These are not wildly original pet titles, I grant you, but then names like "Chainsaw", "Sprocket", "Pea Soup" and "Hamburger" may well suit other people's dogs or cats better than ours. These banal names, Teddy and Soxy, suited them well enough, so originality is irrelevant.
- He did not stray, even when the gate was left open. Straying required effort, which Ted was not prepared to expend.
- He did not relieve himself in the house.
- He did not dig up the garden. Ever. That again he regarded as something that took precious energy better spent on consumption and digestion of victuals.
- He was not a fork-sniffer.
- He did not bark at strangers at the door or going by the gate. In fact, he didn't bark at all, the only exception being that occasionally he emitted a curious "Wuff" in dreams in front of the fire, waking himself up and then looking embarrassed, especially when we were laughing.
- He never in his life growled at or bit a kid – or anyone, to my knowledge. Au contraire, mes amis, he smiled at all comers and looked pleased when they visited. He readily shook paws with anyone if they requested, but he waited, more-or-less, to be asked, hoping they would.
- He was totally omnivorous, but ate only what was placed in his bowl. No matter how little or how much, he cleaned it up. If you had put a side of beef in there and a dozen profiteroles, he would have gamely completed the task, regardless of the cost to his physique.
- He was a lousy watchdog. He would cheerfully have conspired with any burglar to lead him to our hoard of treasures, have shaken paws with him gladly on the way out, and asked him to call again.
- He pooed. This is a failing of all dogs, made worse in this case by his relaxed attitude about Muttley's and any other dog's presence in our yard and their desire to create more visible territorial markers, which trebled Tracey's cleanup duties. But at least he did it outside, at points remarkably equidistant.
- He had no sense of timing whatsoever in certain matters. When we returned from our annual autumn pilgrimage to Gostwyck chapel, he was so excited that he danced madly in front of the car as we drove in, suddenly realised it was time to release the waters as it were, and left us waiting, motor running, half in the driveway while he did so, right in front of the vehicle. Only a blast from the horn made him aware of the precariousness of his position should the driver have returned in a disagreeable mood.
- Although he sat patiently in the laundry tub when being bathed, he tended to make a beeline for any dusty spot immediately afterwards, defeating one of the purposes of the ablutions.This problem was solved by promising to take him for a walk immediately after his bath. A walk was something of which he was inordinately fond, and as the bathing drew to a close and Tracey towelled him down, he would shiver with anticipation mixed with a hint of impatience.
As he got older, the effort of all this got a bit much. He would bound down from the bath, complete three circuits of anyone in the vicinity, look for his leash, and strain at it going out of the gate like Captain Scott's lead husky before they ate him, and off we would go.
But by a hundred metres up the road he would begin to falter, finally slowing to a crawl and wishing he were on the sled instead of the venerable Antarctic explorer. All his get-up-and-go just ... well ... got-up-and-went. He never learned to pace himself from the moment of leaping down from the bathing to the end of the walk, the conclusion to that exercise being a rather sorry affair.
LAP lap-lap, LAP lap-lap, LAP lap-lap, LAP lap-lap....♬ WORDS fall into RHYME, ♪ ev'ry TIME you are HOLDing me NEAR...♫
He moved off at his usual speed, looking somewhat offended. "Waaa... Whad-I-do?"
"IDIOT dog," said Tracey, "Stoopid, white, woolly SLUG."
"I'm going for a drink of water," Ted responded. "Ciel, mes braves! It's très hot in here."
The story of Soxy the cat is coming. I'm not sure when, but it shouldn't be long.