Sunday, November 02, 2014

'a calm and biddable bitch'

‘Just wait until she sees you. I’ll let her out into the front garden.’

A grumpy old terrier in the house just didn’t work when Aurora was toddling, so the dog went to live with my sister Bernadette. I think of Pudding often and was recently tempted by a sign I saw in a local shop for a similar dog described as:

'a calm and biddable bitch.'

I stepped out of the car and leaned over the gate as the dog bounded towards me. She’s a forgiving creature and always rolls onto her back for a tummy tickle when we meet. My nephew Lance is inclined to describe Pudding as an ‘attack dog’, but I think the 'metrosexual' signals he gives out just confuse the dog’s simple take on the world.

‘Oh look, she’s not forgotten you!’

Bernadette disappeared into her house to find some gifts she had for the girls.

Pudding quickly moved into a sitting position, glanced around to check that Bernie was out of earshot and then started talking.

‘Is that your car?’

‘Yes,’ I stammered.

‘You and me now, back together. We just get in the car and drive. Anywhere you like – be just like the old days. What do you say Chief?’

I have always had a strong bond with Pudding. We had some good, uncomplicated times together. She would fit under my arm as I shopped one-handedly at Morrison's. The checkout people were always won over by her cheeky grin and never once asked if she was a guide dog. Aurora recently asked me if the lady around the corner with the blind dog was actually a 'guide person'. I replied that yes, she was and is,consequently, allowed into shops.

The sound of Bernadette opening and closing drawers and swearing at herself was seeping out through the open front door.

I pressed the ‘unlock’ symbol on my car key. The car lights flashed – like a signal of getaway readiness. Pud’s docked tail flickered with excitement.

I slowly reached down to touch the bolt on the inside of my sister’s garden gate.

Bernie’s silhouette appeared in the doorway.

‘No, no, no! Don’t let her out. She’s had her walk tonight. Here are those presents. Last drawer I looked in. Typical.’