Tag Archives: dog

2210. The cost of a lawyer

(Day 3 of a week of retelling traditional folktales.)

What a beautiful dog! But did it have bad manners or what? It walked straight into a butcher’s shop, tail wagging, and stole a leg of lamb.

The butcher asked a lawyer, “Can I sue a dog owner?”

“I don’t see why not,” said the lawyer.

“Well,” said the butcher, “it’s your dog. You owe me twenty-four dollars and eleven cents.”

“My consultation fee is eight hundred,” said the lawyer. “You owe me the difference.”

2109. A dog walk

(Iseult suggested I write a story about a certain topic. (Iseult is into Horror!) Here is my contribution).

It was a route I had travelled almost daily for eleven years; travelled on foot that is. You see every day for eleven years I had taken my dog, Vladimir, for a walk. He was the most loveable dog. Owners would say that their dog is loveable, but none are as loveable as mine!

The tricks he would get up to! Sometimes I think he even tried to talk. I once played a little game with him in the kitchen. I crawled on all fours around the kitchen island. He followed, and half way around, when I was out of sight, I changed direction. He thought that very funny! Half an hour later I looked through the window, and there he was playing the same trick on the neighbour’s dog. Round and around the maple tree they were going!

Anyway, that was Vladimir, my best friend. He was a Chow Chow-Collie Cross. Every day we went for a walk. Not once had we ever used a lead.

Suddenly, appearing out of the ditch at the side of the road was a zombie. I had never believed in zombies. I thought they were a silly literary invention. But I knew, from what I had read, exactly what it was. Vladimir looked but did not bark. Most strange. I was terrified. This was definitely a dead body reincarnated. It was long undead. It was rotting. It smelt like nothing on earth. And it was lunging towards me.

I’m normally quick witted in such an emergency. I didn’t really know much about zombies. Can they talk? Do they kill? Can they understand if I say something. After all, his face and ears were dripping putrid flesh. Could they still function?

 I said, “Good afternoon. Oh no, not another. My dog has already destroyed three zombies today, and the thought of having to sit and watch him destroy a fourth is starting to get depressing.”

It was a lie. The zombie knew it. It took no notice and continued to swing towards me. And then it happened…

Without warning Vladimir stood up on his hind legs. His fur fell off like he was discarding a jacket. His face was transformed. He turned into Vlad! Vlad the Impaler, known by some as Count Dracula. He swooped on the zombie and with his teeth gnawed off its head and stomped out its brains.

Next, as if nothing had happened, Vlad became Vladimir once more. You can tell when a dog smiles.

That night, Vladimir jumped on my bed to sleep at my feet as he had done for eleven years. As I turned out the light I heard him whisper, Don’t you ever tell a soul.

1948. That was a close call

There was nothing particularly singular about Janice and Branwell. They lived in a suburb. They had a cat and a dog. The grandchildren would visit quite often.

Usually they took turns in walking the dog, although Branwell had the task of feeding it. Janice was in charge of feeding the cat.

One sunny afternoon the cat was particularly vocal which usually meant she wanted some milk. Janice poured milk into a saucer and placed it on the kitchen floor next to the oven. The dog barged in, which he usually didn’t do, pushed the cat aside and lapped up the cat’s milk. Janice shooed them both outside.

A few minutes later Branwell appeared in the kitchen.

“I just heard the strangest thing,” he said. “I heard it as clear as a bell. The cat spoke to the dog. She said, ‘You shouldn’t do that. You know it’s my milk’.” The dog responded by saying, “Your English gets better by the day.”

“You’re hearing things,” said Janice. The cat’s been complaining all morning.”

“It was perfectly articulated,” said Branwell, “but, yes, I guess I was hearing things.”

“Exactly right,” said Janice.

The cat and the dog sat outside in the shade. “That was a close call,” they said one to the other – but in French.

1924. Only one miracle allowed

Nina-Marie had recently died and was thoroughly enjoying looking down from above at her loved ones. There was her husband Clive, her cat Maisie, and her dog Wolfgang. They certainly missed her.

During life it had always been Nina-Marie who looked after the pets. It’s not that Clive wasn’t interested or didn’t like them; it was just that the task had fallen to Nina-Marie almost accidentally years ago. Nina-Marie fed the cat and dog; Clive brought in and stacked the firewood. They were the two marriage-allotted chores that occurred most days in early evening.

In her last hours Nina-Marie had said to Clive that if she was permitted, if it was at all possible, she would give some sign that she was doing well in eternity. It would be some little thing; some surprise perhaps; something that Clive would recognize.

