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I’m off on one of my regular trips to India to visit my mum tomorrow. There’s no-one here to look after the dogs during the day so they’re going into kennels this afternoon, where they’ll stay until Friday.

I hate putting the dogs in kennels. Before we had Raffles, Oscar used to stay with our dog trainer, who used to run kennels of her own. Oscar loves her, and I think the feeling is mutual, so I never had any qualms about this. Two dogs, however, creates much more than double the work, ask anyone with more than one child. Our trainer now has a naughty puppy as well as her other dog who, I am sure, is cleverer than most humans.

That Raffles is not an obedient do-anything-to-please retriever, but a hound with the mind of a cat rather than a dog (I swear) only complicates things. So poor Oscar hasn’t stayed with the trainer lady since last spring. I can’t say I blame her – chewy, yelly beagles are hard work – but it still makes me sad.

This weekend it would appear that my friend @Morethanmum has, as always, beaten me to the two available places at our trainer’s with her two delightful flatties as, lucky thing, she’s off skiing this weekend.

Luckily we’re a short drive from what we consider to be good kennels in Cudham. The dogs seem happy to go there. They get to socialise with lots of other dogs and they have proper walks in the country twice a day. It’s probably far less dull than their life at home. With this cold weather, though, I can’t help wondering what a shock it will be in a kennel rather than in their comfy beds in our cosy sitting room. The first thing I did this morning, after fretting about it most of the night, was to check that the kennels are heated. They are. But still…

We’ll drop them off there this afternoon and come back to a house without dogs to greet us and poke their noses into everything we do, to bark, wag and give us their kisses. A sadder house. As soon as I have had a shower and a nap on Friday morning, I’ll go and collect them and we can be together again.

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