Her meeting was scheduled for Thursday morning. Grrrowl.
I was unable to suppress a smug grin as I sat, leaning back, in my seat. My partner told me that I looked like a "tubby toad". I politely withdrew my smile - but the toad within chuckled on.
Her name is Rosie. She is exquisite - and I confess that she has enslaved my heart.
Rosie is the West Highland Terrier, who arrived from a rescue shelter on Sunday-last to fill the hole in our neighbour's heart left by the sudden and unexpected demise of Starsky. Somewhat appropriately, she wears a little scarlet half-jacket when out for her walks.
I was not optimistic last Sunday. We were informed by our neighbour that the new addition would be arriving that afternoon and we were cordially invited to join the welcome reception. It turns out that a fellow (unknown) resident of our small town was also due to receive a Westie from the same shelter and my neighbour's house had been designated as the single dropping-off point for both dogs. At the appointed hour, I trotted out of my French Windows to be met with the sight of a young chap with a lot to bark for himself called Scamp. He was bigger than Starsky and not in the least backward about putting himself forward. I was about to silence his idle chatter with a pithy bark, when a vision of true loveliness came trotting out from behind our neighbour's garden shed. I was rendered utterly barkless and sat down, making a polite bow of my head as the small Westie bitch trotted up to the fence separating our gardens and introduced herself. She was quite giggly, perhaps to be expected as she is only two years old, but with a very bubbly, pleasant character. Scamp was equally smitten, but he departed with his new owner once the papers had been signed and sweet Rosie was left unchaperoned. I have seen her three times since Sunday - and, much as I liked Starsky, I have to say that little Rosie is much easier on the nose...
I feel it may be wise not to mention pretty Rosie to my wife, Isolde, or my main girlfriend, Candy, at present. They may leap to hasty conclusions, which could prove unfortunate (and not a little bit painful)...
And now - FINALLY - :
(See http://jasper-thedogsblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/wednesday-21-july-2010.html for a re-cap).
As the car in which I travelled gathered speed, my anger and frustration increased in direct proportion. I realised that I had been away from home for so long that my deputy in the dogs' block, the tiny Yorkie runt Mouse, would undoubtedly have asserted himself and proclaimed himself new Pack Leader. I was going to have to fight him to reclaim my authority. Of course, I could easily have given Mouse a worse battering than anything to be found in a Glasgow chip-shop - but that did not mean that I wanted to. Yes; I enjoyed a good fight - but only where my opponent was a fair and even match. I never was - and never will be - a bully.
Giving a heavy sigh, it suddenly struck me how tired I was feeling. The day had been non-stop activity since I woke up and I had been living a relatively sedentary life at the rescue shelter; unused to so many new things in one day - and it was STILL only the early afternoon! I flopped down onto the car seat, leaning against the leg of the young woman next to me (she seemed relatively harmless, so I decided to chance it and risk a nap), and closed my drooping eyelids.
I woke with a jolt as the car pulled into a small residential street and slowed to a halt. My head had found its way onto the young lady's lap and she was resting her head on my furry crown. I had to admit that it was rather comfortable. Any soothing emotions were soon rent asunder, however, as the young lady brightly exclaimed;
"Here we are Jasper! This is your home now!"
"Captain." I corrected her, yawning as I stood up. This definitely was not my home. I didn't recognise ANY of the scents or sights around me and I began to feel slightly panicked. I jumped out of the car and tried to run away, but I was still wearing the collar and lead so I didn't get far.
The house beside which the car had stopped was pleasant, fairly large, with a nice front garden and what looked like a decent-sized walled garden at the rear. Unlike my pre-rescue shelter home, the garden was neatly tended-to - the grass was trim and neat, the borders prettily-planted and orderly. In a directly-opposite house, on the other side of the road, it did not escape me that my arrival was being very closely observed by an older lady under the cunning ruse of pretending to dust her windowsill. I stretched my legs and availed myself of the welcome opportunity to download an overdue wee-mail.
