Well, little Gisèle (Gizmo) continues to grow more delightful by the day. We have had some lovely walks this week (weather permitting) and she is impeccably well-behaved each time. It's good to know that she can be trusted off the lead, as she has seemingly boundless energy. I've also finally achieved success in discovering something that she likes to eat for her dinner. This was a worry, as she is slightly too thin and in refusing the various things that were offered night after night she was starting to get thinner. She likes, it turns out, the same thing that Jasper liked - meat in jelly with a handful of mixer biscuits. She's not a big eater of treats and snacks though, which is perhaps a good thing.
Gizmo is very buoyant and amusing in her attitude, she's quite comical. She has a funny little tuft of hair on her head, which is usually laid flat but occasionally sticks up and makes her look hilarious. It's just like the classic "Bobby Charlton comb-over" -
I'll try and get a picture of her (as opposed to one of our nation's finest) to show you what I mean.
She almost came a bit of a cropper yesterday actually. We had enjoyed a very long walk (even Giz was flagging a bit) in the woods and met some very nice ladies walking their dogs - two large, Retriever/Setter-type chaps; one black, one russet. The larger, black-furred dog (I believe his name was Tudor), his owners informed us, was very elderly although he didn't look it. Gizmo, ever eager to make friends with other people and dogs, was her charming self - but very soon received possibly the greatest shock of her young life thus far... Tudor gripped her firmly with his fore-arms either side of her rib-cage, turned her around, mounted her and began thrusting in a manner which can only be described as sexual (my sincere apologies to the more sensitive reader). Nothing could deter Tudor, despite Gisèle's loud protests, and in the end his owner had to spank him with her stick to get him off poor Giz. She immediately fled, with the young russet Setter and the elderly Tudor hard on her heels. She was quite happy to play with them, but every time Tudor caught her he recommenced fornication procedures. I am afraid I had little sympathy for her. She was flirting outrageously with both dogs and squealed every time Tudor caught and tried to "enjoy" her. In the end, I had to pick her up and carry her back to the car, as I ended up walking with the ladies and their dogs and chatting - they were parked in the same car park as me - for the short distance to the end of the walk. Tudor's owner said that he looked about ten years younger - Gizmo must have been good for him...! But I kept her safe and unsullied all the way back to the car, whether she liked it or not. I shall have to be more careful in future; this is the first time that I have owned a dog who has not been "done" - I didn't know how powerfully alluring an unspayed young lady can be to a lusty hound - and there is no way that I can afford to have her "seen to" just yet. Actually, part of me disagrees with the idea of having an animal's vital functions interfered with, or removed altogether, for the sake of human convenience. Of course, it is very worthy to prevent thousands upon thousands of unwanted puppies being born - but, I sort of like Gizmo as she is and am not inclined to meddle. She will certainly be supervised most scrupulously when she is in season - but... well; it's a hard decision to consider.
This leads me on to a not entirely unrelated subject, which came about long before Gizmo entered the frame: Betty and Fizzy.
I am relieved that Gizmo has made friends with Fizzy - but Betty didn't even try. When she was first spotted by Ewan and Fizzy they were sitting in their vehicle and Betty was in the work-yard. Fizzy barked at first sight of pretty Betty but Ewan, I noticed, was looking at her with interest, a beaming smile and a twinkle in his eye. Fizzy obviously noticed this too and clouted poor Ewan around the back of the head until he was cowed into barking unpleasantries at Betty as well.
Poor Ewan - he does adore his Fizzy AND his behaviour has been remarkably less mad since she went to live with him - but I believe that such things have not come without their price. Fizzy has not been spayed and, even though Ewan HAS been neutered, she pursues him with relentless intensity when she is in season. Their owner told me that, when Fizzy is on heat, Ewan abandons the dogs' shared basket and attempts to hide from Fizzy under the dining-room table - he apparently believes that there is such a "forest" of table and chair legs under there that he cannot be seen. But Fizzy invariably finds him, drags him out and smacks him around the back of his head until he capitulates and performs his conjugal duties. Poor Ewan. He is still utterly devoted to his Fizzy though...
Anyway, the relationship between Betty and Fizzy was doomed to total failure once the seeds of jealousy had been sown. Initial steps were taken to try and encourage a friendship between the two, but immediately abandoned when the futility of the idea became obvious. Ewan doesn't seem to mind - in fact, I think he secretly enjoys the situation. I'll admit, though, that I am not the only one who finds deeply troubling the fact that these two otherwise intelligent, articulate and attractive young ladies would happily tear each other limb from limb - and all for the ultimate "prize" of Ewan's affections. Worrying.
