I can scarcely bark how excited I was on opening up my blog to post this entry - THREE new followers! Bringing my total to 31 now! To my new friends; thank you for clicking on to follow me - you (along with my existing friends) have made me very happy today. I have so much to be thankful for.
And so has passed another successful week of being Jasper H. Stafford - though a somewhat exhausting one. Towards the end of last week I had a most enjoyable surprise.
I stumbled out into the garden to download my first weemail of the day. Whilst engaged in that, there was some bustle from next door, excited yipping, and then my beautiful little neighbour - West Highland Terrier, Rosie - appeared; naked as the day she was born! She wasn't wearing a stitch!
I have only ever seen her collared-up or wearing her little scarlet jacket. I have to say that she was exquisitely pert and more than usually bewitching. She capered up and down behind the fence which separates our two gardens, giggling and yipping. Her partner appeared, clad in her pyjamas, and pursued sweet Rosie, trying to catch her and calling at her to behave herself. Skilfully evading capture, Rosie trilled "Bye!" at me and dashed into her house - her human partner still in hot pursuit. Shaking my head and chuckling to myself, I re-entered my own property, reflecting on the fact that this was the first time that Rosie had voluntarily barked to me.
Buoyed-up by this enjoyable start to my day, I decided that it was time to catch the cat by its claws and broach the subject of my Big-C diagnosis to my fluff-brained best chum Ewan. It was a task I dreaded - for more than one reason. Ewan is excessively friendly and his enjoyment of life and the company of his loved-ones is matchless. Alas, he has fewer brain cells than a bean-sprout. His initially-reluctant but now-devoted wife, small yet pretty Labrador, Fizzy, has known the truth of my situation for some time. She smelled it straight away, of course, but we privately agreed together that Ewan should be spared as long as possible.
On arriving at my partner's workplace I took the first opportunity of a private stroll and chat with Ewan. As Fizzy saw us off, with a supportive wink and smile at me, Ewan and I headed down our usual bridleway.
"Ewan...?" I began, as we trotted companionably side by side, "You know that, sometimes, dogs become ill...?"
"Oh yes." replied Ewan, wagging his tail.
"And sometimes," I continued, "They get so ill that they can't keep on living any more?"
"Yes." nodded Ewan, gazing intently at a pair of butterflies circling each other and flitting about in the air nearby.
"Well, I'm not very well at the moment. I'm told that it is cancer. I don't know how long, but I..."
I stopped, as I knew I'd lost him to the butterflies. Taking a deep breath, I tried again.
"Ewan. I'm dying."
"Hmmmn?!" said Ewan, suddenly turning his face - and his attention - back to me. "Yes, but you're going to be OK, aren't you?!"
"Well - possibly not. We must prepare ourselves. I have looked at various coffin designs and I - "
"No. Yes, but, Jasper - don't you remember? The time that I had cancer and you made it better? And all the time it was just my willie?! Hehehehehehehehehehe...." Ewan cackled on as he snapped idly at a horsefly buzzing about his ears.
(If you really MUST - it's here: http://jasper-thedogsblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/thursday-21-august-2008.html).
"I remember, Ewan." I sighed. "But my problem is inside my nose, not inside my 'Little Jasper', and I received my information from the vet."
"Oh." barked Ewan, looking a bit crestfallen. "But I don't think willies grow in noses. So you can't properly have it there. But you'll be alright. You're Jasper and you're always being alright."
"Possibly not this time. I'm doing my best though - I won't go down without a fight!"
"Heeheehee - Yes, yes!" said Ewan, wagging his big, mad, tail. "I'll fight too! Yes! Brilliant! I like some fighting."
"Thanks Ewan." I beamed. How - after all - could Ewan's simple, innocent, good nature fail to charm even the hardest of hearts?!
"Anyway." continued Ewan, leaning close to me and whispering confidentially in my ear, "I had a cancer lump once and I knew this chap and I got some professional properly advice from... - actually, Jazz, I can't remember who it was - ... But anyway. It turned out that, all the time, the lump was my winkie just pretending to be a bad lump. Heeheehee! Imagine that! You should speak to him, he's very clever."
"I'll be sure to look him up." I muttered.
"Don't be ill, Jazz." said Ewan, after a pause. "I don't want you to be ill, I don't like it. You're my best friend in the world and you're not allowed to be ill."
"Oh, alright then." I sighed, sensing that I had got about as far with Ewan as I'd anticipated. "In any case, the game's not totally up just yet - there are still a good few football challenges in me!"
"Yayyyy!" yipped Ewan joyfully, capering around me. As he danced past for a fourth time, I gave him a good-natured nip on his flank. He squealed and then chased me, laughing, all the way back to the work-yard. Happy days...!