Before I turn to his plans for dealing with the Ghost-Buzzard, which is presently tormenting my sleepless nights, I believe I shall take a paw back in time to yesterday. Fizzy the pretty black Labrador (Ewan's basket-mate), Ewan and I were playing a lunchtime game along the bridleway that goes into the woods from my partner's workplace.
Now then. Anyone who knows me intimately will recall that one of the things I love best is a nice fresh, crunchy, salad. I enjoy tomatoes, radish, cucumber, beetroot, etc., but when none of these delights are close at paw I will often substitute a tasty grass snack (not, I hasten to bark, the sort of 'grass' that can win you a night in the cells - I prefer to take that in smoke-form, hehehe.... just kidding Mr. Plod!). I understand that some canines will only consume grass for the purpose of temporary relief from belly-ache through vomiting. Not so Jasper H. Stafford. I often enjoy a graze and several mouthfuls of the fresh green stuff. Oftbetimes this can lead to trouble at the exit-route of my digestive system, where long strands of grass are wont to dangle after the laying-out of dog-eggs, but - hey! - that's what partners and baby-wipes were created and united for...
After a few good rounds of 'Tag' with my two friends, I opted for a snack whilst Ewan investigated a scent elsewhere and Fizzy went into labour with a batch of fresh dog-eggs. Ewan swiftly became bored with his search and meandered over to watch what I was doing. My mouth was too full to bark politely, so I just grinned and nodded at Ewan. He wagged his tail and grinned vacantly back at me.
After studying me for long enough to feel that he understood what, and the reason why, I was munching, Ewan decided to sample an entire mouthful for himself...
I find it difficult to describe precisely the sensations that Ewan experienced. That is because I, personally, have never grabbed an entire mouthful of blackberry brambles in my mouth at any one time. After grasping and nipping-off what he believed to be the same type of stuff as I was chewing, poor Ewan's squeals echoed throughout the woodlands. His whole body contorted with pain, before he righted himself and fled back to his bed.
Fizzy followed him immediately and, with the utmost care and patience, unhooked the prickles impaled in the tongue and palette of her belovèd, whilst the dog himself lay whimpering and crying. Once she had comprehensively liberated Ewan from the consequences of his misguided actions, Ewan happily slept-off the memories of his pain within the consoling warmth of his lovely Fizz-Bang's embrace.
An hour or two later, Ewan came up to me with a serious look upon his face.
"Jasper." he announced, sternly, "I honestly don't know what you see in that green stuff. Self-harming is a sign of psychological problems and is never something you should resort to." He made as if to walk away - and then turned back with an after-thought: "You can always talk to me, Jazz. If anything is bothering you. I know you aren't as clever as me - but I'm here for you, anytime. Know that."
I wasn't exactly sure what I should bark in reply. Ewan, as always, meant well, no matter how gravely he had misunderstood things. Finally, I settled things by wagging my tail, grinning widely, and saying:
"Ewan. You are absolutely right, my friend. In future, I will stick with simple, cheese-based, solutions."
Ewan nodded confidently.
"You and I both know that is the wisest thing." he remarked.
With a wink at Fizzy, who was hovering unobtrusively in the background, I concurred.
Until next time, my friend.