Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sunday 25 October 2009

On Thursday, I was ten years old. Now, I am not. For, on Friday, I turned eleven. Eleven years of Jasper in this world. The preceding day was my sweet partner's birthday. We celebrated by treating ourselves to fish and chips from the chippy. Happy days.

And what a year it has been. Full of traumas and changes for us both. In the first place, we would BOTH like to express heartfelt thanks to all those friends who sent good wishes for my partner's hospital appointment in the week. Lance, Mad, Bailey (long time, no bark, mate - hope things are wagging well for you) and the ever-wonderful Animal Doctor, Secretary and their brood of furry angels. THANK YOU. Your kind thoughts were of great help.

'Twas not an appointment that brought much good, however. My partner has got three months to stop smoking completely (she only has a couple a day - but that is two too many) and to lose as much weight as she can and then they will operate. 'Tis a very high-risk operation, I understand. My partner and I have discussed things and, although she will comply with the consultant's instructions, we believe that she shall request NOT to have the operation. It will complicate matters, though painkillers can abate the soreness, and it may bring her life-expectancy down to one more in line with my own, but neither of us wish to take the dangerous risk. My partner says that she would rather pass in my company, in a warm bed, than under anaesthetic on a cold table with her chest cavity open. Plus which, she is aware that her breasts are key assets for attracting the menfolk of her species, so best if they don't fall prey to the scalpel... She's not completely stupid.

And, secondly, it is now time to conclude the traumatic tale of my separation from my beloved partner. We left off last time with me being ushered into the spare bedroom of my luxurious prison, with new friend Charlie assuring me that all would be well...

You will not be surprised to learn that I did not sleep well. I was haunted by dreams and thoughts of the bleak, partner-less, future that I may have to face and it was not long before my pillow was wet with tears. I must have fallen asleep at some point, however, because when I opened my eyes light streamed through a gap in the pale curtains. For a moment, I thought the whole episode had been a horrible dream - until I took in my surroundings. I was laid in a neat, single bed with chintz sheets and matching curtains. The room smelled of fresh laundry and roses. As I began to stretch my limbs, and long for the double bed which I shared with my partner, a strange, wailing sound disturbed me. Someone was singing.

"I left my hearrrrt in Saaan Fraaaancisco!"

It was fairly tuneless, but jolly all the same. I jumped off the bed, nosed open the door, and followed the sound. It was Charlie, in the Utility Room, being dried by his male partner. As I poked my head around the door, Charlie looked out at me from under his towel and grinned.

"Morning, mate!" he said. "Sleep well? I've been out for a quick run and a dip in the river. Same every morning - and I like a good sing when I'm being dried. Sets me up for the day!"

I wagged my tail at him. Whatever trials Charlie had experienced in his past life, he was completely happy now. I don't think I'd ever seen anyone quite so content with his life before. Apart from the dog Ewan, of course, but his relentless happiness was principally due to his psychological difficulties. Charlie was sane AND happy. "There are biscuits here, on this plate, for you." continued Charlie, as he was released from the folds of his towel, shook himself, and trotted up to give me a friendly lick. He indicated the plate from the night before, on which had been placed a number of dog biscuits. Charlie had already emptied his bowl of his biscuits.

As I debated with myself as to whether to lower myself to the indignity of dog - dog!! - biscuits, Charlie's female partner entered the kitchen, holding a telephone handset.

"Good news." she said. Charlie and I looked up expectantly, and her husband, Charlie's male partner, came in from the Utility Room after hanging up Charlie's towel. "I 'phoned the Dog Warden." [from the local council] "This fellow was reported missing by his owner last night!"

My tail began to slowly wag. My hostess continued.

"He's going to ring her, and she'll be here to pick you up very soon."

Could this be?!?! My partner had searched for me?!?!?! I yipped, as Charlie beamed and winked at me.

"Hmmn!" said the male partner, "I wouldn't have minded keeping him. He gets on well with our Charlie, and he's a super little fellow."

I bristled slightly at the term "little" - but was almost overwhelmed. At that very moment, my partner was speeding towards me - and our reunion was imminent. My appetite suddenly returned, and I gobbled up the biscuits that had been laid out for me.

