Gisèle managed to sleep throughout the whole evening and night - 'twas the shock, perhaps.
There were no more tears in the morning from her pretty eyes, but she declined the offer of any breakfast. She refused to eat her dinner that evening as well, and looked positively nauseous at the next morning's proffered breakfast. My partner began to grow worried and I have to bark that I shared her concerns. Whilst Gizmo was in the garden, we examined the leaflet inside the medicine-carton for any clues. We found it on the third page.
"It has been recorded that some dogs experience symptoms of anorexia nervosa as a result of taking this medication." declared the folded sheet of paper.
"Hmmnm..." said my partner, sighing heavily and putting the paper back in the medicine box from whence it came.
"Well, that's not exactly good news." I remarked, "She hardly eats anything anyway."
My partner nodded, watching Giz through the French Windows as she pottered in the garden, trying her best to go to the toilet despite an empty stomach and bladder.
We could not afford to waste any further time on the subject at the present moment, however, as we needed to set off for work. I had decided to appraise Fizzy the Labrador of the recent unhappy development at the earliest opportunity. I knew that I'd have to catch her by herself in order to do it discreetly, but the sooner she knew the better - for the most part so that she could make her pea-brained spouse Ewan understand the situation. He had been almost beside himself with joy at the expectation of the anticipated pups, frequently chattering on about all the games and gifts he was keen to share with all his new little "nieces and nephews".
On arrival at the work-yard, Gisèle said that she would prefer to sit quietly by herself in the car that day. My partner made sure that she was well-guarded against the cold and closed the car door on her, after giving the morose Giz a little cuddle. By a happy chance we had arrived only a few minutes behind Ewan and Fizzy, who were ambling around the yard and sniffing the perimeter. I sidled up to Fizz-Bang and asked her for a private word. She could see that something was not quite well and we concealed ourselves behind the fuel-store. Fizzy expressed much sincere sympathy on learning of the previous evening's events and promised that she would break the sad news to Ewan as quickly as possible - and that she would see to it that he fully understood both the truth and the need to be thoughtful in his remarks to Gisèle. I was as profuse as I was heartfelt in my thanks.
True to her bark, Fizzy wasted no time in escorting Ewan into the workshop for a discreet chat. I left them to it and, looking around, was pleased to see my friend Mac the Springer Spaniel in his garden, which bordered the work-yard. He was no less happy to see me and bounded up to the wire fence for a chat.
"'Ullo Jazz!" he beamed in his deep, rich and strongly-rural accent. "You still hanging around? I'll tell 'ee, I were real sorry to see you go. Last time I saw 'ee, 'twere in the back of the ol' boy's [his master's] van. I shed a fair few tears at seeing you lying there, I did that." (Mac's master looks after the pet-undertaker's crematorium, where my mortal remains... well, you know...) "We laid a right grand do on when we saw 'twas you, yes we did. We always does the job right and proper y'know - but it fair broke our hearts to see you in that box. The ol' girl [Mac's mistress] shed a good many tears. Oh yes. But what're you doing back, now boy? You oughtn't not to have more'n your time, y'know. T'ain't proper."
"I know." I sighed, shaking my head. "I know. But people - and dogs - down here hadn't finished needing me."
"No matter, though." replied Mac kindly, "When your time's up, 'tis up. No more to it'n that."
I nodded and attempted to explain. "I tried to go back a few months ago - but Gisèle had a fit of the hysterics, so I agreed to stay a bit longer."
"T'aint right." said Mac, "But I'm fair pleased to see 'ee, that I am."
"Cheers Mac," I grinned. "Great to see you too."
"So, what's occurring then? That young 'un Gisèle's a fair l'il maid, b'aint she?"
"She is, Mac." I smiled, "She's a real little gem. I couldn't have wished for finer for my partner." I then proceeded to confide to Mac the recent unfortunate circumstances involving Giz. Like Fizzy, he was genuinely sorry to hear it and asked me to pass on his condolences and compliments to the little Parson Jack Russell.
I was just about to reply and make further remarks on Gizmo's good-nature when piercing screams wrent the air asunder. The workshop door flew open with a resounding crash and Ewan almost flew across the yard squealing in terror and then fleeing into the woods on the opposite side to where Mac stood with me. We watched - and then listened to - Ewan's flight into the woodland, his progress marked by the sounds of headlong crashing through increasingly-thick scrub and the indignant protests of startled pheasants as their secluded peace was disturbed.
"BL**DY H*LL!!" bellowed Fizzy, as she came bolting out after Ewan and thundered past us in pursuit of her hysterical basket-mate.
Mac and I exchanged a bemused glance.
"Fairly average for a Friday morning..." remarked the Spaniel with a sigh and a raised eyebrow.
I was tempted to laugh, but checked the urge. I knew that he had long "had feelings for" the pretty Fizzy - and he had known Ewan for years before I had ever arrived upon the scene; I didn't feel qualified to comment. "Tell me, Jazz, has that ol' fool ever tried to preach to you about cheese?"
"Erm...." I responded, "He might have mentioned it once or twice..."
"Nutter." sniffed Mac. "That fair Labrador maid is wasted on that ol' idjit."
I didn't know quite how to reply - after all, much as I liked Ewan, these had once been my own thoughts... But before I could formulate an answer - "Aye-ay," muttered Mac, nodding over my shoulder.
I turned and saw Fizzy dragging a protesting Ewan back to the depot. She had him by the collar, and there was no let-up in his cries, protests and pleadings to be allowed to continue hiding himself in the deep woods. He wriggled and fidgeted without cease. Occasionally, he managed to wrench himself free from Fizzy's firm grasp between her teeth of his collar, but Fizzy was far too wily for him and as soon as he broke free she seized him by the tail and continued to drag him backwards, until he tried to pull away again and she renewed her strong toothy grip on his leather collar. He was dragged past Mac and I, the gangly mongrel's claws scrabbling desperately on the tarmac in a last-ditch effort to escape.
With a final, mighty, effort, Fizzy shoved Ewan back into the workshop and kicked the door closed on him. Wheezing and panting, she staggered over to Mac and I.
"Bl**dy h*ll!" she spluttered again, as she flopped down next to us.
I let her catch her breath before asking "What was that all about?!"
"Phantom pregnancy..." spluttered a gasping and angry Fizzy, "Ewan thinks that Gisèle is going to give birth to a litter of ghosts..."
She shook her head. Mac did the same and hastened into his house before he was called upon to comment.
And thus died my hopes of Ewan's being able to lift Gizmo out of her grief and depression.
There remained now only ONE hope for our sweet and anguished little Gisèle:
The return, tomorrow, of The Hon. Elizabeth Rae de W***-B*****-N********* a' S*******, more familiarly-known to you and I, dear reader, as "Betty".
Dewclaws crossed, OK...? Until next time, then...