When I first started my day job at the age of seventeen, I had a colleague who was – shall we say – a little on the unfriendly side. For a time this woman sat next to the window, directly opposite me, so whenever I looked up from my work, she’d literally shout at me to stop staring at her! I spent those years too scared to even look out the window, for fear of having my head ripped off!
Thirty years later and I have another type of difficult colleague, only this time she’s small, fluffy and looks rather like a sheep! Betty the Bichon is my almost nine-year-old dog and spends her days sleeping (as in this picture) or telling me off for no particular reason. Just like my scary colleague of 30 years ago, Betty does not like me looking out of the window. In fact it doesn’t matter where she is in the house, if she hears the squeak of my chair, she’ll come racing down to see exactly what I’m looking at, and tell me off while she’s at it. Added to that, from the vantage point of my (her) chair, she can see straight out of the window, so I know all about it if a cat happens to wander past, and don’t get me started on delivery people and the poor postman!
Still, for the most part we are able to co-exist fairly peacefully (especially when she’s asleep!) but something came up on my Facebook memories the other day that made me chuckle. It all happened when I had been asked to do a radio interview over the telephone, while publicising my Thelma Todd book. I knew exactly what time the producer would call, so I decided that to keep Betty quiet, I’d feed her treats while I talked. The producer rang, I sat on the floor with treats in hand, and Betty started to eat… and cough… and choke!! Believe me, Betty never chokes on her treats, so it was sod’s law that it happened when I was about to go live on air, but there you go!
By this time my call had been put through to the studio and they were playing a record before coming to me. I had saved Betty from the choking incident but for some reason she then got wind that I was about to do something very important, and started barking and running round the room like a mad woman. My living room is upstairs so I figured maybe I could run downstairs while the song was still playing, put Betty out in the garden and then get back to the interview in an orderly fashion…
I picked her up, ran down, and opened the back door. Unfortunately at that point my crazy bichon figured that she must be going outside because someone was at the front door, so she went absolutely potty. Then a misguided cat decided to pay our garden a visit and all hell broke loose… Of course all of this coincided with the radio presenter welcoming me onto his show!
Because the noise was so crazy outside, I ran back up to the living room, and tried desperately to answer the interviewer’s questions. By this time, however, I was totally out of breath, which resulted in me talking about Thelma Todd’s mysterious death while doing a great impression of a heavy-breathing phone pest!
Betty was still running rampant outside so I had the bright idea to open the window and throw dog treats out in an effort to keep her quiet. When they ran out, I had to hide myself in the furthest away bedroom where the barking was less audible. Still, afterwards I had quite a few messages congratulating me on the interview and declaring Betty’s presence to be so cute and funny. I wouldn’t quite describe it that way myself, but at least we both got through it (and several packets of dog treats) in one piece.
Since then I’m happy to say that I’ve done quite a few radio interviews without Betty making her presence known at all. However, the next time I do one, make sure to tune in. You never know what you might hear live on air!
Until next time,