Monday, 15 December 2008

The "Awwww Cutie" Factor

Like the X Factor.... only so much better! For a start, the X Factor allegedly relies on talent, and the votes of the Great British Public.

When it comes to books, I rely on making people laugh and the winsome cuddliness of my Danny Dog!

For instance, my avatar in Authonomy is a perfectly lit, atmospheric shot of me and my Danny Dog, I am partially in shadow, while filtered sunlight bathes his adorable furry person, and unfeasibly large ears in a soft hued golden glow of AWWWWWW CUTIE-ness. His bright furred innocence and general loveableness shines brightly out from the centre of the picture, thus generally enhancing my own, more questionable, cute credentials.

Of course, appearances are deceiving. Danny is now four (he was about ten months in that shot), the trail of stuff that he has chewed and destroyed, the curtain rails that he has broken (he swings from the curtains), the couch and chairs that he has laid on.... amount to a trail of damage costing hundreds.

But everyone loves Danny. As an ambassador for dog-hood, he can't be beaten, everyone's his friend, he always wants to play, and he has mastered a range of appealing expressions that make you believe in every little nuance of it. That he is a shameless ham who is fond of pinching your dinner off the plate, will quite happily rifle through your pockets in search of some abandoned something (usually sweets, he's very partial to Softmints in particular!) and thinks absolutely nothing of making cheese face to enduce you to giving up that final treasured bit of brie that you have been hoarding to put on your crackers, makes no never mind.

He's a cocky little devil too (to the extent that I almost considered re-christening him, Stuart). And not adverse to the odd gallivant. A while back, when I was having a new disk cut for his collar, it occurred to me that it might just be useful to put my mobile number on it, just in case. Officially, he is my mother's dog.... but since he is strong enough to fly her like a kite from the end of his lead..... well..... Anyway, the point being, that if she was out wandering around looking for his disobedient little hide, there wouldn't be anyone there to answer the phone. So one morning, I get a ring.... "We've got your dog." Oh. Would you mind taking him back, awfully, because you see I live in East London, and he lives in Leatherhead..... my mother will be most glad to see him.

At least Dan's gallivanting is in the pure spirit of adventure and friend seeking. Years ago, when I was a very small (ahem!) child, my parents bought me a Sealyham terrier as a pet. Which is a little like giving your child a sabre tooth tiger as a pet... but....

Rudi (after the Prince who shot himself and his mistress at Mayerling...don't ask.... you really don't want to know) was a wencher. And a dustbinner. But mostly a wencher. He could get through a knothole in the fence. And it was my job to go and get him back, as we both grew older. By the time I reached sixteen and he was thirteen the joke was starting to wear a little thin. Because he only ever got out at night. I used to pull on my wellies, and my old duffle coat over my nightgown and go hunting for the little devil by torchlight. At two in the morning.

One early morning, when I was feeling old, crabby and really p****d at the world, I found the little horror, forelegs wrapped around the least attractive and least virtuous bitch I have ever seen. He saw me, let go, she scurried away, and he came galloping down the road. Both his ears were flapped inside out, his tongue was hanging all the way out the side of his mouth, his eyes were rolling wildly.... "GET IN THE HOUSE YOU DIRTY LITTLE ****" I screamed at him as he shot past me. Did my disapproval have any effect.... heck as like..... he continued pushing off after the ladies and the contents of next door's dustbin until about the week before he died, aged 20, from presumably a surfeit of roast dinner carcasses and nookie!

So, for all Danny's trail of destruction, his behaviour is easier to deal with, and there won't be anymore embarrassing scenes involving angry dog owners either!

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