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Friday, January 09, 2009

Not a friend in the world – shaggy dog tales

Slurping Life

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I drop off my son and daughter to their respective play dates and then drive the little one home after school. The child is a picture of misery. One on one time with mum, is a poor consolation prize. Although I have planned a bumperful of entertainment for him, I know that I have a hard sell ahead of me.

Once inside he collapses like a damp squib on the sofa. Feelings of self worth, anxiety and depression are all closely related deamons. As he slips his fingers into his mouth I can tell that we’re on the edge of the precipice. I sidle up to him and park myself on the carpet so that we’re eye to eye. “I know!” I beam to a listless, glistening eyeball.
“How about we take Thatcher for a walk?” He is horror struck at the thought, rigid as a stick and speechless. More usually he would pogo at high speed in the same spot, fists clenched to his side, spittled with teeth breathing. It’s quite amusing to watch him behave the same way horizontally. “But……but…..but……. I cant be walk a dog.”
“Because……….” It’s an unfair question because we both could probably list several thousand reasons why this is a non starter.
“Let me help you with your shoes and jacket, it’s cold outside.” The reference to the temperature evokes a noise similar to a firecracker. It’s a like a feral cat in a sausage casing when you stick the tail in an outlet. “Come on! It’ll be fun!”
“Fun! Fun? What is dis ting called fun anyways?” It’s one of those things that he still says, although he doesn’t necessarily mean it. It’s more of a habit of protest. If in doubt, say no. It’s a trait common to many.

The transition of dog and child is smoother than I could have hoped. He holds the lead firmly and with a little encouragement has no difficulty ordering Thatcher around. His ambient level of shout, is a perfect match, authoritative, clear, one word commands. Thatcher is obedient when he understands. He appears to understand perfectly.

We make two circuits around the block.

Back inside the garage he pauses whilst I dry off Thatcher’s paws and muzzle. Unusually, he continues to pause, to wait a while instead of diving back into the house and safety.
“Mom!” he shouts.
“Yes dear?”
“He………….Fatcher……..…he is a good dog.”

It’s a statement, not a question.

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