A Tale of Two Besties

They were the best of friends, they were the worst of friends…

Last week, I introduced you to the happy never after of my old share house, where I lived with my school buddy and her Chihuahua, Chippy, his brother Pepi and Bobbin the cat (my two).

Second time round, it was the picture of domestic bliss, until we agreed that Pepi ought to have a new best friend.

Say hello to Maxi.



Maxi was rescued by the Save-a-Dog Scheme.

When I collected him from his foster home, he had been having fun beating up the other ten Chihuahuas the old lady was temporarily housing.

He was a mean little thing.

He wore his damage with such pride. Like a war veteran, returned.

You just knew he’d seen things that no Jack Russell-cross should ever see. But he’d survived, goddammit, by sheer force of his own iron will.

And no-one, but no-one, was gonna tell him what to do.

He scared the pants off me.

When I introduced him to Pepi, Pepi was all up in his business, totally naïve of Maxi’s bristling fur.

He wouldn’t warn you if he was going to bite. He’d just bite.

And bite he did.

There was no wound, except to Pepi’s pride, and so Pepi resorted to the only form of retaliation he felt sure about. He barked.

And barked. And BARKED.

He scolded Maxi from the safety of the couch, and Maxi, you could just tell, enjoyed sitting there, the untouchable focus of Pepi’s consternation.

It was love at first bite.

VetThere was just one problem, and that was Chippy.

Up until then, Chippy had been Pepi’s shadow, glued to his butt like an annoying younger sibling.

But Maxi, with his eye on pole position, was having none of that.

The day he drew blood from Chippy’s eyebrow, it was Game of Thrones Chihuahua style – and they matched the humans move for move.

Save-a-Dog Scheme didn’t want to take him back.

I was about to resort to begging when Maxi suddenly developed a mysterious back pain that required him to be crated for a week.

Round 3 goes to Maxi.

Once hypochondria dog asserted his right to stay, the lines of fracture in an already troubled kingdom began to split the house apart.

Which was obviously a good time to get Chippy a wife.

Enter Salsa, and before Bobbin could hiss, we had a house full of untrained yappy dogs.


Bobbin with Salsa

Strangely, Bobbin refused to come home, and instead took his frustrations out on the next door neighbour’s cat.

Meanwhile, Maxi discovered the never-before-found holes in the fence, and our merry little gang escaped to terrorise the neighbour’s kids.

Overnight, our home had gone from peace-loving hippies to neighbourhood thugs. Tiny, ankle sized thugs. But still.

We both gave up on grandiose ideas of study and took full time jobs, which we needed just to pay the vet bills.

Every day we came home, Maxi had done a new Houdini underneath the potato vine, and they’d taken their reign of terror to the streets.

It was only a matter of time before council issued a warning.

And we locked the dogs inside.

And someone kicked a hole in our back door. The same someone, we presume, who left the nasty note inside our letterbox.

And my best friend announced she couldn’t stand to live with me there any more.

And our happy days in the house of dysfunction came to a close.


The key to that place sits now atop a pile of other unmarked keys, unlocking memories that are nothing if not bittersweet.

Maybe if we hadn’t been so preoccupied with all that petty human crap of who did what to whom and when, we might have seen what Maxi saw, and what took me years to finally recognise.

Pepi had the secret to another way.

Stranger than Fiction

Join me next week to celebrate Pepi’s alternate reality! Yayyyy, already…. 🙂

There’ll be freebies and giveaways and general bribery.

And just to get you in the mood, here’s one from Pepi’s playlist…

What’s your worst ever share house experience?


  1. says

    Wow Alarna what a story! I have no share house experience (not counting fighting with my brothers here!) because I moved from my parents house to a unit by myself to sharing a house with husband (that took some compromise and adaptation too!) Can’t wait to next week!

  2. says

    Thanks for “sharing” your story! I think it’s hard to bring animals from different backgrounds into one space. There is always the individual who has to assert him/herself as the Alpha. I can appreciate how difficult that must have been.

    • says

      Thanks for reading! 🙂 At least dogs do tend to sort out the pecking order eventually. Cats can be more difficult – if they decide they don’t like each other, it can turn into a nightmare. But I wouldn’t recommend either scenario, unless you know what you’re doing 🙂

  3. says

    Share houses can be tough even without throwing dogs with issues into the mix! Though I do love and adore dogs, even ones with issues.
    I have lived in mutliple share houses and being single I probably have a few more to come. I have had a lot of good times and a few bad experiences. One of my housemates stunk and I mean stunk! I always knew when he was home, just by the smell!

    • says

      This reminds me of a way less cool version of the Black Eyed Peas song – ‘we keep it stinky, stinky stinky stinky…’. Ugh. Don’t think I could handle that, but then again, Maxi had the worst BO of any dog I’ve ever known 🙂

  4. says

    “Game of Thrones Chihuahua style.” Cracking up!

    I have only shared my house with my children and husband; before I got married I was too stubborn and reclusive to live with a roommate. Now I’m well and truly stuck with whatever boy-habits and general awfulness they throw at me.

    • says

      It’s good to know when one is not cut out for share house living – at least a home with your boys is a bubble of your own creation. I should have known I wasn’t made for it. Even at boarding school I never had to share a room!

  5. says

    I’ve had so many roommates and so many roommate situations and they all worked out well except for this one biatch– I’ve never met someone so entitled in my entire life. There were 5 of us living in a 3-bedroom house (college) and she didn’t see anything wrong with saying something like “no, we will do it this way because that’s what I want and I always get what I want.” She’d refuse to pay an equal share of the electric bill because she said it was higher because we had to vacuum so often due to her allergies but it was my fault for owning a dog. Oh gosh, the memories are rushing in!

    • says

      Where do people like that come from? Only child, spoiled rotten by indulgent Daddy? That’s got to be the worst thing about share houses… dividing up the bills. It can all turn so petty and penny pinching!

  6. no1talks says

    I shared a one bedroom apt with my friend and her dog “Homer”, he snorted like a 300 hundred pounds gorilla and some early mornings I had to throw pillows at him from my bed to my roommates bed to get him to move and get quiet just a little longer, BUT occasionally those pillows landed in my friend’s head …weird to clarify to a sleepy woman you just throw a pillow to.

  7. says

    Holy animal farm! LOL! The only house I ever shared was with my husband, but I did study abroad and shared an entire floor of a building with eight other college kids who were from every part of the world. A couple of us spoke English. Mainly we all tried to communicate in broken German. The worst part was the kitchen…that’s a story for a different time. If we each had a pet, I can’t even imagine the global chaos that would have ensued! : )


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