"Charlie." I said, as I swallowed the last biscuit, "I cannot thank you enough for your kindness and your hospitality. No-one deserves their good fortune more than you. Bless you again and again."

"My pleasure." said Charlie, confirming his good nature. His partners went to stroke and fuss me, and I expressed my grateful thanks to them, though it is doubtful that they understood. After a short time, a car was heard drawing to a halt in front of the cottage. Charlie's female partner went into the front room, followed by Charlie and I, and looked out of the window.
"Yes," she called back to the kitchen, "This is them."

I held my breath - and a sudden thought struck me and froze me to the spot. What would my partner think? What would she say? All I could imagine was that I would receive a severe spanked bottom for my wickedness. Could my partner EVER forgive me? Would she even want me again?

Charlie called me over to the window. I looked out - YES! It was her!!! It was her parents' car. Her mother got out of the driver's side and she - my Most Only - exited the passenger's side.

But I was appalled at what I saw.

My young, beautiful, cheery, vibrant partner was hunched over - stooped, like an elderly pensioner - and was clinging to the frame of the vehicle door for support. With one hand she gripped the car door and the other hand and arm was clutched around her stomach, as if comforting herself. Her eyes were red and bloodshot, and the area around them was dark and swollen - as if she had just gone five rounds with Lennox Lewis.

What had I done to her? Could she ever forgive me? Charlie's partners opened the front door, and I stepped apprehensively forward.

All my doubts were instantly erased.

At first sight of me, my partner collapsed to her knees.
"JASPER!!!" she screamed, throwing her arms open wide. I instantly broke into a run, and literally flung myself into her embrace; my tail wagging with such fury that I was sure it would wag clean off.

My beloved partner held me tightly, wailing over and over again that she'd thought I was dead, she'd thought she'd never see me again... The hot tears poured from her eyes, down her sweet apple cheeks, and onto the fur on my face.

Her tears trickled down my furry face - and mingled with my own. We were reunited. Nothing else mattered - or ever will.

Good night.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Monday 19 October 2009

A brief interlude in my recital of recent adventures. My partner goes to the hospital first thing tomorrow, to find out if she needs to have most of her left breast removed.

A short while ago, I asked her how she felt about it.

"To be honest, Jazz, " she replied, gently stroking my head, "I'm f***ing terrified."

Now, my partner is NOT a potty-mouth. So, from this, one of two things can be inferred:
  1. She has developed some Tourette's-type, toilet-tongued condition, which manifests itself in occasional random bouts of foul language; or
  2. She is genuinely frightened.

I suspect the latter. Either way, I will be there for her - come what may.

Next up will be the concluding instalment of the thrilling tale of my late escapade.

Good night.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Thursday 15 October 2009

My partner has had loads of her hair cut off. It looks good. Last week, she went to see Ricky Gervais' new live show (partner's brother and sister-in-law generously paid for the tickets). These things have made her smile. However - I suspect that these things have largely been a diversion from the trauma of recent events. You know what I mean.

When last I barked to you, I left you with the image of my sobbing and terrified self, speeding away from all I held dear, in the company of strangers. I shall return to that moment.

After what seemed a lifetime of travelling, the car pulled into a gravelled driveway and I heard a gate close behind us. The engine stopped. The man and lady in the front got out and opened a rear door. I tried flatten myself against the back of the seat.

"Please!" I wailed, "Take me back! I want to go home! Please!"

"Out you get, boy." said the man, "You're safe now."

"I was safe before!" I wept, "Take me back! Take me back!"

But they couldn't understand me. After a few minutes of coaxing, the lady said "Why don't we get Charlie? He might be able to help." And they went to the door of their house. A few moments later, a young dog jumped into the car beside me. This must have been Charlie. His fur was caramel-coloured, tousled and curly. He was ruggedly handsome, with gentle hazel eyes, and he sniffed me over, looking down at me with good-humoured pity.

"Come on mate," he barked gently, "Why all the tears? You're safe now. Out you come."

"I want to go home." I cried.

"Of course you do." he replied, "But it's late now. Come inside with me, and we'll sort you out in the morning. Come on, mate."

