I have to tell you about the dogs. I'm not a slob by any means, I think we all have a minimum level of cleanliness, but living with dogs increases your tolerance for scummage, they are by their very nature hairy, smelly when wet and often dirty.
Charlie is the small black one that looks like a toilet brush with no stick. He is in fact a Cairn terrier, a very small one, with a lineage that would do credit to the royal family. He has a very long, foppish, double-barrelled kennel club name that I can't even remember. Charlie has a plan to rule the world, and very short legs. Toffee on the other hand is as mad as a hatter, he's simple, I've had more intelligent shrubbery, but he's also love in a fur coat.
There's never been a problem at toilet time, Charlie and Toffee (the Springer) clatter down the fire escape stairs into the garden to do their thing. Except that recently I've noticed that Charlie has been taking his time coming back up the stairs. It's been getting worse recently, I thought perhaps he was suffering from some sort of knee-knack or hip blip (small dogs do), so I've been keeping an eye on him. And then last night the nature of his problem dawned on me, he's put on a bit of weight - it's not the paunch that's keeping him back you understand, but his undercarriage has moved an inch south along with his belly, and he has been smacking his tackle off every single metal step on the upward journey. Ouch!!
I'm not sure what to do. Obviously a diet is the long term solution, but in the meantime I'm considering some sort of genital sling....or perhaps a length of gutter pipe laid down the centre of the stairs might be the solution? I'm a bit worried that the neighbours might get the wrong idea about the latter if they see a tiny dog shooting out of the back of the house and sliding down into the garden on it's genitals.
And just to top things off I spent part of the evening cutting an assortment of twigs, sticky-bobs and briar out of Toffee's backside. He does love a bit of undergrowth and always brings me back a snapshot of the hedgerow he's just investigated. Deep joy.