The front door of the house appearing to belong to the young lady and her mother flew open, and a pleasant-faced man came out to welcome us. I instantly saw the likeness between this gentleman and the Miss Smarts - this could only have been the young lady's father. I cannot overstate my relief on seeing this fellow. I dashed straight up to him.
"Oh, thank God!" I panted, frantically, "A sensible face at last. Thank God. Sir - please. You have to help me! These two mad women have stolen me from my home and I have to get back before bedtime tonight. Please can you help me? Can you get a car to drive me back? I need you to telephone Dav-"
"Hel-loooo!" simpered the man, adopting a wide grin. "Welcome to your new home!"
'Oh Lord.' I muttered to myself. 'He's as mad as the other two.'
I began to accept the fact that I may not get back home before bedtime that night.
The man looked at his daughter. "Are you happy with him?" he asked. The young lady repeated the false assurances she had previously given her mother, Dave and Miss Smart. "And you're definitely going to call him Jasper?" The lady nodded.
'No, she bl**dy-well isn't.' I muttered. 'My name is Captain. And Captain's patience is wearing thin.'
"Welcome to your new home, Jasper!" enthused the man.
"Oh, s*d off." I replied bitterly.
I was escorted into the house.
Well, it smelled pleasant. Walking through into the kitchen, there were a couple of smart, large, new bowls on a plastic mat upon the floor. One was filled with cool, clean water and I savoured a good, long drink; whilst refreshing myself, my collar and that infernal lead were removed. I had a good sniff around the kitchen and returned to the large living-room, where the three mad humans were sitting. The young lady directed my attention towards a large bean-bag. It had a dark green cover, patterned with gold moons and stars. It wasn't new and had obviously been thoroughly washed a number of times. There still lingered, however, scent-traces of another dog from several year ago. A bitch, to be more precise - and a very ill bitch at that. 'Sh*t.' I thought, casting a sideways glance at the young lady, 'This must have belonged to her last victim. I'm toast.' I felt that it would be in my best interests to make a show of compliance, and so clambered onto the bean-bag and sat down [my partner has a photographic record of this instance, which shows my obvious unease - I will endeavour to find it and post it here. JHS.]
The bean-bag shifted around my frame, which I will admit was pleasing and most comfortable. Placed around the bean-bag was a varied selection of brand-new toys and chews. I was somewhat taken aback on being told that they were all for me. I had never owned so many nice things before. I was instantly suspicious that the tempting array of delights had been poisoned. However, being likewise aware that I was being closely watched, I hesitantly selected a small, benign-looking rawhide chew, an began to gnaw on it.
It wasn't poisoned.
Shortly afterwards, I was escorted to the kitchen in order to be fed - another reminder of times past. I had become accustomed to having my meals delivered to me - and first, too, before the rest of my pack. I glared accusingly at what had been placed in the non-water-filled bowl, apparently for my consumption.
"There you go, Jasper." said the young woman, with a smile. "Your first dinner in your new home!"
"Captain." I reminded her. "And I'm not eating that."
The woman's father appeared behind his daughter.
"Eat up, Jasper." he encouraged. "That's your dinner. Nice!"
"Captain." I responded. "I'm sorry, but I don't have that for my dinner, I have something else. I don't want that stuff. That isn't what I have."
My comments went unheeded, which served to anger and frustrate me further. Eventually, out of sheer desperate hunger, I hazarded a few mouthfuls of the stuff. Admittedly, it tasted quite nice, so I ate the lot. But that doesn't mean that I was pleased about it.
After exploring the rear garden, with which I was delightedly surprised (apart from the strong whiff of hedgehog), I retired for the night with the mad young lady. She settled into her bed and I positioned myself at the end of it - as far away from her as I could get.
"Goodnight Jasper." she sighed. "I suppose this is it now - so we shall have to make an effort to like each other."
"Captain." I growled, irritably. "And you can say what you like, love, but I am certain that I will NEVER learn to like you."