Upon arrival in Heaven Nina-Marie was informed that she would be granted one request regarding life on Earth; one prayer to answer. Wistfully she gazed upon her earthly family. She didn’t want to waste the single wish she could grant.

I know exactly what it will be, thought Nina-Marie. The little apple tree, the one we planted several years ago, has never borne fruit. This year it shall have fruit. Not too many apples, that would be wasteful, but just enough for Clive to say “Aha! That’s Nina-Marie’s doing!”

Nina-Marie was about to make arrangements for her “miracle”, when she noticed something; something serious. The cat and dog’s water bowls had dried up. Clive hadn’t given them water since the funeral. It was an oversight. This was an emergency. I wish he’d give them water! Give them water!

Goodness, thought Clive almost instantaneously, they’ve run out of water. And that was Nina-Marie’s one miracle all used up.

1923. My beautiful Bubble

Everyone’s dog is special. And so is mine! Yesterday Bubble died. He was three weeks short of his fourth birthday.

In late February he began to have epileptic seizures. Medication began and was readjusted during the following months. Yesterday morning at 2.30 am he threw a fit. Fortunately he landed from his chair onto the piano, so it woke me up! Over the next ten hours he had forty or so epileptic fits. Medication provided no relief. If you’ve never seen a dog have an epileptic fit, DON’T!

He died around midday. We buried him on the lawn where he loved to sit and watch the world go by!

Below are two pictures. One is of Bubble and his best friend, the cat. The other was taken a few hours before the first of his final series of seizures, sitting at the wide-open front door in the winter sun letting those of us in the house freeze!

1893. Daily shower

Judy rather proudly proclaimed in her stringent voice (it was actually a private conversation but she spoke loud enough for everyone to hear because she was so pleased with herself) that her golden retriever puppy had learnt to open the bathroom door and then open the shower door and get into the shower.

“Right when I’m having a shower,” she said. “Right when I’ve shampooed my hair and have my eyes shut. The first time I got a huge fright, but I’m used to it now. Such a clever puppy! Intelligent! He loves playing in water. And then by the time I’ve rinsed the shampoo out of my hair and opened my eyes, the puppy’s gone. But he always turns the light on. Isn’t that clever?”

“I thought you were going to say it was the fancy man that visits your house every day around that time,” said Ivan.

“What fancy man?”

Of course, Ivan was making it up, but he hated show-offs.

1646. Gail’s pets

Gail loved animals, which is why she had so many pets. She had a cat and a dog, a canary and a cockatoo, a couple of ducks, a rabbit and a guinea pig and three mice. They would all run around together, except for the canary of course. The canary couldn’t run around but Gail often let it fly freely around the house provided the windows and doors were shut. And could it sing? My word! What a diva on a sunny day!

Then one day she couldn’t hear it singing. Had it perhaps escaped? Gail checked the windows and doors. Everything was closed, but it must have found an escape route somewhere. Gail opened the house up and left the canary’s cage door wide. Hopefully it would fly back.

It was quite a while after – Gail wasn’t exactly the best of housekeepers – when she was vacuuming under the dining room table that she noticed a few yellow tail feathers and a bird’s clawed foot.

By the end of the year the dog had got the ducks, and the cat had got the cockatoo, the rabbit, the guinea pig, and the three mice.

Gail still loved animals, and continued to pamper her cat and her dog. She replaced her deceased pets with a budgerigar and a cockatiel, a couple of chickens, a hamster and a rat and three gerbils.

These days Gail has a cat and a dog, and has taken up origami as an interest.

1611. Marvin’s darling Affenpinscher

Marvin loved his dog. It was an Affenpinscher with a touch of some other breed. Marvin called it Tip. Marvin and Tip were inseparable. Tip would go with Marvin absolutely everywhere; except of course where he wasn’t allowed to go, such as the pub and the barber and the bakery.

“I think you love that dog more than you love me,” declared Japonica, Marvin’s wife.

“That’s definitely true,” said Marvin. “You and I have drifted apart over the years, and that dog is my sole consolation and interest in life.”

“The only fear I have,” continued Marvin, “is that when I die the dog will pine away. Dogs do that when they are particularly loved. They stop eating and fade away.”

Well! It so happened! Marvin passed away while taking the dog for a walk. The dog went on its merry way, and upon arriving home carried on as normal. In the meantime Marvin was lying dead as a doornail somewhere on the side of the road.

