Monday, 11 February 2013

Sunday 10 February 2013

What a week.  We have been excessively busy - but I am glad to report that the evenings are drawing out and there is, once more, sufficient time for the girls to enjoy a walk (albeit a brief one at the moment) after work.  Although the weather is still somewhat unpredictable of late, last weekend heralded some definite signs of approaching spring.  Betty and Gisèle were very happy to be out in the garden and enjoying the warm early sunshine.  The former was sitting upright on the small patio, enjoying the gentle spring-breeze on her snout.  The latter was sitting on the border by the side-fence, gossiping happily with Rosie the Westie on the other side of the little wooden boundary.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a large, stranger of a dog heading towards us.  I vaguely recognised him as belonging to a human visiting a relative two streets away.  He was a big lad, a Doberman Pinscher for the most part, and he was definitely strolling our way.  It did not augur well that strolling beside him was a very chatty Peaches (evil hell-cat).  Uh-oh...

Peaches did not have the nerve to venture any nearer than the top corner of our little cul-de-sac.  Such reticence, alas, did not affect the erstwhile newcomer who continued, alone, to the pavement next to our garden and gave Elizabeth a cursory greeting.
"Good morning." she responded, uncertain what to make of the big dog.  The visitor, meanwhile, was looking over Betty's shoulder at Gizmo and Rosie.
"Are they the only ones you've got?" he asked.
"Excuse me?" frowned Betty, staring at the Dobermann.
"Those two, there." he repeated, "Are they all you've got?  Don't you have any bigger ones?"
"Bigger ones - what?!"
"Oh, never mind.  That one -" he nodded towards Gisèle. "She's very pretty.  But she looks very young - is she pure?"
"I beg your pardon?!"
"Pure.  Is she pure?"
"Pure as in...?"
"Pure. You know - pure.  Is she virgo intacta...?"
"What?!" spluttered Betty, "I don't know!!  Um... - yes, probably..."
"Right." nodded the big dog.  "Is it extra for that?"
"Is WHAT extra?!"
"You know - for... some places charge extra for... that..."
Betty merely gaped at him, opening and closing her mouth like a startled goldfish.
"Well, " barked the big dog briskly, "What's your price for her for..." he considered for a moment "...half an hour...?  Or have you got a deal running for a whole hour?"  He regarded Gisèle again - Rosie had long-since escaped into her own house.  "Oh, go on." sighed the dog, "I'll take her for the full hour."

"I'm sorry; I cannot understand you." replied Betty.  I sensed that the Giant Schnauzer was just a few more badly-phrased questions away from losing her temper.  I could already see her whiskers bristling and judged it prudent to remove little Gisèle from the scene as quickly as possible.  Accordingly -
"Giz, would you accompany me indoors now please?" I barked.
"Why?" whined Gizmo, not wishing to depart the scene of mounting tension.  But I had sensed what was a-paw in the Dobermann's enquiries and it was unfitting that the pure and innocent Gisèle should be exposed to such scenes.  "Is there going to be a fighting?" persisted Giz, "A-cause I's good at fighting.  I's small but I can run underneath big dogs and tear open bellies!  If Betty is going to be in a fight then I wants to be in it too!"
"Inside.  NOW." I barked, leaving no room for negotiation.  Gisèle meekly trotted indoors, and I took care that the French Windows were closed behind her.  My partner and I unearthed a favourite doll of Gisèle's, and she happily accepted it and capered upstairs to wash her baby-doll and sing it to sleep.  Gisèle thus occupied and safely out of harm's way, I wandered back towards the garden, wondering how the h*ll, given my lack of a physical presence and Betty's feminine delicacy, we were going to get rid of the impertinent newcomer, who was loudly persisting at our fence.
"Look!" he was shouting aggressively as I re-entered the garden from the house, "I've got money to spend here!"

Just when I thought all was lost, an unlikely saviour appeared in the form of Laddie, the cockney market-trader who had moved into the next cul-de-sac fairly recently and who was very taken with Betty.  He had obviously heard the increasing cacophony from the garden and trotted over to see what was a-paw (and probably also to flirt with Elizabeth who - alas for him! - viewed Laddie as socially unacceptable for one of her bloodline).
"Alright, Duchess?" he grinned at Betty, with a wink.  Laddie was trailed by his usual "fan-base" of giggly young female cats, hanging upon his every bark, but they hung back at the entrance to our cul-de-sac, scenting the proximity of the foul Peaches and being nervous of the massive canine newcomer.
"No!" snapped Betty, irritably. "This idiot" (indicating the Dobermann) "won't stop asking daft questions - and he keeps offering me money for goodness-knows-what!"
"Eh?!" frowned Laddie, "Money for what?"
"The Parson Jack Russell Terrier!" replied the Dobermann, "I've offered a fair price for her!  So, what's the problem?!"

A flicker of understanding passed across Laddie's face.  He raised a paw and gave the larger dog a well-meaning pat on the shoulder.
"A word, friend, if you wouldn't mind...?"
With a last, irritated, look at Betty, the Dobermann turned away with Laddie, who was quietly muttering to the newcomer.

Betty and I exchanged a mystified glance at the two dogs meandering towards the neighbouring cul-de-sac, Peaches (the instigator of this tawdry mess) having long scarpered.  B*st*rd.  All of a sudden, the Dobermann Pinscher gave a mortified yelp.  He made as if to turn and come back in our direction, but Laddie prevented him, with a firm arm and paw around his shoulders.  The scrappy, but well-meaning, mongrel walked with the Dobermann all the way back to the house in which the latter was holidaying - during which snatches of the newcomer's barks drifted back to us on the breeze, including the phrases "apology...",  "mortified...", "cannot apologise enough...", "respectable ladies...", "deceived by that cat...".

