So, inevitably, my permanently-baffled canine best chum, Ewan, has found himself floundering about in hot water once again. His latest blunderings had their genesis back on 4 December when he, his long-suffering mate Fizzy, and I went to investigate Owl - the over-sexed and under-moraled tomcat from the farm across the lane from our workplace - following the latest in a long line of litters of increasingly inbred kittens emanating from Owl's loins. (My report into our investigation is here: Owl).
Fizzy had revealed that one of the farm dogs had barked to her that Owl, when no queen-cat was within clawing distance, had been known to "have a go on" a passing farm duck or hen in order to sate his revolting appetites. And, you may recall dear reader, that this snippet of gossip guided Ewan down a dark and bewildering path of inter-species breakfast items. Briefly, he expressed delight at the prospect of finding an hideous part-kitten, part-chick foetus in his dippy-egg (a soft-boiled egg, into which he dips his breakfast biscuits - I believe that this is popular among human pups, who like toasted bread "soldiers" to dip into their egg). I did try to enter into the spirit of his imaginings - I really did - but the mere idea of discovering such a monster in my breakfast egg provoked in me nothing but nausea.
Alas, I now find that the matter was not laid to rest there - at least, not for Ewan. When next he and Fizzy and their partner (one of my partner's colleagues) arrived at work, it was clear that a state of high dudgeon towards Ewan existed. He twitched nervously whenever his partner walked by him (which hinted at the fact of a previously-spanked bottom) and Fizzy wasn't barking to him at all. My marshmallow-brained friend wandered aimlessly around the office, trying to be conciliatory, but it was clear that he had committed some kind of major misdemeanour. I was trying to nap, having slept only fitfully the previous night. At length, I could avoid Ewan's eye no longer.
"Go on then." I sighed, emerging from my bed beneath my partner's desk and sitting beside the forlorn wanderer in the middle of the passageway. "What did you do?"
I won't insult your intelligence, dear reader, by repeating Ewan's explanation verbatim. Suffice it to bark that, on his arrival home after our afore-barked investigation, he had sought out and cracked open all of the eggs in his house, attempting to find a feathered and beaked "chickitten" foetus inside one of them. His partner had returned from her living-room to find her kitchen floor and surfaces covered in sticky, eggy, mess. Quite apart from having to clean up this ovum-based turmoil, the financial implications of having a month's-worth of eggs utterly wasted did NOT sit well with Ewan's partner. Fizzy (Ewan's exquisitely beautiful, smart, diminutive black Labrador wife) was annoyed partly because of the human anger in the household, but largely because Ewan's "investigations" had not been limited to the kitchen. Egg-gunge and eggshell fragments were liberally strewn across Ewan and Fizzy's shared marital basket. No matter how hard Fizzy endeavoured to clean the basket, a rogue sharp piece of shell lurked within to prick her flesh. She was unbarkably livid.
"Right." I decided, after listening with ever-decreasing patience to Ewan's explanations. "Ewan. Listen to me. Chickens - and poultry in general - CANNOT make babies with cats. A cat could NEVER be a chicken's daddy. A cat can only be a cat's daddy, a chicken can only be a chicken's daddy and a dog can only be a dog's daddy. ALL mummies have eggs - but only PROPER daddies can turn eggs into puppies. Got that?!"
"Oh! Right. Yes. Brilliant!" grinned Ewan enthusiastically.
"And the egg bit? Do you understand about eggs now?"
"Definitely. Yes. Yes I understand all about eggs now as well. Brilliant. Yes."
Abandoning all hope of a quiet and restful morning, I sighed and prepared for another flogging of this long-dead horse...
Let me assure you, sweet reader, that I strongly debated within myself as to the wisdom of pursuing this subject with Ewan. I had not forgotten that my last attempt to explain the mysteries of the female menstrual cycle to Ewan, using analogies that I thought he'd understand, ended in violence, recrimination and an ill-advised suggestion of Ewan's involving a potato, Fizzy, and the lips she doesn't kiss with (if you really want to acquaint yourself with this, it's here: The Potato Affair). I know that I vowed at the time that I would never again endeavour to explain ladies' matters to Ewan - but three years had passed since then, and I pitied him in his disgrace.
"Right then, Ewan." I sighed reluctantly. "Ladies and eggs. Here's the thing. ALL ladies have eggs inside them, which can turn into babies if their man does his bit properly."
"Which bit, Jazz?" asked Ewan, puzzled. "Is it a magic bit?"
"Well..." I hesitated, "I suppose you could say that a magic wand IS involved... But let's leave that for now. So. Eggs. All ladies have eggs in them. Alright?"
"Yes. Brilliant. Eggs."
"Good. OK then. Things with feathers or scales - "
"Mummy's got scales in her kitchen!" interrupted Ewan eagerly.
"Not those sorts of scales, Ewan." I muttered. "I'm barking about lizards, snakes, and crocodiles."
"Are they the ones with the feathers?" whispered Ewan.
Trying to battle a rising urge to bite Ewan hard, I gritted my teeth and began again with forced calm.
"No, Ewan." I barked firmly. "Those animals have scaly skin. Chickens, ducks, geese, things like that have feathers."
"Oh, right. Brilliant. Yes."
"Well, animals who have scales or feathers lay their eggs outside of their bodies and then sit on them to keep them warm. Ladies like Fizzy, your mummy, my partner, queen-cats, mares, vixens, mice... they have their eggs inside their bodies - and when their man, erm... 'waves his magic wand', the egg turns into a baby inside them and comes out as a proper baby and not an egg. Alright?"
"Here it is again." I frowned. "All ladies - eggs. Ladies with feathers or scaly skin - eggs outside. Ladies with fur or smooth skin and hair - eggs inside. Right?" (I decided not to even venture near the Piscine world. Fish aren't normal - trying to explain their whole procreative mess to Ewan could well have been the death of us both).
"Right. Got it." nodded Ewan, to my inexpressible relief. I flopped back down onto my bed, exhausted, as Ewan trotted off happily wagging his tail, delighted with the information he had just learned.
Not fifteen minutes later I was abruptly jolted back into wakefulness by a sudden volley of sharp, angry, female barking, which culminated in a shrill yelp of pain. Ewan bolted back into my office, bleeding from a nasty bite to his ear, and squealing loudly.
"She bit me, Jasper! She bit me!!" he wailed as he jumped over my prostrate form and attempted to hide behind me. Fizzy, however, obviously felt that Ewan had been punished enough, as she did not pursue him.
Wearily, I raised myself to my paws and turned to look at my cowering friend. Two puncture wounds indicated where Fizzy had nipped him. After ascertaining that the incisions were only superficial, I began to clean them.
Between licks, I muttered "You asked Fizzy if you could dip a breakfast biscuit into one of her eggs, didn't you?"
"I did, Jasper, yes." replied Ewan, solemnly. I nodded resignedly, and sighed to myself as I finished patching up the ear.
There really is no hope for the lad. But no-one could ever accuse me of not trying to help him to help himself...
Good old Ewan. I hope he never changes.