a mile and a half away terrorising a very sweet 2 year old boy who was attempting to play football with his brother. The dog is not aggressive but he does love football and he stands 5 foot tall on his hind legs.
And, despite one to one behavioural therapy with a jobsworthy dog trainer (is there any other kind?) you can still call his name ‘Rocket’ ‘ROCKET’ ‘ROOOCCCKKEETTT’ and he’ll stand a metre away, insolently watching you, smirking like Sid Vicious. He is the punk rocker of Lurchers.
But of course we can’t part with him. He is also a sweet natured, loyal and loving puppy who leaps up in a state of apoplectic excitement whenever we arrive home and would sit on my lap as I type if he could.
Instead we’ve stepped up our pet insurance (£I million liability, only a fool would consider anything less), and we bought one of those electric shock training collars which would cause a collective meltdown at the RSPCA.
It took 5 weeks to arrive but within half hour Rocket was lying at our feet dutifully, the great big outdoors his for the taking if he only had the nerve. Who’s the punk rocker now?
We only used the shock button once (not great, we tried it on ourselves first) and then the warning buzz noise was enough to stop him dead in his tracks.
A positive email to my friend at the Sighthound Rescue Home.
‘Yes! I think we may have cracked it!’
Today I happily set off for a walk with my newly disciplined lurcher and he launched himself head first into a cattle trough for an impromptu swim before racing off into the middle of a herd of cows.
'ROOCCKKEETTT!" Frenetic pushing of the remote control buttons - first the warning light, then the buzzer, finally the electric shock. Nothing happens because, of course, the Made in China training collar is now broken.
So what now? Like I said, I’ve got the Sighthound Rescue Home’s number on speed dial.