I was dozing peacefully on the bed, next to young Gisèle, in the early hours of the morning, a few days ago. The sound of raised voices from the direction of my garden dragged me from my repose, though sweet Giz slept on, unencumbered. The first voice which destroyed my peace was Betty's (she was staying with us again for just a few days, a short while ago). She was employing all manner of profanities in her upper-class, educated voice. A tell-tale whiff in the air told me that her combatant was none other than the foul feline Peaches.
"..so anyway," he was mewing, snidely, "What's the name of that scrawny rat that lives here now?"
"If you dare to meow ONE WORD against my friend Gizmo, I'll rip off your tail and beat you to death with the wet end!" retorted a dangerously-livid Elizabeth.
"Yeah, her." replied Peaches indifferently. "Has she had the courage to tell anyone yet?"
"Tell anyone WHAT?"
"About her being up the duff."
"Well, it's obvious, isn't it? For f***'s sake, open your eyes, you dozy fat bint!"
"Any other last words?" snarled Betty, "Before I tear your wretched body into ribbons?!"
Peaches laughed, malevolently, and then stalked off with his usual air of self-importance.
"Don't say I didn't warn you." he hissed, by way of a parting shot, "Oh, she IS all right..."
What was THAT all about?!?
Betty waited until the wretched Peaches had disappeared from view. Then, she turned and raced up the stairs, bounding up several steps at a time - and even running through me (painless, but something I'd not experienced before and therefore a little unsettling), finally leaping onto the bed and shaking Gizmo awake.
"Is it true?!" demanded Betty.
"Mmmmm... what?" mumbled the sleepy Giz.
"ARE you pregnant?!"
But, unhappily, at that very moment the doorbell sounded and Betty had to go home. She left with one last, desperate, look at me and frantically mouthed "Help her!" through the car window as she departed.
I stood and watched her vehicle disappear around the corner. NOW what...?! I forced myself to be calm. 'Come along now, Jazz," I said to myself "Be calm and examine the evidence. Draw upon your experience-based knowledge..." I chuckled to myself, thinking how ludicrous the very IDEA of sweet Gisèle being in-pup was...
My chuckles abruptly ceased. I cast my mind back to the book "Know Your Dog", mentioned previously, which contained a chapter on the signs to look out for if one suspects one's bitch is pregnant.
"1. She may begin to nurture, or 'mother' a toy or other young creature, for example an orphaned kitten."
I had not seen Gisèle without her teddy-bear by her side for some while now. The bear had also not been as clean as he now was since long before I departed this life - Giz was taking particular care in cleaning him, especially his bottom-area, his mouth and his ears.
"2. She may begin to build nests within furniture, or to dig a den in a secluded area of the garden, to create a safe and warm place in which to deliver and suckle her pups."
My partner had just recently been forced to buy a new duvet, the latter having been destroyed in "nesting activities", which I'd assumed had been part of a game betwixt Betty and Giz. Now, I wasn't so sure...
"3. Her teats will swell and begin to produce milk, indicating that birth is imminent."
How could I not have noticed?!? Gisèle HAD been putting on weight, to be sure, but I had viewed this as encouraging progress, given how emaciated she was on first coming to live here. But there was no denying it - even my partner's parents had remarked upon how swollen Gizmo's mammaries had become and how large and red her little nips now looked. Work colleagues had commented upon it also, and milk positively SHOT forth from her breasts, each time she licked to relieve them. One spurt shot a length of six foot.
Oh SH*T indeed, then. Gisèle is pregnant.