big dogs

The Trouble with Dogs

I’d had a fairly successful day.  Been for a haircut, did some editing of my latest book, managed a modicum of success with revamping one of the sketches for said book. I even cooked us (Ziggy, Leon and myself) a lovely super – my version of southern fried chicken with special coleslaw and a few chips. 

Nearing the end of my day I did a final check of my emails before deciding on an early night – that means before 01:00.  All that remained was for to put the dogs out and lock up before retiring to my bedroom.

Cava, our ‘new’ dog hasn’t yet latched onto all the bad habits of the other two, and was already outside alternating between her cushioned bed and barking by the front gate at imaginary interlopers.  The other two dogs had spent the last few hours in the dining room, where I set up my inside office.  JD the Lab was sleeping on the sofa and Marti was lying on the floor beside it, with her head under a dining chair.

“Come on girls, outside.  Time for bed” I called as I opened the front door to allow their exit.

JD grunted and slowly climbed off the sofa, making her way outside. Marti did not move. 

This is not unusual, as she likes to stay inside at night.  I do give into this sometimes, especially in the winter, or if there is likely to be a thunder storm.  She hates storms.  Even a hefty wind will have her scurrying inside when any loose parts of our property start rattling or the pine trees on the edge of our yard send cones crashing down onto our stoep roof.

But tonight I decided she must go outside.  Knowing I might have trouble persuading her I noisily dragged the chair from over her head, resulting in a hasty scrabble to her feet.  Then she leapt into action.  Or tried to. 

I could see what she was thinking, and as she rushed to climb onto the sofa I leapt over her and landed on top of her when she’d only managed to get her front feet and half her body onto the cushions.  We both waited there, to see who was going to give in first.  I knew that if she once got onto that sofa I would have a helluva job getting her off.

In case you don’t know, Marti is a Mastin.  That’s a Spanish Mastiff, weighing in at close on seventy kilos.  To drag her full size off the sofa, or lift her off the floor, is quite a struggle, and not an exercise I was keen to perform.  But if I played my cards right here, I could get hold of her collar to pull her along as soon as I’d got her front feet back on the floor. Trouble was, I wasn’t in the best position to do this.

Her rear end was still on the floor, right up against the sofa. I was straddled over the dog with my left leg stuck between her and the chair, which was only a few inches from the sofa.  To get hold of her collar the right way, I had to ease my body off her shoulders then get to the other side of the chair, at the same time trying to stop her from getting up onto the sofa.

As I am sure you can imagine, she is a strong dog.   Peering at her up-side-down over her ears I looked her in the eyes, she looked back at me, we were both determined to win. 

Gripping her collar, I scrambled onto the sofa, over her head to the other side then down to stand on the floor, now on the other side of the dining chair. Turning quickly to face her I heaved with all my might and hauled her torso off the sofa.  She almost beat me as she tried to lay down but I clung tightly to the collar, pulling upwards with every ounce of strength I could muster, shouting, “No Marti, No.  You’re going OUTSIDE to bed.”

This was another one of the many times I has happy that we had typical Spanish tiled flooring, because as I tried to pull her towards the door she splayed her feet for a ‘dig in’ but instead slid slowly along the tiles.  After a couple of metres she gave up the struggle, stood up and reluctantly walked beside me, casting malevolent looks up at me.  Even with this state of co-operation I knew better than to let my hand, or my guard, down, as she has been known to scuttle off round the table back to the sofa at the first opportunity.

But outside she went, casting a final, disgusted look in my direction before wandering off to the water bowl to revive herself.

I don’t know about her, but I could have done with a stiff drink after all that. Pity I gave booze up over eight years ago.

Instead I locked the door, turned off the light, and took myself off to my own bed for a well-earned rest.

As for the dog, I’m sure she resumed her favourite position outside.

Chilled Martini

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