Staying at the hound hotel

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The boy Walter has gone to a better place.

He hasn’t died or anything, the self-appointed King of Williamson Park spent three days earlier this week at a dog hotel to give us all some respite care from him.

It’s the dog equivalent of a spa break.

Three walks a day and a big paddock to charge around and annoy the living daylights out of other dogs who just want some peace and quiet.

He’s like that mate we’ve all had who, after a couple of drinks, turns into what Viz’s Roger’s Profanisaurus calls a “Two can Van Damme”, generally placid until he sees a rival hound and turns into a boxing kangaroo but runs off with his tail between his legs at the merest hint of resistance.

As anyone who has ever owned a sighthound will tell you, they are absolute lunatics until the age of two and our Walt reaches that milestone in August.

Their favourite game is 40mph bitey face with other like-minded longdogs.

To the untrained eye it looks like a cross between a fight to the death and the pod racing scene in The Phantom Menace.

To longdog owners it’s a welcome chance to blow off some steam and reach the holy grail, to walk home with a knackered dog on the end of a slack lead.

Our two cats have been strutting around with their hands in their pockets like the weight of the world has been lifted off their shoulders as they stroll in and out at their leisure without having to face daily reruns of the Waterloo Cup as Walter plays zoomies from the back door to the sanctuary of the other side of the stairgate every time they come in for some kibble and a lie down.

The kids have missed him, sort of. It’s not like they walk him or anything helpful like that but a home isn’t a home without a cold wet nose and a waggy tail.

But he skipped in to his holiday retreat last Sunday without so much as a backwards glance to me, the boss and daughter #2.

And when we pick him up he’ll be four things: filthy (although a bathing service is on offer), exhausted (slept for 20 hours straight last time), half a kilo lighter but very happy.