Well it’s a hard life being a celebrity author: my paws have barely touched the ground since our book was published in May and it’s been a non-stop cavalcade of festivities, signings and photo shoots. I’m all for the J D Salinger approach to being a writer and would be happy to maintain a low profile but not Jane – she’s accepted every invite that’s dropped through our letterbox before I’ve had a chance to chomp my way through it. I could say something about coat tails and riding but I’ll desist although I did have to draw the line when I saw Dodger charging the other cats in the hood three Dreamies apiece for a tour of our garden. I don’t mind Jane sharing my celebrity as she does assist, a little, but Dodger contributes nadir to Team Phileas – in fact, he’s in deficit in terms of contribution as his 5am wake-up calls are very destructive to my sleep and his constant high-pitched miaowing terrifies the muse when I’m musing.
- So, the summer began with our book launch at the dog-friendly Society Club in London, attended by the great and the good of the creative, canine capital including Rover Reporter Bear the Welsh Terrier. And a puppy called Blue, who stole the show, rather, which was a bit rum considering it was MY show.
The Society Club, 12 Ingestre Place, London, W1F 0JF Tel: 0207 437 1433; website: www.thesocietyclub.com
- Then, being a celebriteeee, I knew I had to do my bit for chariteeee. Life isn’t always ‘Attlee, where did it all go wrong?’ as I lounge atop a bed in a 5* hotel immersed in a sea of Bakers Sizzlers with a JERABONE of sparkling water on the side, you know….So, with my fellow dog blogger Basil from Barkarama, I attended Dogs Unite – a walk for Guide Dogs – at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. We paid £10 and strutted our stuff with hundreds of other charitable canines, all wearing capes proclaiming that we were super-heroes for the day. I wasn’t too keen on the cape – DRESSING UP! But there was more of that to come as the summer unfolded so I shouldn’t have counted my squirrels on that one….
Basil blogs at www.barkarama.co.uk
Dogs Unite walks in aid of Guide Dogs take place around Britain throughout the year: www.guidedogs.org.uk/dogs-unite
- For my next trick, I hot-footed it up to Scotland – to my second home on the Isle of Bute, in fact – for a book signing at Print Point in Rothesay. No doubt, I imagined, hoards of eager fans would greet me and I could rush home to brag and wag to Jane all about it. So imagine my horror, if it won’t spoil your day too much, to find that not only was Jane chaperoning me, she was forcing me to dress up to pull in the punters. Excuse me, Jane, I don’t need to act the BOW BRUMMEL – now I am published and my book a great success the time for these exercises in shameless self-promotion has passed. When I was a struggling, unknown author in a lofty garret attempting to forge a name for myself perhaps – but not now. Does Irvine Welsh dress up as Sherlock Holmes for book signings? No. Does JK Rowling? No again. And neither should I.
Print Point, 24-26 West Princes Street, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, PA20 9AF; www.hive.co.uk/shop/rothesay/print-point
- But it didn’t end there and I urge readers of a gentle disposition to look away now because – more horror – no sooner had we returned to London then my services as a clothes horse were required again. This time I was on the cat walk at Pup Idol at the Spaniards Inn in Hampstead, organised by All Dogs Matter to raise funds for their rescue. Which is all well and good but surely to Dog there are better ways to raise funds than dressing up in a Pearly King’s outfit. Jane cajoled however, reminding me that it was her birthday and pleading that enrolling me in the Best Dressed Dog contest at Pup Idol would be as fine a gift as she could imagine. And since in dog years she is ANCIENT I decided I’d better indulge the old girl this once. So there was I, standing on the stage with at least 50 other dogs in multifarious garb when the winner was announced – and it was ME. Despite my reservations I did experience a shudder of pride, which was quickly extinguished when I saw Jane punching the air in a triumphal manner a la Stuart Pearce scoring a penalty for England in Euro 96. Most unbecoming in an England football player and most definitely unbecoming in a woman in early middle age!
The Spaniards Inn, Spaniards Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 7JJ Tel: 0208 731 8406; website: www.thespaniardshampstead.co.uk
All Dogs Matter, 30 Aylmer Parade, London, N2 0PE Tel: 0208 341 3196; website: www.alldogsmatter.co.uk
- Our next jaunt was to an event I very much fancied the sound of – terrier racing at Epsom. I’m a terrier and I race – job done. Except, when we arrived, Jane, being a frightful square, wouldn’t allow me to race with all the other rufty tufty terriers and I had to spectate instead. The problem was all that all the other terriers had two humans accompanying them – one to help them into the trap at the start and another to round them up when they reeled around exuberantly after crossing the finish line. And I only had one human and she couldn’t be at the start and the end of the race at the same time. Next year – next year I will have two humans to accompany me, Jane’s Guardian Soulmates subscription permitting, and I will race and I will WIN!
- At least I had the great privilege of meeting Dougal the Lab – chief taster at The Black Dog Bakery, who I regularly correspond with on Twitter. Dougal agreed that, had I been allowed to enter by my over-cautious human, I definitely would have aced the race.
- And I met fellow Battersea alumni Rosie, a tripawd Lurcher. Her owners told me that, if she wasn’t too tall for the Derby’s height restrictions, she’d have put all us terriers to shame with her alacrity, even on her three legs. Go Rosie!
The Terrier Derby at Epsom Race Course takes place every August: www.terrierderby.com
- Next on the calendar was fashion again, except, thank Dog, this time it wasn’t me having to wear the fashion – instead I was watching the fashion, as modelled by lots of other unfortunate pups. Ha!My presence was requested as a Rover Reporter on the front row of the Old Spitalfields Paw Pageant, organised by my alma mater Battersea and Love My Dog, which makes top-end tucker for terriers. Indeed, so gratified were Battersea and Love My Dog by my presence at the event that I was gifted a rather grand new collar and lead in my favourite colour – green. (Wherever there is green – ie. THE PARK – there is SQUIRRELS and that’s why I favour it.)
But much as I appreciated the collar and lead, sitting on the front row watching all the fashion was a chore. I don’t know how Anna WinPAW does it week-in and week-out. The first five minutes were all right but then I grew jaded by it all. When you’ve seen one Dachshund in a hat, you’ve seen them all. People and dogs in clothes and then more people and dogs in clothes ad infinitum – exceedingly boring-bones IMHO (in my hound’s opinion)…..
- I did appreciate this chap though – a dog dressed as Sherlock Bones with an owner also dressed as Sherlock Bones. Now this is a much fairer arrangement than when Jane makes me dress as Sherlock while she dresses as – ummm, Jane. At least this chap’s owner appreciates that if his dog is humiliating himself, he should too!
Love My Dog, 36 Ermine Mews, Laburnum Street, London, E2 8BF Tel: 0207 739 4237; www.lovemydog.co.uk