The Dog and the Double Glazing Salesman

I have no idea why the dog took to the double glazing salesman so.

But he did. This is the routine: someone knocks at the door. The dog looks down from on high, on the top stair, staring imperiously down his moustache like some 19th century major about to order the charge of the Light Brigade.

Having checked his epaulettes, he charges down the stairs, barking gruffly to get things straight. And then things go one of two ways.

The timid shrink away, and the dog is yanked off by his collar, protesting and uttering loud remonstrations, to a room where a door is put between himself and the visitor. He pines and scratches the door and behaves generally very badly indeed.

The bold lean down, and tickle the dog beneath his chin, and the Major and his moustache are mollified, and potter off to patrol somewhere else.

Except, on rare occasions, when he has a case of serious hero worship.

And for some reason, this was one of those occasions. I shooed the dog away upstairs to his cushion; but within just a few short moments he was back to curry favour in a most unmilitary style. Maddie, I implored to my daughter, please take Macaulay away, he is distracting the double glazing salesman from his work. But when I next looked, Macaulay was there, next to the double glazing salesman on the sofa.

Helplessly, I apologised. Do you mind him there, I asked? No, no, of course not, said the salesman, but then he has to say that, doesn’t he?

Dogs. They just like us. I have no idea why. And where we are, they are.

Felix has a small toy dog. He is blue and he looks like this:


And I was struck, when I pottered round the British Museum the other day, with this dog, a piece of tourist art from the Solomon Islands:


They both have that same dog thing going on. The wiry tail, the gung-ho grin, the impression that any minute now they are going to charge headlong helter-skelter into life without a backward glance. That same endearing untrustworthy potential energy.

This is why I love dogs. They are always hairy, often dirty, their habits are earthen. And they are always there, in the background, behind man. The Solomon Islands dog is featured in a picture from decades ago. There he stands, grinning, plotting his next move.


It has been thus for time immemorial. And one of my favourite pieces in the British Museum’s Ancient Europe section is another set of dogs. This time, they are intent on a duck. And dogs and duck are about 2,463 years old.

They rest on the top of a pair of bronze flagons, found in Basse-Yutz in France in 450BC.

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The detail and the artistry, stretching that far back, beggar belief: but it is the affection which really astounds. Those dogs want that duck. But the artist has ensured they will never, ever reach it.

Today I was privileged. Without sentimentality I can say that a day spent with real, unspoilt children is one of the best panaceas for a tired, slightly jaded grown up. My children and their friends came with me to a hands on science centre, which included entrance to a planetarium.

We lay back on chairs worthy of British Airways first class, and stared at the domed ceiling as our guide led us from the plough, to the North star, to the great bear, and finally to Orion.

And who should be standing just behind Orion of the star-studded belt, but Sirius, the dog?

Not battling the bear, mark you: wily Sirius lets Orion do the hard work. But he is always there. And though that grin is not visible in the night sky, I sense Sirius the dog stands just the same, with his eyes on the Seven Sister constellation as if it were a particularly bouncy ball, or a duck.

Perhaps he thinks Orion is a double glazing salesman.


43 thoughts on “The Dog and the Double Glazing Salesman

  1. Aw, Mac. He is a delight. As have many Macs been before him. I adore dogs, too. Great post, Kate.

    (Don’t ask me why I am awake at 2am my time. I am just proud to be the second commenter.)

    1. πŸ˜€ Andra! Lovely to see you now! It’s 7:05am here, and it’s my birthday. Phil has the day off, life is good if a bit grey and snowy. Hope you drop happily off to sleep again…

  2. Happy birthday Kate – wonder if it has anything to do with DG salesmen pheromones. We used to have a dog that would wee on all those he loved, it was most embarrassing.

  3. Dogs can be so quirky! Macaulay is king of the quirks, but that’s such a part of his charm, even if he is loud and stinky. You share a birthday with Bette Davis, Kate. I hope this will be a great year for you.

      1. Wow. Hm. Is your birthday this year one before a milestone; something ending in a 4 or a 9, so your super motivated? The ones ending in 9 are the ones that freak me out.

  4. Seems I missed your birthday, but the wishes are just as warm. My husband says we are to celebrate our birthday every day…and as I get older, I think perhaps he’s onto something! πŸ™‚

    Macaulay is a brilliant instinctual beast! There must have been something genuinely open in spirit about your “guest” even if not readily apparent to you. Dogs know–or perhaps there was beef jerky in his pocket. And very truly, whenever I’m depleted, emotionally low and questioning where I fit into the grand scheme of life, staring up at the sky speaks to me to just keep going and live in a constant state of wonder. I think you’re getting the same message, but it’s often hard to hear that in a busy household with inquisitive brilliant children and extraordinary pets! oxo

    1. No, today is my birthday, Debra, and your wishes are perfectly timed. Though I make a point of making my birthday last about a week. Yes, the sky reads like a promise, doesn’t it? And it has near-eternity in its favour. We looked at the Seven Sisters which are distinguished by their youth and vitality as stars. They are only 100 million years old.

  5. Dogs can be such a joy. It’s no mystery why many hospitals incorporate them into their healing measures. I don’t think my children will ever forgive my husband for being so horribly allergic to them…

  6. Major Macaulay, “Madam, men without spines are not men. Men who give under chin screeches to dogs are marvels of the human kingdom.” πŸ™‚

  7. Reminded of my now long ago gone yellow lab. A real love my daddy female. If there is an afterlife and I can choose two “people” to accompany me it would be that dog and my first grandchild.

  8. A Dutch born Instructor I had in art school titled all of his paintings DOG. At the time he was at around the mark of DOG 850 more or less. He was a colourist, thus there was no imagery in his shtufffs.

    Had to laugh, when a knock at the door comes here, Elvira rises an eye brow, looks at me, barks once and looks at me in away that says, ‘well are you going to get the door or do I have too’.

  9. I’m very fond of animals – all types – and vice versa. It took awhile for my next door neighbor’s dog to warm to me. But after she did, she enthusiastically runs up, waits for her head rubbie, dashes off and then returns for more. If we all were so eager to see one another, what a great world this would be.

    I’d love to be able to sit down and chat with you – and with Macaulay. What fun!

  10. For my sins I worked within the double glazing industry for a short time. There are probably a few genuine people that work in it, but the reputation the trade has gained is fully justified. I just hope your dog is a good judge of character!

  11. I’ve had such a grand time catching up on your posts, Kate, and especially this one. Aren’t those dogs grand? as well as the one who lives with you and sidles up to the glazing salesman.

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