Girlie and Me

The riverbank
Bizarre, isn’t it. I have begun to talk to my dog. We don’t discuss philosophy or national politics or anything like that – we just sit together and she nuzzles approvingly every time I have a witty or amusing thought. Of course, I don’t need to share it out loud with her – how weird is that –  she understands perfectly and eyebrow-speak is quite sufficient. We share a common language in an arcane and almost religious way. When it’s feeding time she sits down, briefly, then rises as if there’s a burr on the floor that she’s just sat on. Remembering herself, she sits again, licking her lips. Meanwhile, I open the door to the food cupboard. She trots forward, then, recalling I don’t much care for poor manners, sits again. Luncheon is served.

Dogs have moved in next door. Three of them, girlies to a man. They do what all women do when they get together, twitter, chatter and fuss, doubtless discussing the relative merits of different brands of kibble. Large and boisterous, they are like three Lancashire lasses in search of booze and boys on a Friday night. My little girl, unaccountably, wants to join in so there’s a short but intense barkfest as we pass the vixens’ den on our morning outing.

She’s a sociable girlie. Friends with all, except the homicidal white Russian wolfhound across the pathway who disembowelled a careless visitor a while back. On our afternoon jaunt the other day, we went as usual to the expanse of common where the tall grasses slow her down a bit. There was a lady, dressed in one of those funny peaked visors, sitting on the grass, reading. Even at a distance, her discomfiture was palpable. At our approach, she looked round nervously as if to find a place to hide. I thought it best to keep Girlie and self a discreet distance before unleashing. But, no. Obedience decreasing as the square of separation meant that from thirty metres away instruction was meaningless. In consequence, friendliness and curiosity got the better of her and she bounded up to the lady, who was clearly catatonic with fear, and announced her goodwill by jumping all over her. The stupid woman started screaming and waving her arms about, which amused Girlie no end and she had to be dragged away, both of us helpless with laughter and trying not to show it.

It’s rather fun when one has a dog, since one has to develop something of a canine perspective, according to the book I’ve got which is readily to hand in the bathroom – the only room in the house where I can be sure to be alone. We discuss the book together, Girlie and me. Large upright persons are chieftains of some description, High Ups, and if you jump all over them, most of them don’t much care for it – but it doesn’t matter because you know they’re friends, really. Then there are the smaller versions who squeak and giggle and turn out to be remarkably easy to knock over. If this happens, some kind of shrill altercation tends to take place where small person is raised heavenward by larger variety, which, of course, makes them harder to get at to play with and jumping up to try seems to make things so very much worse. And, why are the Big People so fussy about their clothes? It’s only a bit of mud on the Versace – it’ll wash off.

Enough, already.

As is so very evident, I am being slowly and inexorably deprived of whatever sense and gravitas I once had. Somewhat against our better judgment, we took Girlie for her first trip into town yesterday. In-car behaviour, immaculate. Underground car park? Er, no. Stairs or the elevator? Neither. When a twenty kilogram animal decides she’s not gonna move, sprawling on the sidewalk with paw and claw digging into the concrete and wearing a mutinous expression, options shorten. We had to carry her back to the car, to the intense and ribald amusement of the sex shop touts on the Boulevard Clichy. No, I had gone to buy guitar strings and we were on our way up the hill to Montmartre, before you join too many dots. It was quite a relief to get back home and across the footbridge for a little gallop down the towpath. Her, not me. Or, should it be ‘she, not I?’