“No, well, what you want to do, Giz,” barked Betty who, with Gizmo, was taking advantage of the first truly lovely (and dry) day for months to sit outside upon the patio, “Is to make a curl out of it and then lay it flat down the side of your pretty head. That way, it won’t look quite so comical. Can I show you?”
Gisèle nodded. Betty was offering her advice on how to tame the unruly little tuft atop her head (the “Bobby Charlton comb-over”). Extending a claw, Betty twirled the tuft into a pretty curl and patted it flat on Gizmo’s head. “Personally I don’t think it looks that daft,” continued the big dog, “It’s actually quite sweet.”
“It makes me look silly.” said Gizmo, “I wish Mistress would snip it off.”
“Well that wouldn’t help much.” replied Betty, sensibly. “It’d only grow back again. At least it’s different – it’s got a lot of character!” She finished manipulating the furry outcrop. “There you go!”
Gizmo got up and trotted to the French window to peep at her reflection.
“Oh yes, that’s much better.” she smiled. Betty wagged her little stub of a tail.
“Or…” barked Betty, “Or what you could do is to divide the tuft in half and make two separate little curls and have one on each side – come here; I’ll show you.”
Giz obligingly trotted back over to her new friend and inclined her head towards the large dog that, only a short while ago, had come extremely close to killing her. There was no hint of this now, however. Betty frowned in concentration as she restyled the fur on Gisèle’s head.
“How d’you know how to do all this, Betz?” asked Gizmo, from her bowed position.
“I go to a dog beautician several times a year.” replied Betty, as she continued twirling fur with her claw. “You pick up all sorts of things there.”
“What, like fleas?!” giggled Gizmo. I tensed, lest Betty should fly off the handle again at Gismo’s cheeky comment – but Betty laughed heartily, to my inestimable relief.
“Yeah, I did catch fleas from one place.” she chuckled. “We didn’t go there again. OK, I’ve finished – see what you think.”
Gizmo returned to the window and looked at herself again.
“Oh!” she declared, turning her head this way and that to examine all angles. “Oh, now, yes. Yes, I DO like that.”
“It suits you. Come back over here and I’ll show you how you can do it yourself.”
Dear reader, I could hardly believe the truth of what I beheld with my own eyes. In such a short space of time, and despite all that
had inflicted upon poor Gisèle, the two girls were now firm friends! Elizabeth
Due to the marauding presence of Betty, I have not yet had an opportunity to become more acquainted with my partner’s new companion Gizmo. I had already witnessed sufficient evidence to prove that she was an exceptionally affable (if a little ill-read) young lady, but such forgiveness, acceptance and benevolence was on an uncanine scale new, even, to me. With almost any other dog (or, indeed, any creature in general), the most that Betty could have hoped for after what she had done would have been reluctant, grudging forgiveness. But the fact that her good-natured little victim had had the grace to forgive and then extend the paw of friendship both astonished and delighted me.
Of course, this had also had an extremely pleasing effect on Betty. She stopped frowning at the world and began to enjoy a more peaceful manner of conduct. She was also practically beside herself with joy and pride at having, finally, a genuine and real friend. She barked, in introduction, to all she encountered (and repeatedly, to anyone who would listen,) “This is Gizmo. She’s my friend.” or “This is my friend Gizmo.”
For Betty is approximately 7 or 8 years old and had lived thus far without the blessing of any true friends. It had taken the tiny Gizmo (who was small, even by normal Jack Russell standards) to show her just how precious the simple blessings of heartfelt forgiveness and sincere friendship could be.
For Gisèle, it seems, is a jewel among bitches. There is no limit; it would seem, to her goodness. She is determined to see the best in everyone and to be friends with whomsoever she encounters. Don’t get me wrong, she can be a cheeky little pickle sometimes, in a non-malicious way. But the sweet girl’s conduct is generally exemplary. She took at least as much joy in Betty’s friendship as Betty herself did.
Back to the morning in question: after the fur-style recommendations and the swapping of tips as to the best kind of faecal matter to roll in prior to going out to meet dogs, the topic moved on to dietary matters (women, sorry girls, can have a somewhat limited range of conversation subjects sometimes. Thus, they had already gone through fur-styles, make-up, perfume and boys. This left only diets and menstrual cycles – and, thankfully, neither Gizmo nor Betty is currently On Heat).
“How do you maintain your slender shape, Giz?” asked Betty. For Gisèle is, indeed, VERY slight of figure; one might almost call her skinny. I know that my partner sometimes worries that her charge is TOO thin.
The lady in question was busy washing her lower forearms and paws. She looked up briefly at her friend and said matter-of-factly “Sometimes I gets Colitis.” (I really am going to have to educate Gizmo in basic speech patterns; she’s worse than Ewan and has nothing like his excuse. I shall wait until Betty has gone home, however, for the sake of discretion.)
“What’s Colitis?” asked Betty, looking puzzled, “Is that some kind of special food or exercise regime?”
“No, it’s like a bad tummy.” replied Giz. “I can only eat some types of food or I gets it. It makes me poo out blood.”
“Eeeurgh!” winced Betty, “That sounds horrible! Does it hurt?”
“Not too much. It’s embarrassing though. When I’ve got it and I needs to go, I HAS to go and sometimes I has made a mess in the house. But Mistress says it’s not my fault and so we cleans it up. It’s really annoying when I’s on a walk though, because it” [the Colitis] “makes me think that I still needs to do a poo when there is no more poo in my bottom, so I pushes and pushes but, of course, nothing comes out.”
Betty gave Gizmo a look of the utmost sympathy. I almost thought she was about to cry, but she managed to restrain herself and instead gave Giz a big slobbery kiss on the top of her head.
“Thank you Betz.” smiled Gizmo meekly, looking up at her friend, “But I’s OK. If I gets it, then Mistress gives me half a grilled chicken breast chopped up with two spoons of plain white rice for my dinner and I’s alright again after a few days of that. I doesn’t eat meat out of a tin like you does, though – that’s what makes me bad worst of all.”
“Poor Giz.” sighed Betty. “I bet I know what’ll make you laugh…!”
“A… FIIIIIIIIGHT!!! Rowrrrr!” and Betty leapt up and bowed to invite Gizmo to play-fight. Giz immediately bowed in response and the whole house was filled with giggling, pretend-growls and shrieks and the two dogs racing up and down the stairs, in and out of rooms and around the garden in a long, joyous game, before the two collapsed in a breathless heap of fur, still laughing and tapping at each other.
It was a most happy sight. And, lest it be suspected that I have dreamt up this scenario of canine friendship merely to quell the fears of nervous readers, I offer to you now this photographic proof:
|Heading back to the car after a lovely walk|
|Enjoying a shared joke (most probably about me and of a highly disrespectful nature)|
|Getting ready for sleep...|
|Shhh...! Sweet dreams, girls.|