After the funeral, Japonica the wife dished up the usual dog food and Tip the Affenpinscher ate every morsel. Not once did the dog utter a heart-rending whine of grief, which was a shame because Marvin in his will had bequeathed everything to the mutt.

1600. Stream lines

Recently – like a month or so ago – I got a message of congratulations from WordPress on this blog’s 6th anniversary. It’s actually been going a couple of years longer because I suffered a bout of scruples, deleted the first few years, and started again. Be all that as it may, this is Story 1600. At first I intended to write 100 stories, then 365 (one a day), then 555 stories (the number of keyboard sonatas written by Dominico Scarlatti), then 1001 (in honour of the Arabian Nights), and then 1500, and now 1600… and what the heck…

Sticking to a time-dishonoured tradition on this blog, a significant story number calls for a celebration of some sort. So this is a walk with my camera (I don’t have a mobile phone as I’m so “tomorrow”) starting from the back of the property where I live. There a spring trickles out the side of a hill. I’ll follow the trickle of water for as far as possible before hitting neighbouring property and we’ll see what happens… (Note that photos of the crayfish and the pukeko are not my own, and nor are the last three photos).

The spring seeps out the bottom of the hill and creates quite a swamp.

It’s a complete soggy bog, almost impossible to walk over, although the dog (who seems to have joined me uninvited) has no trouble traversing the mud.

Little rivulets quickly appear and within maybe forty yards (36 metres or so) a small stream has formed.

Soon after, a little pool is shaped, gathers strength, and would crash down in white water torrents if things were multiplied by a 100!

Now the cat has joined me – uninvited. Oh well – what is a celebration without friends?

Almost immediately, the newly formed stream flows through a stream-cut channel and a natural fernery.

It enters a glade of willows – mainly fallen – where the water divides into stagnant pools. The thicket and swamp make it almost impenetrable.

Very soon the water re-emerges and flows down a gentle valley. By now it could be called a “stream” and over time it has carved out its path, exposing rocks and boulders.

Beneath the boulders many freshwater crayfish hide. They are a protected species – so no hors d’oeuvres tonight!

A skylark sings high in the sky. I can’t see it for the glare, but I’m joined by six fantails. These tiny birds dart and flutter around my head, twittering madly. They drive the dog crazy, but the cat remains nonchalant – knowing from experience that such zig-zagging creatures are uncatchable. Of course, it could be claimed that I’m a fantail whisperer and they twitter around my head because they love me. But my walk disturbs gnats in the grass, and this presents a feast for the fantails. Their fluttery flight is impossible to capture with my camera, but one bird sat long enough on a fence wire to allow a photograph!

There are literally thousands – if not millions – of Little Blue Butterflies and Common Copper Butterflies feeding on the winter-flowering daisies and dandelions. My steps create clouds of tiny butterfly wings!

A lone pukeko doesn’t mind being disturbed.

Soon the stream becomes wider and still. It’s as if it’s collecting itself, waiting to tumble to the next stage.

And here it’s on its way!

Immediately it forms a deep pool that has an eel lurking in it.

Someone thinks it’s his private swimming pool.

Thank goodness there’s a surf life-saver watching.

From here, the stream goes into shady undergrowth. It passes into a culvert, under a road, and out onto a neighbouring farmer’s farm.

I guess the walk has taken about 25 minutes. The stream cannot be followed anymore. But I know it later joins the Patea River.

It passes through Stratford, my local town. The volcano behind is Mt Taranaki.

From there, at a town called Patea, it flows out to sea!

Phew! What an exhausting walk!

1584. On a wet evening

Usually we quite enjoy taking the dog for its daily walk. Being creatures of habit, we seem to cover the same trail, but there’s always a new flower in someone’s garden, or a dead hedgehog on the road that the dog must stay away from, or a bird that wasn’t singing on that branch yesterday, or a car parked in a silly place…

“You’d think they wouldn’t park on the grass verge, dear. People like us walk here with our dogs. Some people have no sense.”

Of course, if it’s raining the walk with the dog is another matter altogether.

“Would you mind taking the dog for a walk on your own today, dear? I’m halfway through preparing dinner.”

And later…

“While you’re wet, dear, would you mind going out to the woodshed in the rain and getting the firewood for this evening? It’s going to be a cold night and I’m half way through peeling the potatoes.”

And still later…

“Goodness! Five o’clock already! Could you pour me a little wine, dear, when you’ve finished lighting the fire? I’m halfway through stuffing the chicken.”

And round about dinner time…

“What a miserable night, dear, so wet and cold. Would you mind popping out? I thought we could get take-away.”