The last few weeks I’ve been hanging out with a dog called kenzo. Kenzo is a springer spaniel who lives with a fabulous musician who is out on tour with his legendary octogenarian mother. My job is to hang out, go on walks, and water the plants occasionally. Also, to not kill the fish, but if they die, well, they’re only fish.

A cafe in East Moseley

This is far from my first dog sit, but I’m beginning to understand what Chris Packham meant when he said his dogs (in this case, poodles) saved his life when he was younger. As soon as Kenzo is off lead with plenty of undergrowth to explore, she is the platonic ideal of dog.

Nunhead cemetery

Bouncing, sniffing, bounding, leaping, from one side of my path to the next. And the unadulterated joy for the outdoors rubs off on me, and I notice the birds, and the trees, and even find a kind of peace in the unseasonal April snow.

I’ve read a lot recently on how having insecure housing – and for Britain, that’s pretty much all private renters – really impacts on one’s ability to maintain a relationship, or indeed to leave one. But I don’t read as much about how the lack of ownership generally means you can’t have any pets. 

Most landlords are pretty insistent about this. With a cat, you can perhaps get the various accessories (tree, litter tray, dreamies) out of the house for an inspection. For a dog, it’s harder due to the sheer levels of care and work required. It’s like having a child, except you never get past the clearing up the shit phase. And they never head off to university.

But it’s so, so worth it. And as I grow older, I wonder if I’ll ever reach the point of being able to have a Kenzo of my own, or whether I’ll continue to cosplay my way through owning (sitting) the dogs and cats of the south.

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