We were discussing family pets around the table after tea. The Little White Dog is secure in the knowledge that she is one of the human beings, and not a mere pet. So, bored with the conversation, she curled up on her chair at the end of the table, and went to sleep. It had been a lovely meal, not least because of our guest Mia, with whom our second born was so obviously besotted, that it was clear she would probably become a daughter-in-law sometime in the future. In the discussion about the many and various cats who have lived with us, Mia mentioned that when she was a little girl, she’d had a cat called Nugget. When one is new to a family, it’s a bit disconcerting to say something like this and have the collective Priors explode with hoots of laughter! We explained that, even asleep, the Little White Dog had heard the magic NUGGET word ,and was now sitting bolt upright, and on full alert.

Since then, the Little White Dog’s hearing has faded, and her once bright eyes are a little milky. If she were Homo sapiens rather than Canis familiaris pulchrior, she’d had have hearing aids and a couple of cataract operations by now. But the nose… The nose is as good as ever.

We were out today, so we cranked up the aircon for an hour or so before we left. Even so, the 38 degree day meant it was warm inside when we got home. The Little White Dog was a bit limp, and even though we had turned on both the aircon and the ceiling fan, she merely sniffed at her tea and went back to bed. The healing balm for a Little White Dog who may be a tad dehydrated is… tuna. Wendy opened a small can, and poured some of the spring water and few scraps of tuna into a clean bowl, and added a small amount of the rejected tea. Instant response, followed by definite indications that if similar condiments could be added to the rest of her tea, she’d eat that too.

We were also a bit limp. So we took the tea we’d thrown together and ate sitting in our easy chairs. Since we were not at the table, the Little White Dog ignored us and concentrated on cleaning  out the tuna can. After the can had stopped clanking around, the click-click of little claws on lino betrayed a nose-tip grid search of the kitchen. The undiluted powers of that nose were telling her there was more tuna somewhere. Eventually, she gave up and came over in our direction and began to wipe her face on the carpet… as you do. And stopped when she saw us, bowls in hand! “I knew I could smell more tuna.” Cue instant pleading puppy-face as she watched each of us carefully, and calculated the physics of the overhead fan, and other factors opaque to us mere humans. Then she bounced up to Wendy: “It’s you whose got the tuna, and I love you.”

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