Puppy story continued
There is not, in fact, a great deal of story to tell after coming out of the conservatory with a puppy cradled over one arm and saying ‘Happy Christmas’.* Daisy said, “What–?” And had to sit down. And when I handed him over she whispered, “He’s not really mine, is he?”
I didn’t stay very much longer: I was the instigator but it was still a family thing. Zara and I exchanged grins of ‘well done’.** Elder granddaughter was explaining how he was all her idea.*** Younger granddaughter was shrieking to hold him.† Roy was saying the puppy was the best Christmas present Daisy’d ever had–possibly excepting himself, but he wouldn’t swear to it, especially not right now. Daisy had her Christmas present tucked between her shoulder and her cheek, and she was obviously completely blown out of her mind, but you could also see all her old critter instincts kicking in: she was holding him familiarly the way puppies like to be held, and she was muttering about setting up a nice bed for him in the kitchen, and where had she put the old food and water bowls?
And, you know . . . I had hellhounds waiting for me at home. I adore puppies, one look and I’m a slobbering basketcase. I’m the sort of pathetic person who kneels down in the street to talk to strange puppies.† But in truth I’m with southdowner on this one: puppies are darling but dogs are better. I want something I have a relationship with, and you don’t have that with a puppy: it hasn’t been alive long enough yet. The whole world is a puppy’s friend.†††
The two little pointed faces waiting for me at home are even more lovable, somehow, after a few hours with the total profligate fetchingness that is a puppy. ‡ And they were extremely interested in various of my surfaces, but after closely examining these they reverted to revelling in me. I belong to them and they know it.
* * *
* By Christmas he’ll have everyone right where he wants them.
** If happiness were combustible Daisy would have burnt the town down.
*** You will remember she chose the chestnut puppy rather than the primrose.
† Daisy, who has raised several children, was saying firmly, no, in a minute we’ll all sit down together.
†† Telling myself that I’m being a useful element in their socialisation programme. Although I sometimes think the puppies are doing fine and it’s the humans that need the socialisation.
††† The whole world is supposed to be a puppy’s friend. It’s sad when it isn’t.
‡ Or a litter of puppies.
Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.