I’m Badger. Allow me to introduce myself. My full name is actually Badger de Pétrus, but my Dad said that the last bit sounds ridiculous so I’m just Badger. I’m a border collie which apparently means that I’m a working dog that was bred to herd up sheep and help farmers. We don’t have any sheep here, although given half a chance my mum would probably buy some, but I find practising with the cat almost as good. Some ducks have just moved in too so I’ve tried herding them, but they have an extra trick up their sleeves because they can fly.
I live in France in a place called Fontalbe with my Mum and Dad and Tiger the cat. I quite like Tiger but I’m not sure he feels the same. He has a very good line in looking at me in a really disgusted way. I also have a (very) big sister called Midnight. She’s a horse and doesn’t live with us, although Mum does keep mentioning it. I’ve got to be honest, we don’t get on that well. She’s got massive, hard feet which move very fast. I know this as I saw one quite close up once by accident. My two brothers also live with Midnight at the stables. They are both quite a bit tougher than me, something to do with their upbringing, and they do pick on me when I visit. Although I try not to show that I care.
I’ve got some pretty good friends too who live close by. There’s Hector, the basset hound, Finlay, a springer spaniel and Trevor, who’s a mixture. Although at the moment, because of something called lockdown, I haven’t seen any of them for ages. I’ve also been missing my trips to the local bars with my Mum and Dad. In particular, I miss going to Katey’s because she would let me help in the kitchen and would give me chips.
Fontalbe is a pretty good place to live although I feel that I have to keep my mum and Dad on their toes a bit. I’ve discovered that the best way to do this is by running off and disappearing. I’ve done this a couple of times. Once, I met some surveyors who were here to measure things to do with the water. They had some brilliant tools; a rake, a spade and a measuring tape. I decided that they were much more fun than my parents so I went with them in their van. I’m not sure how long I was gone but they gave me some of their lunch and I had a little sleep and it was lovely. When my Dad turned up to find me he seemed a bit cross and worried and gave me a stern talking to. My mum had watery eyes and told me never to leave them again. I didn’t really listen to either of them.
Fontalbe is also quite good because there is a lot of stuff to do here. One of my favourite places to play is the river. I’ve found a special muddy place where I can get the mud to stick to my fur, which isn’t a problem for me. It’s also great fun to take my friends, Hector and Finlay, there when they come over to play. We have to get there quickly without anyone spotting us but I can normally manage to get very wet and dirty before my parents spot that I’ve gone. This is even more fun with an enormous basset hound. Then we sneak back into the house and jump onto the pale grey sofa, or onto my mum. This normally only works really well if she’s just got changed and has put on some nice, clean clothes. Then I’m almost guaranteed a reaction. My favourite time was when Hector, Finlay and I did this on Christmas Day. On that day my Mum and Dad had lots of people round and they were all wearing nice things. I was put behind a baby gate after that for a while to keep me out of the way.
Talking about baby gates. I’m not allowed upstairs because apparently that’s where the cat goes, and he’s old and I can’t play with him. However, that’s not a problem for me. My mum often forgets to close the baby gate and then I’ve also learned how to jump quite high and get over it. It’s easy really. I’ve found out that upstairs is like a different world. It’s all really clean and white and there are nice things everywhere that I’m not normally allowed to touch. As long as I stay quiet I can be up there for ages before Mum and Dad even notice. I can do quite a lot in just a few minutes. My mum calls it damage and destruction but I like to think that I’m making things better for her and more comfortable. I did this to a pair of her shoes. I didn’t know that they were expensive or her favourites but they did look very sparkly. I think now that I have eaten the back of one of them they will probably fit her better.
I’m missing my friends at the moment and, although Mum and Dad try, they aren’t the same. I can’t bite Dad’s ear in the same way that I can bite Hector’s because he says that it hurts. The thing called lockdown is going to finish soon, although I don’t think things will be like they were before for a long time. I’ve quite liked having my Mum and Dad around all the time. They can be annoying and I need to look after them, but that’s what you do when you love people. And I think that when the thing called lockdown is over it will be nice to still look after people that you love, even when they are annoying. I think I’m going to try to do this too, perhaps even when my Mum and Dad make me have a bath.