Even the most original things follow patterns. Or, at least, the human brain detects patterns in even the most original things. After four albums that reshaped alternative music, the Pixies’ style was summed in three words – loudQUIETloud. And after looking after 13 dogs in six months, I’ve made a similar precis of animals’ response to house-sitters – QUIETloudQUIET.
You see, dogs, despite all having wonderfully unique personalities, seem to share some common traits when pushed into the arms of strangers. It is, Mel tells me, a little like babysitting kids. First they’re on their best behaviour, then they push their boundaries, and finally they accept the new normal. The dog we’re currently looking after, Marley, has deflated the theory somewhat by being the same wonderfully chilled, amiable character for the duration of our stay. Marley should be somewhere on that upward slope, but if he has rebelled he’s been so laid back about it we’ve not noticed.