Emily Howlett: Mud and mayhem – Hearing dog in the hills

Posted on October 30, 2017

Last time I told you about my wonderful, life-changing Hearing Dog, Baron Von Georgeington, I was properly gushing. I jabbered on about all the great things he can do; alerting me to the doorbell, letting me know when my son is calling for me and actually being a reliable alarm clock (a big, fat Labrador just can’t fall down the back of the bed in the same way a tiny Shakeawake can).

So, yes; George changed my life. Everything about our partnership is joyful and positive and sunshine and… disgusting.


George is a brilliant dog. But he is still a dog. And he regularly picks the best (worst) moments to remind me he is a dog.

For example, the first day of my recent job, acting in Tribes at Sheffield Crucible. As with all large theatre productions, we started with a room stuffed full of people, being introduced to the massive team required to put six actors on a stage and make a damn good show.

George waited until we were just about to start, walked over to one of the other actors, and belched a small pile of sick next to her shoes. By way of introducing himself, obviously. (He’d only just had breakfast, and eaten it a bit too fast for fear one of these new people might try and steal it.)

Or the time I was in a super important Board Meeting, absolutely chock-full of Very Top People who we had to ask for money and support. George not only fell asleep under the tables, snoring extremely loudly (I could even feel it through the floor), but then decided the meeting was boring, stood up, stretched dramatically and thunked his head onto the table.

He rested his chin there, glaring at everyone, until the meeting was adjourned. (And everyone applauded him, because, frankly, we were all bored to death by that point.)

And then there’s this past weekend. By way of a day off, I took George into the Derbyshire Dales, along with some other humans. When you go walking in the hills, you meet a lot of friendly people, and if you have a dog, they ALL stop to say hello.

Naturally, on the way up the mountain, I was telling everyone what a wonderful, professional canine he is – “Hearing dog, yes, years of training, yes, totally clean and hygienic at all times, yes.” They were all suitably impressed.

On the way down, I had this.

Because not only is George a Super Dog, he is a Super Bog Dog. We have discovered that he will literally swim in a peat bog. He will dig for NOTHING in a peat bog. If I let him, he would definitely be quite happy to spend the rest of his life IN A PEAT BOG.

And, of course, I’d been so smug on the way up about how everyone could use the ‘Call mum’ command; even when the strong wind meant they couldn’t hear each other shouting they could still get my attention. Talk about setting yourself up… All the way down, everyone took great pleasure in ‘calling Mum’, until my trousers were COVERED in peat-bog-nose stains.

This dog is ridiculous. And still the best one I know.

Read more of Emily’s writing for us here.

Emily Howlett is a regular writer for this site. She is a profoundly Deaf actress, writer and teacher. She tweets as @ehowlett

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