I’ve never felt as bad in my entire life as I did this afternoon when I gave Peppa her flea treatment.
And I have done far worse things than that before now. I mean, who can forget the time I accidentally elbowed a child in the head as he ran through the Cawthorne Maize Maze? Or that time I clocked a kid with my bag in Edinburgh and he gave me evils as he walked down the entire length of the street.
I didn’t feel bad about either of those.
Accidentally injuring a child, it seems, doesn’t trigger any kind of emotional response. But betraying the trust of a small ball of fur that I love to pieces does. And yes, I do love her to pieces, even though she climbs all over me in the middle of the night – she’s particularly adept, it appears, of knowing when I’ve flung off the duvet because I’m too warm so she access to bare flesh. And even though she can go from joyful playing to full-on Tasmanian devil in no time at all, tearing flesh from the bone with glee. And even though she will always get in the way when you’re trying to do something.
And despite the fact that she nearly tripped me up when I went to the loo in the middle of the night.
I bloody love her.
And having her hate me for a couple of hours this afternoon was awful.
Peppa does not like her flea treatment. She also, annoying, recognises every step of it from the initial rustle of the foil blister pack, to the look of the pipette and all the way through to the noise of the small stopper being snapped off. She knows it all. And if she gets wind of it, she’ll run away.
She ran away today.
But I somehow managed to convince her, using sleight of hand extensively practiced on children in the family, that I didn’t have the stuff with me.
But I did. And I got her with it.
And she hated me.
She ran outside and sat in the cold drizzle for a while, for starters. Making a statement. And then came back in and just ignored me completely. I left her alone for a bit. I figured she needed time to calm down. I went to see her after an hour, and she wouldn’t let me anywhere near her. I felt awful. Absolutely heartbroken.
In the end I coaxed her back by lying on the bed for a bit – which turned out to be a mistake from a productivity point of view. But if there’s one thing she can’t resist, it’s leaping from the floor or surrounding furniture into a lying person’s middle, making them fold up like a camp bed.
We’re friends again now, I think.
But if I don’t survive the night, send the police her way…