Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Wherever we go... Hugo!

Do you remember we had a date with Hugo?

Hugo in Tiergarten

Well, much to our own surprise, we had him to stay for a sleepover. I'd mentioned that we would be happy to have him should his owners ever fancy a weekend away, and it just so happened they did. It was brilliant fun. And it was a really great experience for the kids. I think they learned a lot from having him here.

Hugo and his pack.

He came on Sunday morning and we let him settle in and have a good sniff around the place. I made best use of Hugo's visit by getting the kids to tidy up all their toys in case Hugo swallowed small bits and choked on them. Hugo had no intention of eating any of their toys, but still it kept them nice and tidy for a couple of days. So it was worth it for that alone.

We took him on a good long walk around Tiergarten. His 'mum' had said that he enjoyed long walks, so that's what we gave him walking via Hansaplatz to the English Tea Garden then on through Tiergarten to the playground and a little picnic and a rest, then straight through the middle of the nude sunbathing area (can I just say Stevie chose the route: Hugo hardly knew where to look for all the sausages on display) and then back home via the boating lake, the Zoo, and then I 'think' we might have stopped off at the American Festival of the People in Breitscheidplatz on the way back.

He's the perfect size for little girls.

Not knowing Hugo's routine very well I tried taking him out again after dinner, and again at bedtime. He wasn't very keen on going out after dinner, and when it came to the bedtime walk he just looked at me as if to say "Seriously, you want to go out again?" and then refused to leave the apartment.

The kids were thrilled to have Hugo to stay. Stevie less so. Mostly because he was being selected as a test subject to see if he *really* was allergic or just pretending as I suspected. "What a hassle" he kept muttering, until after a couple of hours he realised that Hugo was in fact a miniature fraction of the hassle of our two kids. I think he particularly appreciated the fact that you can walk with Hugo attached to you and he's not trying to pull your arm from it's socket by spontaneously swinging off it, and he doesn't whine and moan every few steps about 'how much further' it might be. He was a joy that way.

It was such a big learning experience for us all. The kids learned so much over the course of a couple of days about how Hugo is different to a person ("Are you sure he won't talk AT ALL???", "Why is he not having lunch???" "Couldn't we help him use our toilet?"), we learned that Stevie is allergic, in the sense that it was as if he suddenly developed a really bad cold and was sniffing away all the day, but not so allergic (eyes puffy and red and streaming) that it would completely put me off. But we also learned, or rather I did, that now is not a good time for us to have a dog. Man, being a grown-up actually sucks.

If we got a dog, then it would be *my* dog and I would be the one to look after it and take it out, and the trouble would be that it just wouldn't always be practical to take the dog out given we have the two kids. Hamish was getting a bit bored of going out walks all the time (though admittedly Hugo could have been walked a lot less, but my only dog walking experience was my springer spaniel when I was a teenager, and she enjoyed a lot of walking) so I am sure there would be a lot of arguments about having to accompany me on walks with the dog on rainy, cold, or snowy days. On top of this, with Stevie often away with work, I just couldn't take the dog out at night if the kids are in bed. We can't just stick the dog out the back door when we live in an apartment, and even though it is likely we will move back to our house with a garden at some point, it made me think about how the kids get narky at even 7 o'clock when I'd need to walk it at it's early evening walk.

So much as we loved having him, we had to hand him back, and we all miss him quite a lot because he added to our family. And I still think it's crap that I have to be a grown up and can't just follow Hamish's instruction of "just tell his Mummy that he's ours now".


  1. Aw, I hope you do get your dog when the kids are bigger, and for now you can keep borrowing Hugo! Loved the pic of the kids crawling along, laughed so much at their questions, and felt nothing but pity for Hugo confronted by all those sausages..!

    1. Thanks, i hope we get one one day too. We're all missing him already :-(

  2. Smart kids - dog napping is definitely the way to go. He looks just right with your kids.

    My husband was mildly allergic to cats until I just got one and made him suffer through it for a while. Magically, his allergies diminished. Not a good plan for most people, but worked for us.

    1. I know, he's the perfect size for them. It's such a shame. I might follow your allergy reduction plan one day... but maybe not for a while.

  3. Hi Fiona,
    I'm creating a series of guest swap posts on Schultueten this year and wondered if you'd like to be included? I'd love to re-post this one on my blog and can send you the text of my post which I'll be posting around next week.
    Take care,


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