"Rest in Peace" they say, "Rest in Peace". Well, the last couple of weeks have been anything BUT peaceful for this restee. What a business.
Betty was collected at the beginning of the week by her mortified owner, and packed off in high dudgeon. This left my partner and me to deal with Gisèle. As she, herself, had been injured (and has subsequently been stitched and medicated) I felt a twinge of guilt at having to discipline her. However, I only had to recall the sound of her hiding in the airing-cupboard with Betty, giggling at what they had done - and to witness my partner's continuing pain in her right wrist - for my prickling anger to return.
"Sit down." I barked at Giz as she tip-clawed hesitantly into the sitting room, shortly after Betty had been collected.
"Where's Betty?" asked the little Jack Russell.
"Never you mind." I replied, not inclined to chat. "Answer me; you are aware of the injuries to your neck?"
"Yes." came the sulky reply.
"You are aware of the severe - and potentially permanent - injuries to your Mistress?"
"Then tell me why you were laughing."
"I wasn't laughing."
"Gisèle, I heard you. Why were you laughing?"
"Because Betty was laughing."
"And why was Betty laughing?"
"Um... because I was laughing..." Dear reader, I was frustrated to the point of wanting to slap Giz at her silly thoughtlessness. "Jazz, guess what?" she piped up, "I ate some fish for tea the other night and then I did some botty-gas later and it smelled of fish. And the NEXT night I ate some chicken and my botty-gas later smelled of chicken! Is that magic, Jazz? Can I do magic now?!"
I lost it.
"GISÈLE!" I roared, terrifying the small dog out of her wits, "If you thought that you were going to somehow diffuse the blame for this because Betty was involved as well, or if you thought you were going to get around me by being silly, then you can nip those thoughts in the bud RIGHT NOW. You have committed the gravest crime known to dog-kind: you have bitten the kindly hand that feeds you. How DARE you?! And your reaction is to hide in a cupboard with the other miscreant and snigger at your actions! You foolish, silly girl! HOW DARE YOU?!"
"Elizabeth has gone home to be disciplined separately. Have you SEEN your Mistress's wrist? Would you like that to happen to YOU?!"
"No, sir. Not even one little bit." mumbled Giz, hanging her head in shame.
"Do you know how close you have come to losing your home? Someone has even offered to buy you from your Mistress, even though you have demonstrated beyond doubt your TOTAL worthlessness and complete failure as a dog!"
Gisèle burst into tears, but I was too angry to feel pity for her.
"You were naughty too..." she sniffled pathetically, "When you first moved into Mistress's house with her parents, I read it on-"
"THAT'S ENOUGH!" I bellowed, glaring furiously at the cowering terrier. "Yes! I was extremely wicked and stupid. But I never bit anyone! And the main thing - the MOST IMPORTANT thing - is that I learned from my folly. You show no sign of improvement from this wretched business, and that is the worst aspect of the piece. Betty - whatever her faults - at least sought out my partner and apologised before she was taken away. You don't deserve your nice home here you stupid, stupid little girl."
By now, Giz was wailing openly and had wet herself. Despite the fact that it had been her fang and not Betty's that had pierced my partner's artery I felt that I had now barked enough.
Gisèle was crying so much that she was incapable of speech.
"I take it from your reaction that you ARE genuinely sorry?"
Giz nodded miserably.
"You will modify your behaviour?"
"And this type of incident will never be repeated?"
"No, sir - um, yes, sir..."
"You are fortunate. You have been forgiven. There are few dogs who would be granted pardon after an outrage of this nature. It will serve you well if you remember this in the future."
"Yes sir. Thank you, sir."
"It is not me you must thank. Forgiveness was not mine to bestow."
As awful as it had been to rant and storm at little Gisèle I could see that she had accepted and was seriously considering what she had heard, with an air of maturity hitherto unapparent in her mental make-up.
"Sir - please can I ask-" she whispered, making me jump. "-Betty. She is my friend. Will she- is she-"
"Elizabeth is to be allowed to return." I informed her, trying to disguise the fact that I didn't entirely agree with this decision. Gisèle's little face lit up. "But-" I cut in, "There are to be strict conditions. One: When Betty stays here, you will stay with your Mistress's parents and you will meet only for your walks and games; Two: If your Mistress's parents are away, Betty will stay here with you - in this case she will be muzzled, except during your recreational and dining periods;-"
Gisèle gasped in horror at this. The prospect of having to be muzzled due to an inability to control one's temper is anathema to every decent-thinking dog. I ignored her appalled squeak - Betty (and Gisèle) had brought this entirely on themselves.
"-Three: You and Betty are no longer permitted to share a bedroom. You have each demonstrated that your private conversations and opinions are a malign influence upon the other. Therefore you are no longer permitted to spend considerable lengths of time in each other's unsupervised company. You will be accompanied, when together, by my partner - your Mistress - or another responsible adult of her determination, and you will spend your time together in a respectable way, without undue giggling or silliness; Four: You will both understand and accept that this is your final warning. ANY repetition - or hint of such - will result in a full and final separation. There will be no debate or negotiation regarding these conditions. Do you understand?"
"Good girl. Then let us never speak of this again."
"Thank you, sir."
Gisèle crept off to have a long and conciliatory cuddle from my partner whilst I felt incredible relief. And to think I had been fretting about the much-vaunted "I Love Peaches Party"...
What a business....