After a while, Laddie returned.  He pushed a couple of dried sausages through the fence.
"There you go, Duchess." he grinned at Betty. "One for you and one for the pretty maid indoors.  Don't tell me Master; he'll think I've gone soft!"

Laddie went on to explain that the foul, amoral Peaches has been telling all dogs who would listen that this house from which I write is, in fact, a high-class brothel for dogs - of which Betty is the Madam.

Most local dogs have come to know Gisèle and, by association, Elizabeth - and appreciate that they are respectable beauties.  The Dobermann was a newcomer, however, and was unhappily hoodwinked by the wicked feline's tawdry assertions.  Happily for the honour of these impugned ladies, which I had no physical powers to defend, Laddie left us in no doubt as to the fate of the ghastly squit Peaches, should he ever get his paws on him.  Laddie might be as common as the dirt in the street - but his sense of decency raised him higher than most dogs I'd even known.

And Laddie's intrinsic goodness did not go unrewarded.  When he came back to see if Betty and Giz had enjoyed the sausage-treats he'd given to them, Betty rewarded him with an open, unaffected and sincere smile.  Betty did not openly smile very often - but, when she did, it was joyous and exquisite to behold.

"THAT'S it!" grinned Laddie, his tail wagging wildly, as he basked in the radiance of Betty's smile.  ""THAT'S my girl!  And if anyone - EVER - mistakes a Princess like you for a tart again, I'll tear 'em apart with me own fangs and flog their gizzards on me stall!"

Betty laughed.
Is this a trace of Lady-Chatterley-style romance in the air that I scent...?

Good evening...

Monday, 4 February 2013

Monday 4 February 2013

We were not expecting another visit from Betty until 15 February.  However, she has joined us for a few nights' stay, arriving late yesterday evening.  I will admit that I was a little apprehensive, given the cheeky hi-jinks of our mischievous little imps the last time they were together, but no-less pleased to greet our large and grey, tousle-furred friend, all the same.

Now, what is pertinent here to explain is that Betty is some years older than little Gisèle.  Hitherto this has merely manifested itself in Betty becoming tired after a couple of hours' active play with Gisèle.  It quickly became apparent after Betty was dropped-off last night, however, that she could not recall who the little Parson Jack Russell leaping up and down, dancing about and greeting her could possibly be.  The unfortunate consequence of this was that Betty made a sudden and vicious lunge at Giz as she stood on her tip-claws to give Betty a kiss of welcome.  Oh dear.

Gisèle screamed in shock and pain as Betty's large teeth sunk into her left eyebrow.
"Tear it off... tear it off..." grunted Betty as she nipped and bit, whilst my partner tried to pull her away from Gisèle and I roared at the large dog.  She didn't hear me, and paid no attention to my partner's efforts.  "Tear off her pretty face... tear it off..." she continued to snarl and mutter.  Gis, her quick mind acting logically, twisted around, her brow still trapped between Betty's jaws, and clamped her tiny, sharp, needle-like teeth over one of Betty's teats.  Betty yelled as the tiny white fury bit down into the flesh of her breast and immediately released Gisèle.  Gis also released her bite and promptly started to shout and rave at Betty.  As the shrill yapping continued, the blood from two Betty-fang-sized holes on Giz's eyebrow trickled down her snout and into her eye, where it mingled with eye-water and continued, a pale pink, down her face.  Correspondingly, a set of almost-perfectly oval tiny bruises began to turn a dark purplish-blue around one of the breasts on Elizabeth's chest.

Not for the first time was I shocked at seeing how vicious the female of the species could turn when provoked.

"What did you do THAT for?!" demanded an enraged Gisèle.
"You complete fool!" I shouted at the same time.  My partner was holding Betty away from Giz.
"Ohhhhh!"  cried Betty, suddenly realising, "GIZMO!! Oh! No!!  I'm so, SO sorry!"

"Yes! Gizmo!" yapped Gis, still furious.  "Gizmo what you has just bitten!"  (This was not the time, dear reader, to correct her speech anomaly).
"Sorry! Sorry! SORRY!" wailed the mortified Betty, as she hastened to clean up the wound she'd just inflicted upon her friend.
"Get off!  Get off!" cried Gis, slapping Betty's snout away, "You will make it worse with your lickings!  Let Mistress do it!  Stop slobbering on me!"
"I'm SO sorry..." repeated a contrite Betty.  "But," she added accusingly, "You DID bite me on my tit!  That hurts too!"
"So what?!  It is isn't bleeding like is my face!"
"It hurts where you bit it!"
"But I wouldn't never ever have bitten you on your tit if you was not biting me first!" protested Gisèle, wincing as my partner began to dab an antiseptic-soaked piece of cotton-wool gently over her twin bleeding wounds.
Betty considered this.  Unable to argue against the logic of Gisèle's last statement, she nodded and began to profusely and sincerely apologise once more.  The profound regret of the Giant Schnauzer (Riesenschnauzer) Elizabeth at her inexcusable folly could not be denied and Gisèle quickly forgave her friend.  Giz knew, though was much too polite to say, that on occasion Betty's temper moved at a faster rate than her brain - and further mitigation was allowed when it came out that Betty had had a very long walk and a more-plentiful supper than was usual, so that her thinking was a little more sluggish than usual.  After no more than an hour or so the two girls were happily smiling and gossiping together as though no altercation had taken place.  And the following morning (this morning) the pretty pair positively gloried in being back together once more.

All was well.  Until - and I sigh; is there to be no respite from the ghastly fiend?! - the malevolent hell-cat Peaches re-entered the fray...

Good evening.