As so often in such situations, the downfall of one heralds the rise of another.
It did not go unnoticed that Harvey was very swift to step in when I inexplicably fell from favour with my chocolate-coloured Labrador girlfriend, Candy. I was smartly dismissed from her good books when I asked her too many questions about another young lady. I still cannot fathom out why this should have been so disagreeable to her. However, I decided that the only option available to me was to offer her a gift and crave her forgiveness.
When venturing to the park, Maisie (who looks after me while my partner is at work) fills her pockets with biscuits, which are shared out among the members of my pack that we happen to meet. Armed with the knowledge that Candy likes these biscuits, I paid a visit to the tin. I proceeded to carefully pick out all the yellow ones, as they are my least favourite. Actually I can't stand them. Sometimes I will be brave and eat them, but I often spit them out. They are yukky. We made a little bag out of clingfilm for the yellow biscuits and my partner found a pretty sparkly ribbon on a Kylie Minogue fragrance set that she got for Christmas, so she made a bow with that at the top of our little gift bag. The next day, it was off to the park...
Half-way down the top field of the park, my ears picked up the sound of raised voices. I couldn't hear the actual barks, but someone was clearly extremely cross. Intrigued, I trotted towards the sound. Before I could get into the lower field, there was a shrill yelp and, a few seconds later, Harvey came crashing through the hedge, yipping frantically. He skidded to an abrupt halt when he saw me. I noticed the sunlight glinting off a few flecks of saliva droplets on his neck fur, indicating that he had been nipped.
"Jasper! Jasper! She BIT me!" wailed Harvey, panting heavily. I quickly sniffed over the young Staffordshire.
"It's alright Harvey," I said, "The skin isn't broken, it's just a nip. Now, just be calm. Who nipped you?"
I frowned. Candy may have the occasional mood swing, but she is no biter.
"Come on then," I said, "What did you do?"
"I said she had a big bottom."
Oh, Harvey. No, no, no, no and no. I thought I had schooled him well. True, he is NOT the brightest bulb in the box, but he is no Ewan. I gave a heavy sigh and fixed my eyes on him.
"Harvey." I said firmly, "What have I ALWAYS told you?"
"Ummm... Not to say things about ladies' bottoms?"
In fact, I had given the pup a sturdy grounding in all things female. Aside from the bottom topic, I had also cautioned him NEVER to mock ladies' weight, fur-styles or menstrual cycles. Never. Not under ANY circumstances. Don't even THINK about them, in case something just slips out accidentally. And I even warned him about the question that should be feared the most... "Beware." I had told him. "Beware. If she turns to you and asks 'Do you think this new collar makes me look fat?', be rightly afraid. For you cannot win here - it is a cruel trap. You are damned either way. If you answer 'Yes' the painful ramifications are obvious. If you answer 'No', you lay yourself wide open to the inevitable 'So you think I am fat normally?'. Flee from this scenario. The only sure-fire way to win this one is to pre-empt the question. As soon as you see your lady trying something on, or brushing her fur, this is the moment to step in. You IMMEDIATELY say 'How lovely you look, my dear. I am lucky to have such a beautiful companion.' If, despite this, the question arises then run. Just run. I usually employ the 'Was that the doorbell?' technique to instigate my flight from the dressing-basket."
All this I had told Harvey. All this I told him again. He nodded sagely and said he would seek out Candy to apologise the following day (when his eyes weren't red from whimpering).
"Will you put in a good word for me, Jasper?" he asked, in such a plaintive voice that I pitied him.
"I shall see what I can do, Harvey." I said, winking at him. Actually, I was privately relieved that I was having this conversation with him, and not Ewan.
After Harvey had trotted off with his partner, I ventured into the lower field and spotted the fair Candy. Looking closer, I could see that she did indeed seem to have a bit more slip to her hips, but I did not care to go the same way as Harvey. As I neared, Candy turned and ran towards me.
"Boohooooohooo, Jasper!" she wailed, "Harvey said I had a fat ar*e!" I wasted no time.
"Oh no, my dear. You are as perfectly formed now as you ever were." And with that, I produced my gift. Smooth, Jasper, smoooooth, heh heh.
"Oh, THANK YOU, Jasper!" cried Candy, bestowing me with happy licks and affectionate nips, "How could I have ignored you? I hope you will forgive me. And you have picked out all the yellow ones because you know they are my favourites! You're just so wonderful!" Ahem, yes....
"No, no, my sweet." I said, "It is I who must humbly beg forgiveness. I tormented your pretty mind and should not have asked you about that smelly old vixen. She is nothing to me. Please accept my apologies."
"Of course!" she sniffled, as her partner took the little bag of biscuits for eating at home. We raced each other down to the river - I let her win.
"And do not mind that Harvey." I said, once we were in the water, "He is young and foolish. We must not judge him too harshly."
"You are right, Jasper." said Candy, looking adoringly at me, "You are ALWAYS right."
A fine result. Phew.