It’s a Dog’s Life by Rolo, the Border Terrier
Whilst many people with a dog enjoy the experience so much they have more than one, I’ve always been an only dog. There are some good reasons for this. ‘Him Indoors’ never wanted a dog in the first place: unhygienic creatures that cost money, shed fur, have disreputable personal habits and pong a bit, whilst, in his rather prejudiced and narrow view, two are even more trouble. ‘Junior Her’ might have persuaded him with every weapon in her armoury many years ago, to get me, but there was no way he was going to fall for those tricks twice. Still, I like to think I’ve made up for this deficiency. I might only be one dog but I make enough trouble for two, which is quite an achievement if you consider it in the right light.
I’ve known a few pairs of Border Terriers over the years and I particularly like it when they have co-ordinated names. So far, I’ve known a Ron and Reg, and a Bonnie and Clyde; their owners were clearly anticipating angelic dogs that keep out of trouble then. I can’t think why criminal names are so popular when us Borders are always so obedient and well-behaved.
Food related names are probably a bit more understandable. The other weekend, ‘Them Indoors’ were out walking when they bumped into a pair of Borders in our village called Branston and Pickle. They should have had a third one and called him Crackers! And then we’ve heard of another Rolo who has a partner called Toffee. It makes me feel hungry just thinking about it.
My book illustrator, Sally C Greenfield, has two Borders, and although their names are not obviously linked, there is an underlying theme; Mayhem and Boudica. I’m sure they’re easy-going, well-behaved dogs really.
Anyway, after many years of enjoying single status, I’ve now got a temporary companion. As I’m a senior dog and don’t need much exercising, ‘Her Indoors’ uses her spare capacity to do some walking for a charity called the Cinnamon Trust, that provides volunteer dog-walkers for elderly or sick owners who cannot walk their own dogs. She’s been walking a Border Terrier called Teddy, and when his owner was suddenly taken into hospital recently, he came to stay with us.
Now Teddy is a nice dog who has very quickly learnt who is in charge in our household. I, of course, expressed my sympathy for his difficult situation by bossing him around, pinching his food and drinking his water. I even occupied his nice big bed for a comfortable, stretched out nap. When he came back and, like one of the three bears, found someone in his bed, he just wagged politely and squeezed himself into my, smaller basket. However, once I saw him settled comfortably, I had a sudden desire to go back to my own bed, so I turned him out.
It’s just as well he’s patient.
There are some advantages in having a younger canine companion. He can do all the energetic stuff like barking at people coming to the door and playing noisy games to entertain ‘Them Indoors’. It also means I can delegate exercising ‘Her Indoors’ which is a bit of relief. At my age I prefer to go out for a leisurely pootle, but she isn’t in the first flush of youth, bless her, and needs all the exercise she can get. I was a bit disappointed however, when we were out for a walk and another dog vocalised his dislike of Teddy for no good reason. Teddy just ignored him – what kind of behaviour is that? I had to step in and give a verbal rebuke of my own, after all, I’ve got my reputation in the village to think of. What’s the point of having an apprentice and having to bark yourself?
Anyway, he must have sensed it, because the next time we met the same dog, he barked back too. He’s catching on fast.
He’s also good in deploying the hungry eyes, a skill that I’ve always prided myself on
Still, we’re beginning to make quite a team. Teddy, like myself, is rather good in the pest control department, so I’m hoping with his youthful paws and my senior cunning, we’ll be a winning combination. He’s also good in deploying the hungry eyes, a skill that I’ve always prided myself on. Whilst I still think I’ve got the edge in wheedling treats out of ‘Them Indoors’, four eyes are definitely better than two so I’m willingly to split the spoils. Maybe being part of a twosome isn’t so bad after all!