A dog through a glass, dimly

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We have a patterned glass front door. It blurs visitors; but you can see exactly who they are.

Through this door, every day, a minimum of twice a day, the dog steps for his forest romp.

He stands in the porch, with the wellies and the bicycles, and the ex-tv cabinet which now doubles up as a shoe rack because it seemed a shame to throw it away, and he whines noisily and insistently. When you want to put a lead on him he spins round and round and round, not to be obstructive, but rather because he simply can’t sit still.

And then you open the porch door and you’re off, along the path and through the gate, and out into the great outdoors.

Yesterday morning, I let the dog off the lead almost immediately. Yet he did not do his customary bullet-out-of-a-gun impression. Instead he performed a strange slinky sideways silverfish move which took him into neighbouring invasive rhododendron bushes.

I happen to know it’s the haunt of the local deer.

Deer are experts at reverse psychology. One day at a deer council meeting someone from the forward planning committee must have pointed out that the place humans would be least likely to look for deer would be right next to the main road. And ever since, that is where they have made their home.

So I strode on off the path, ready to break into a run, when no dog appeared.

This happened quite a lot for the next five minutes.

I started calling for him peremptorily, like those sheepdog handlers, and progressed to wheedling. By the end of the five minutes I was hollering furiously and turning beetroot.

After ten minutes the dog put in a brief appearance. And he was delighted, for he had found his favourite thing in the world: something furry and long dead.

And then he saw my dismayed face and he thought: quick, scarper. And he ran back where he had come from.

Some 15 minutes later I was so hoarse, the dog thought that meant I had forgiven him. Miraculously, the furry long dead thing had gone. He trotted happily round with me on my short run, and we repaired to the house, the dog stopping only to pick up his prize on the way.

Curses.

So there I was, horrified, with a lead attached to a dog attached to a long dead piece of what I estimate may have been deer.

Have you ever tried to prize dead deer out a terrier’s jaws? Don’t. It’s unspeakable.

So horrified was I, that I left it where I managed to get him to drop it. I couldn’t go near it. ItΒ sat there on the drive, and every time Macaulay returned from walking he would re-clamp his jaws around it and we would play horror-tug-of-war and I would run inside and wash my hands obsessively and if possible shower.

That was yesterday. This evening, Phil came home from work.

The dog stared pointedly and unremittingly at him. Long after my husband had finished the chicken pie he was eating.

“Has the dog been walked this evening?” he ventured.

No, I admitted sheepishly, he hadn’t.

Phil took him out, and they came back. And through the patterned glass was the impressionistic figure of my husband and a dog, stolidly clenching his precious. Phil hadn’t noticed.

“You’re not coming back in,” I said stubbornly. “Not until that dog has jettisoned the dead thing in his mouth.”

I watched Phil, indistinct,come to the same aghast realisation that I had. It was like watching Marcel Marceau.His whole body cringed at the dog’s find. The dog just stood there. I’m not putting it down, his whole being emanated.

Exclamations and bad words later, the thing had been prized from the dog. My husband shot past me shuddering, bound for the cloakroom and the soap. And the dog was all silent reproach.

We had taken his precious.

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42 thoughts on “A dog through a glass, dimly

    1. He is, Jennifer πŸ˜€ I like the slipper hypothesis. It might explain why one of Mac’s favourite places is next to the clothes Phil has worn for the day.
      Although, best not to think about that too much.

  1. Oh yuk … and if you don’t confiscate it Precious hangs around becoming more and more noisome each day … !

    Tough love, I say, lots of tough love and nights out on the porch. But somehow I relent after a few hours, thinking of the snake that came by, or the neighbours’ sleepless night for the whimpering and crocodile tears (Maggie has a repertoire straight from vaudeville) and a bit of a wash around the chops and she’s right back where she wants to be, on the bed, head angelically resting on her own pillow, snoring sonorously while Miss and I look on in astonishment!

    I must admit it’s times like these I’ll bet you’re glad you put your foot down about his sleeping arrangements!

  2. Laughing hard here, Kate. Love it. Precious! It so reminds me of Roly And The Pizza of Wandsworth Park but also of a great story told when I was on a Dog List (you get drawn into these things on the internet, I find).

    It was a story of a woman who loaded her two dogs into her pick-up and drove off to some scenic spot in America (vague, sorry) for a walk. So the dogs found this elk carcass… and disappeared inside it and absolutely wouldn’t come out. So, after hours waiting, she felt she had no alternative but to haul the horrid thing on to the pick up and take it home slowly, with the dogs still inside! She unloaded it on to her back yard and it was another day before the dogs finally emerged.

    Now this may be a total myth and I have summarised it but the way it was told made me hoot with laughter so it was probably worth it whatever the truth!

  3. ugh, deer carcass! Gwynn once found a still-fur-covered deer foreleg half-frozen to a pile of dead leaves – took me a while to realise that the ‘stick’ that had suddenly become his most beloved posession on that walk had once been a leg. *shudder* And nothing like prying a dog’s mouth open and blindly grabbing the thing inside, only to find ones hand full of giant rotten fishhead. Dogs – if the weren’t such adorable characters, they’d never have gotten into our houses.

  4. I am laughing and shuddering at the same time, Kate. Jazz once stole the neck from the turkey I was making for Thanksgiving, and she bit me when I tried to take it away. I don’t know how she bit me with the thing still wedged in her mouth, but she did it.

  5. Oh, gosh, Kate, we’ve found enough deer remains here on the Cutoff that I am cringing at the thought of this discovery by Macauley. Oh dear!

    Our cats used to bring assorted critters to the door, look in with what I am certain were smiles, waiting for me to open the door and congratulate them. Of course, they were never around when a mouse was sited.

  6. I am ever so grateful that Annie merely finds something utterly objectionable to roll in, but doesn’t bring it home.
    How can you be so unsupportive of your spouse? Letting him go all innocently to his doom like that?

  7. Please tell me that you were wearing gloves when you were playing tug of war in your attempt to pull that piece of revolting deer carcass out of Macaulay’s jaws. I can only imagine what his breath must have been like afterward.

    1. We have a don’t -go-near-him policy for times like that, Lame. The dog is a four-legged pariah for at least 12 hours after such an incident. I have never managed to make him drink mouthwash, though.

      1. Clive Bond has asked me to send you this message about that niche, “Yes, it’s Mac’s mouth, when it reeks of dead deer. Somebody get me a cat-sized gas mask, please!”

  8. Oh my gosh! I am just so sorry! It’s horrifying, really! I have never been through this with a dog, but I’ve definitely been horrified more than once with what the cat brought to give me as a prize. How about an entire litter of opossum babies? I was so upset I cancelled a performance in a piano recital! What a story, Kate!

  9. You just brought make the memories of my first dog – we would visit my Grandmother’s house which was in the woods and we let the dog frolic for the afternoon. I remember several times pulling a moose or deer limb from his teeth. It was disgusting!

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