Still crying, and somewhat reluctantly, I followed Charlie out of the car. Gratefully, I did a wee in the garden, and then followed him into his house. And it was a beautiful house. Large, with a thatched roof and several thatched outbuildings, like the sort of cottage one sees on a gift-tin of shortbread. But all this meant nothing to me. I felt acutely the distance between me and my partner and wondered what she was doing at that moment, longing to be with her. To see her just once more. The front door closed behind me. At that, I gave a long mournful howl and started to cry again.

"Come on, mate." said Charlie kindly, "No more of that. You come with me and I'll show you around. I dutifully trotted slowly after Charlie and followed him through the kitchen, where his partners were preparing a bit of supper. "Utility room," said Charlie, indicating a small room off the kitchen. As I padded around after him, he was chatting all the while, trying hard to occupy my mind. When we went into the drawing room, where there was a beautiful big inglenook fireplace, my host sat down and looked at me. "What happened, then?" he asked. I didn't know where to begin. "It's alright." he smiled, "I was abandoned too. Ended up in a rescue kennel. Then, about six months ago, mum and dad came to choose a dog and they picked me. Brilliant, eh?" When I didn't say anything, he continued. "I was so lucky. There was a really snotty little poodle in there who said that no-one would want me 'cause I was a mongrel. I took great pleasure in marching past that gobby old sow's kennel the day mum and dad chose me."

I managed a watery smile. "That's better." grinned Charlie. "So don't worry. Just 'cause you were abandoned, it doesn't mean it's all over for you."

"I wasn't abandoned." I said quietly.
"I wasn't abandoned. I ran away."
"Were you being beaten?"
"And you just ran away?"
"Why on Earth would you do a thing like that?"
"I don't know." I replied miserably. "I was chasing a vixen and then I got lost and it all went really badly wrong. Eventually I found the road home and was almost there when your people put me in their car. Please make them take me back."

"Not tonight, it's too late - it's nearly midnight, you know. I'm sorry, mate. But it will be alright. So, was she worth it? The vixen?"
"All things considered, no." I muttered.
"Bad luck." commiserated Charlie. "But look. You'll spend the night here, and in the morning mum and dad will know what to do. We'll have a bit of supper in a minute and everything will be OK after a good sleep."

I know it sounds ungrateful, but Charlie's ceaseless optimism was beginning to grate on my nerves. I was sick with worry about my partner, and desperately unhappy - as well as being utterly ashamed of my actions. Also, I hated the fact that Charlie referred to his partners as 'mum and dad'. My partner is my partner, not my parent. We have an equal partnership - no-one higher than or superior to the other. Both united as one, joined together, a perfect team. Plus, she always... she would... she... she...

"I WANT MY MUMMY!" I wailed, howling out a fresh burst of huge tears.

"Aww," said Charlie, pattering over and giving my ear a comforting lick. "Of course you do - for you are a good boy. And, in the morning, we will find her for you. Easy enough. Of course, you are microchipped?"
"No." I wept.
"But you have an ID tag?"
"No-oo!" I howled, feeling incredibly stupid now about the pride I'd felt when I managed to lose my ID tag during a fight with an Alsatian many years ago. My partner had never got around to replacing it, which suited me fine. Until now.
"Ok-aaay."said Charlie, with a frown and a sigh. "Well. We'll sort things out, one way or another. Try not to fret. Now then. I believe my nose is telling me that supper is ready."

I followed Charlie down the passageway and into the warm kitchen. His partners were seated at the kitchen table, enjoying a poached egg on toast and a glass of something nice. Charlie went to his bowl, beside which was some meat on a china plate. "That plate is for you." he explained, "Dig in." And he got on with the business of gobbling up his own supper.

I took a tentative bite at the meat on the plate, and almost choked. I nearly spat out the meat but, fortunately, remembered my manners at the last moment.
"Charlie," I spluttered, "This is - this is dog food!"
"Oh-ho, yes!" he grinned, his whiskers covered in meaty gravy, "Nothing but the best in this house!" I looked at the rest of the meat on the plate. It stared coldly back at me.
"I'm not really that hungry." I said, "Would you like to finish mine?"
"Sure?" asked Charlie. I nodded, and he needed no second invitation, noisily scoffing the extra meat.

