Sunday 18 November 2007

North dog sets new world record

Yesterday my Border terrier achieved a new personal best by remaining in or on my bed for an uninterrupted 16 hours, until 2.30 p.m. He only got up then because I clumped upstairs and enquired, rather sardonically, whether he could be bothered to go for a walk. After an appropriate pause for reflection, yawning, stretching and shaking, he decided that he probably could.

My dog in his natural habitatMy dog in his natural habitat.

Today, when the weather was totally unsuitable, he really wanted to go for a walk and followed me around staring in that pointed way which is the Border terrier’s favoured form of communication. Eventually I gave in and put on my coat and flat hat, making me look uncannily like a fatter version of Foggy from Last of the Summer Wine. Halfway down the sloping track to the next farm, my feet shot out from under me on the mud, and I landed on my side with a terrific thud. Lumps of grit penetrated a bloody wound on my wrist, almost certainly guaranteeing tetanus. The dog ran off, thinking that this interruption afforded a great opportunity to get on with his dream occupation of chasing sheep. Amazingly enough, he returned when I called for him. But I could swear he was grinning.

My other dog is much less trouble these days. He’s just sitting in the box from which he came back from the crematorium, snugly tucked up in his basket by the study fire, with his collar and his favourite toy. He smells a lot better than he did when he was alive, and is much less demanding of walks and food. On the other hand, it has to be said that he is nothing like as much as fun.

Not sleeping, only dead.Not sleeping only dead.

My dog, before he was dead. Handsome devil, wasn't he?

A number of correspondents have suggested that there is something rather morbid about this arrangement, and that I should get him out of his box and scatter him in his favourite place. Unfortunately, I point out, that was my sofa in the sitting room. I can’t think that sharing it with a box full of assorted ash is going to do a lot for my comfort when watching TV.

In an ideal world, of course, I’d have carted the sofa outside and used it as his funeral pyre. It would have been like a Viking chieftain being pushed out to sea on his blazing longship. But unfortunately the funeral arrangements were taken out of my hands by a saner ex-partner, and conventional thinking prevailed.

If I follow the same approach when my current dog dies, I’ll have to burn my bed. Bearing in mind what a nightmare it was to get it upstairs and assemble it, I don’t think that’s going to be a runner. Unless, of course, I leave it in situ, and burn down the entire house. Now there’s a thought. I’m sure it’s what he would have wanted.

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