IT ‘s been a very stressful week for Max our Miniature Schnauzer.
He normally looks forward to traditional celebrations like Christmas and Easter, when he passes his days moving from relative to relative, soaking up the praise and attention lavished on him – the Schnauzer equivalent of Nirvana.
But the festive occasion he absolutely hates is Bonfire Night, which this year went on for days.
He didn’t used to be so bad in his youth, but now at the ripe old age of seven and three quarters (he’ll be older than me next year), he becomes a trembling mass of jelly as soon as he hears he first rockets or screamers go off. He won’t even eat his tea, a sure sign that all is not well.
This year I gave up my bridge night to be by his side. On Monday he stood immobile, shaking like a leaf and staring vacantly into space with his ears flattened back.
I tried to distract him by whizzing Rudolph the Reindeer around the lounge, making him disappear under the sofa, only to then pop his head out temptingly towards Max. No reaction, Max looked at me like I was bonkers.
Undeterred, I set to building him a den, placing his luxury suede bed under the coffee table and draping a blanket over the top. Max watched me do it and remained unimpressed.
I crawled in and uttered a few soft and encouraging words to try and tempt him in, it really wasn’t bad in there. I tried coaxing him in with a biscuit – normally a sure-fire winner – but all to no avail.
In the end I ran out of ideas and had to resort to the medical cosh. We had a tablet left over from last year’s visit to the vet which did the trick.
One canine Vallium tablet in a piece of cheese later and Max and I settled down to watch the excellent Norwegian comedy Lilyhammer – I swear I even heard him chuckle.