Before I turn back to little Gisèle, I would like to say a very hearty thank you to the friends who sent lovely messages after the previous post - Lance, Keetha, Gibbs, The Secretary, Lady Miss Till and others - I am immensely grateful to you. ♥
For various reasons I have decided against revealing which of Jasper's chums throughout the blog during his lifetime were real and which were fictional - not least because Jasper will imminently be resuming his rightful place as author of this blog and I'd hate to incur his wrath... You are most welcome to see if you can guess which are real and which are imagined if you like but, for now, my typing fingers are sealed. I WILL tell you, however, that the character (real) which is most like his genuine self (apart from Jasper himself of course) is, perhaps surprisingly, Ewan. He really IS that dim and generally helpless without Fizzy - but, as Jasper was always keen to stress, utterly inoffensive and friendly. Very little effort indeed is needed when putting words and situations into Ewan's online persona - the work has already been done by nature itself.
To Gisèle, then. She came to live with me on what was originally intended to be a temporary basis on Saturday 19 May this year. My colleague (Ewan and Fizzy's owner) telephoned me on my mobile in the early evening to ask for my help in a bit of an emergency situation. Her nephew, who lived just around the corner from me, had to leave his house and be gone by the end of that day. He had also lost his job and his car. He had managed to find a room to rent elsewhere, but was unable to take his dog. Could I help by taking the dog in the interim? My colleague could not take her, as she already has Ewan and Fizzy and is only allowed a maximum of two dogs where she lives.
I was reluctant, to be honest. I was not ready, financially or psychologically, to have a new dog, plus I also have a commitment with Betty's owner. But I couldn't leave a dog to be sent off to a rescue home or worse, and Betty is not due to return until at least 24 June, so I agreed to temporarily accommodate the dog - for a month at most. Less than five minutes later, the nephew arrived in the van belonging to my colleague's partner with little Gizmo in his arms. After a brief chat, she was left with me. She arrived with a collar and two leads, a small bed, a bowl and a cage. I was given £10 to buy some food for her and told "just stick her in the cage all day and let her out for a wee at night, she won't be any trouble." And that was that. Still reeling somewhat from shock, I dismantled the cage and put it away as soon as the van had departed. I had never made any dog of mine sit in a cage all day, and I wasn't about to start now.
The poor little dog was terribly confused and afraid. She sniffed the house all over, refused to eat or drink anything, and put herself to bed in her little foam basket trembling and crying.
I still hadn't quite recovered from the incredibly rapid turn of events the next morning - in the space of fewer than ten minutes I had gone from being dog-less but increasingly content with my pet-free situation, to owning a bewildered and energetic live-wire of a two-year-old Jack Russell. I was particularly unimpressed the following Monday morning when, already at risk of being late for work, I opened the gate and the dog shot off like a bullet. Cursing, swearing and calling for her, I took off after her, accompanied by one of my neighbours. We caught up with her on the other side of the housing estate, her progress halted by some mercifully secure fencing. I scooped up the dog, thanked my neighbour, and left for work feeling hot, tired and cross.
My colleagues were enchanted by the sweet little dog (although, I thought bitterly, they hadn't had to pursue her across a housing estate with their neighbours watching and laughing) and there was no shortage of takers for her if she didn't go back to her owner and I didn't want to keep her. After that initial couple of days, however, Gizmo and I began to bond. I couldn't blame her, of course, for her initial behaviour - she was young, frightened and confused and had been left with a total stranger in a house completely unknown to her (one which, no doubt, smells strongly to a sharp canine nose of Jasper and Betty). But little Giz continues to grow more affectionate and delightful by the day; almost by the hour. She has been extremely well-trained - her obedience is total and her behaviour at home and out of doors is impeccable. She is also now utterly devoted to me and entirely trustworthy with other dogs and children. The rest of the history you know.
So, a most bizarre acquisition of a new dog. But perhaps it was meant to be. I am not much of a believer in the fates or spirits behind such odd coincidences, chance happenings or circumstances. But what I DO know - and this is rather bizarre - Jasper's little holly-tree, which he helped to unearth and support following notice of it (a bird must have dropped a berry, as there is no holly nearby. See here for Jasper attending to his sapling tree), was beginning to die and wither to a brown, chewed-up tiny stump. Since the arrival of Gisèle, however, it has begun to grow and flourish again, sending out bright new green shoots. Make of that what you will...