Charlie's owners were incredibly kind. They patted me and fussed over me. After Charlie and I were given a last toilet opportunity, the doors were locked for the night. As we walked back down the passageway, Charlie said "You are going to sleep in the downstairs spare room. I will be in my bed in the drawing room - it's between dad's chair and the fireplace. Scratch on the door if you need me for anything."
"You have been very kind, Charlie." I said, and he grinned.
"Try and get some sleep, mate." he said, "It'll all be OK in the morning."

But I couldn't see how. I had no microchip; no ID tag and Charlie's partners couldn't understand my barks. How would I ever find my way back to my partner again - and how was she coping without me?

To be continued...

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Sunday 4 October 2009

I am NOT a happy dog.

Yes. I had the operation.

When I stated previously that "I would resist it with every fibre of my being", I would like to say that I tried. I really tried. However, I neglected to factor-in the vets' ready availability of extremely potent sleeping draughts. Following the sensation of the tiny pin-prick, I was mid-way through telling my surgeon EXACTLY what I thought of him, when my eyelids became unaccountably heavy and I collapsed into the welcoming arms of Morpheus. When I awoke, my right eyelid had been stitched closed (the stitches held in place by a button - a button, of all things! The indignity!!) and the anti-tamper abomination shown above had been affixed. I was - and continue to be - extremely angry. That barked, my eye DOES feel a great deal better now. The stitches come out in a day or two; and the button/stitches combo has been useful for procuring treats from sympathetic folks. Hehehe...

My only other comfort in this is that I understand that my wife, Isolde, is also having to sport such an item, having recently undergone a minor surgical procedure to stitch a cut, sustained whilst pursuing a wily beastie. And she had more stitches than I did, so she has to wear her collar for longer. Swings and roundabouts. Hehehehe...

This, however, is NOT the most tumultuous event to have taken place in the past seven days. Oh no. My partner has said that I must post the dreadful event of the latest Thursday on my blog for you to read - and then the event will never be raised between us again. I tried pretending to be asleep in order to evade this necessity, but, alas she was not fooled. Oh dear...

Thursday evening saw my partner and I tripping out for our regular evening walk. 'Twas a delightful occasion. I was sans lampshade collar (aka The Abomination), and glorying in the fresh evening scents and my freedom to run. We were a little later than usual, but not enough to concern my partner. After my nightly swim in the ford, I was overjoyed to pick up the scent of the local fox, my current favoured quarry. Off I sped.

And then, it all went horribly, terribly, awfully wrong.

The scent of the vulpine maiden (for 'twas a vixen) was strong and enticing. I ran and ran and ran - and suddenly found myself in unfamiliar territory, with neither vixen nor partner. Poo and double-poo.

At one point, I thought I heard my partner calling and ran in that direction. But the trail was cold.

I ran through hedges, through streams, across gardens and roads, and finally regained a familiar path. I stopped for a rest. The sky was now thoroughly dark. I carried on trotting along the path that I knew would take me home. At the point where I had to cross a busy road, I paused to wait for a car to pass, as my partner had taught me. However, this car, after passing me stopped, and reversed towards me. The car door opened.

"Hello." said a female voice. She sounded nice. The car was the same shape as the one belonging to my partner's parents. There was a man driving and a lady in the passenger seat, I raised my snout to sniff the lady's perfume.

Hurrah!!! It was my partner's parents! Despite the fact that I was so close to home, my paws were sore and I had some thorns stuck into the flesh on my back. I decided to accept the lift and be driven the short remainder of the journey home.

As the car moved off, and then gained speed as it passed straight by the turning into the road where stood the dear little house that I shared with my partner, I became a little uneasy. Perhaps my partner was waiting for me at her parents' house...? But no! We went straight past that turning too! As we passed under a street light, I took a closer look. This was NOT the car belonging to my partner's parents. And the couple in the front were complete strangers.

Shrinking as far as I could into the back seat of the car, trembling uncontrollably, I began to cry.

To be continued.....