Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Wednesday May 29th 2019
It’s reunion time, and Rufus is very excited. Beside himself, if the truth be told.
He takes reunions very seriously, does Rufus. Some years ago, I recall, I was at Greenhill Garage, standing by the side of my car while a young attendant was checking my tyres, when I heard a piercing howl.
Coming towards me was Bev., who was struggling to restrain the labradoodles.
I’d not seen poor Rufus for months as he was recovering from an operation on his spine.
“Whoo-hoo-hoooooooooooooooooooooooo!”, howled Rufus, “Whoo-hoo-hoooooooooooooooooooooooo!”, as he dragged Bev. towards me.
She had no choice but to let go of this well trained and generally obedient dog.
The young attendant went pale, and retreated to the back of the car as Rufus honed in on me. He was so eager to lick my face that he dragged a claw down my arm.
Ouch – but what a greeting!
Now, it’s Monday morning. The family have just returned from holiday, so the doodles haven’t seen us for two weeks.
I prepare myself for the ambush.
The doodles are already in Highbury. They’re a few hundred yards down the meadow, and unaware of our arrival, so I change into my boots hastily.
Bev. sees me, and captures them just before they spot me, so I’m able to let Isis out of the car before they are released.
Rufus, who, we think, has become quite fond of Isis, doesn’t know which of us to greet first.
“Who-hoooooooooooooooooooooooooo-hoo!”, he gasps as he shoots back and forth from my legs to Hairy One’s face.
Bop! Bop! Bop!, goes Rufus’s nose on Hairy One’s muzzle.
“Gr-r-r-yaff!”, says Hairy One.
But she looks happy and relaxed, and seems pleased to be walking with them again.
We are making our way along one of the narrow tracks through the woodland walk: Nancy out ahead, followed by Bev., then Rufus, Isis and me.
Rufus finds a particularly delicious crop of grass and stops to nibble it, straddling the track.
Now Isis has a dilemma. She wants to walk on, but Rufus is in her path.
I can see that there is room for her to pass on the right hand side, at his tail end, but she, of course, doesn’t know this.
She stops very close to him, and sniffs out the position of his head. She moves on to check out his midriff, then comes to his tail.
She returns to his head end and repeats the process twice. Clearly, she decides, the available space runs out at the end of his tail.
This is a difficult one. You can’t push another dog out of the way. That’d be asking for trouble. She steps forward and sniffs his stomach. And steps back.
She walks to the end of his tail again. No room.
She returns to stand close to him, moves forward, loses her nerve, steps back.
She does this twice more, then, ducking slightly, she pushes herself carefully underneath him and emerges the other side.
Bev. and I are quite enchanted.
“How sweet is that?”, says Bev.
We are amazed at Hairy One’s trust. This is the closest she has ever been to another dog.
And Rufus is magnificent. He doesn’t twitch a whisker.
Well, well, well.
*Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk