To eat or not to eat. That is the question.
Today got off to a very bad start last night. As so often. Never make jokes at your hellcritters’ expense. They’re listening. They are not amused.
Remember I wrote yesterday about the rogue kitchen door at the cottage? How, when the wind is in the right/wrong quarter, it sings and does the can-can, and while its high kicks are pretty persuasive it can’t carry a tune? And the hellhounds feel that kitchen doors should stand quietly and not make a fuss?
The door was a whole chorus line last night. And we’d had a rather exciting time on our final, mmph-o’clock hurtle, when I thought I might very well get airborne, with two hellhounds as wings. And the rain, you know. Lashing.* The one time I really miss my contact lenses is in heavy rain.
So the kitchen door was singing an inappropriate descant to the Cantique de Jean Racine and laughing diabolically between verses.** And hellhounds would not eat their supper. Would. Not. Eat. WOULD. NOT. EAT.
I’ve told you that while it’s perfectly true that I AM A NEUROTIC CONTROL FREAK, it is also true that if the hellhounds miss a meal they won’t want the next one, possibly through the essential perversity of being hellhounds, but I assume there’s something a little rational going on, like that being hungry makes them queasy, and they are dubious about food at best. AND SO YOU’RE JUST NEVER GOING TO EAT AGAIN, IS THAT IT, GUYS? THAT’S THE PLAN?
We tried supper in the crate. We tried supper out of the crate. The standard out-of-the-crate area is by the Aga and the door, however, so that was obviously not on. We tried supper wedged up against the puppy gate by the front door, which was the new default position in fear of the homicidal back door. NOOOOOOO, moaned the hellhounds. THIS IS NOT A SUPPER AREA. WE DO NOT EAT SUPPER IN THIS AREA.
We tried supper upstairs in my office in what I usually call their favourite bed, since they’ll rush up there every chance they get.*** BLASPHEMY! YOU POLLUTE OUR TEMPLE OF PURITY AND PERFECT REST AND PILLOWS OF ACCUMULATED DOG HAIR WITH FOOD? If you want to eat chocolate at your desk, that’s your business. WE DO NOT EAT IN OUR FAVOURITE BED. Pavlova, meanwhile, was trying to eat her crate, because she was DYYYYYYYYYING OF STARVAAAAAAAAATION—you should have thought of that before you ate whatever-it-was that gave you the runs, honeybun.†
Hellhounds didn’t eat last night. Neither did Pavlova, of course.†† I went to bed screaming and beating my breast about having hellcritters who have to eat and won’t, and hellcritters, well, hellcritter, who LONGS to eat and can’t.
. . . Today hellhounds ate their first meal with no hesitation whatsoever. So did Pavlova—of course. Pav is eating today, having got through the night clean. YAAAAAAAAAY.†††
Maybe this is a good omen for tomorrow???
Any of you out there with intercessionary gods to pray to, please ask for mercy tomorrow sometime soon after half-past twelve, for poor old Jean Racine and his Cantique.
* * *
* This was not stopping the half a dozen young lads in t shirts playing silly-buggers with the orange warning cones we seem to have quite a few of in the main street at the moment.^ Why the cones had not been airlifted to Kansas in that wind I’m not sure, but I guarantee they were not meant for the uses our young men were putting them to. I just hope the twits got indoors again before their alcoholic glow wore off and they realised they were freezing to death. And that no orange warning cones were harmed in such a way that is going to come out of the taxpayers’ pocket.
Lively place, the back woods of Hampshire. You have no idea.
^ Possibly marking blocked storm drains of which there also seem to be a generous plenty.
** Remember the talking skull in King Haggard’s castle in THE LAST UNICORN? Like that.
*** This was true before the arrival of the hellterror. Who doesn’t go upstairs. Yet. So long as you grab her fast enough. The usual late-night drill is that the hellhounds get their final short hurtle^ and are sent upstairs while Pavlova and I have a little interaction. If it’s a nice night we may go out first, but we end up at the foot of the stairs next to the Aga (and the door). You take your life in your hands, sitting on the floor with an almost-four-months-old hellterror puppy: they pogostick. They pogostick at you. Again, this is standard puppy behaviour, but hellterrors, as in so many things, have an extreme version.^^
The hellhounds will creep halfway down the stairs to watch the goings-on. Chaos will usually, eventually, come all the way down and permit himself to be pogosticked. Darkness may get as far as the bottom step, if she’s sufficiently occupied throwing herself at Chaos. Eventually Chaos will have had enough of the younger generation, and hurtle back upstairs. Pavlova can’t, actually, get up those stairs, because I’ve been watching closely as she tries, and guessing how many more weeks I have before I have to figure out some puppy-baffling sub-gate that the hellhounds can still get over. Not many.
But three nights ago in some kind of wild rush of adrenaline she did get about halfway up the stairs, perhaps literally swept along by Chaos—I didn’t see her go, but Chaos was now at the top of the stairs and there was a hellterror puppy stuck halfway and becoming aware that she could go neither forward nor back. I rescued her, muttering. But I now grab her collar when silliness is taking place too near the bottom of the stairs.^^^
^ Admiring the antics of the citizenry+ as appropriate.
+ There are appalling numbers of slugs out there. Just by the way.#
# I mean the slime-trail-leaving, garden-eating variety.
^^ And in the morning while I’m waiting for my tea to steep and am sitting dangerously on the floor if I yawn, she will pogostick so she can put her head in my mouth. You did use to get a mouthful of tongue with Hazel, the smallest and most limber of the whippets, who also saw an open mouth as an invitation, but this is the first dog I’ve had who tries to get her entire head in. Maybe there are more advantages to big dogs than I’d considered. No, no, Pavlova, don’t get any ideas! You’re a mini! Maybe I can learn to dislocate my jaw, like a boa constrictor! Maybe you’ll grow out of pogosticking!+
+ Why do I think this is not a good bet?
^^^ She is presently asleep in her crate, for a wonder, instead of under my foot. She has her nose in her upturned food bowl and it’s totally Icanhaz too cute. I don’t dare try to get a photo, though. There’s a blanket over the top of the crate, for ease of dropping down over the front when she is being a pestilential hellterror and I can’t sit down to Quell her right away, so it’s quite dark in there and I’m not going to use the flash, it might wake her up.
† Try containing a hellterror who thinks she’s starving to death. She will eat bedding, furniture, small dustbins, leftover birthday flowers, magazines, rolls of paper towels, dishtowels, shoes and raw Brussels sprouts. Taking her outdoors is a NIGHTMARE.
†† Except for a few chunks out of the side of her crate.
†††Now if only she would crap again at all.
‡ I can’t believe Gordon won’t have found a few extra sopranos for tomorrow . . . I have to believe it, or I won’t get any sleep tonight . . . but I wish we’d had the chirpy email about it. . . .
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