You have never seen anything so pathetic as a certain hellterror puppy this morning, having been yanked unceremoniously from her cozy bed* and thrust out into the cruel world of the back garden where it was raining. And it was, indeed, raining. It was teeming, it was hammering, it was relentless, it was wet. She had a quick pee and then crept back to my feet and crouched there, tail clamped between legs, ears flat to her (increasingly sodden) head, one forefoot delicately and piteously raised. I had no idea hellterrors could do the pathetic thing, at least not to this noble standard. The sad tales of the death of kings that Sid laid on for Kes were nothing to this. Furthermore I thought hellterrors didn’t care about the weather? I was rather looking forward to finally having a dog to go on long wet walks with that didn’t involve dragging my companion or companions along stiff-legged at the furthest extent of their leads and looks of reproach so dense they might be fatal if I were standing badly when they struck. The hellhounds and Southdowner and Nemo and I went for a wet walk once and Nemo enjoyed it. The hellhounds did not, although I think some of the looks of reproach bounced off him that day instead of me.**
Anyway. Pavlova is not a fan of wet weather. And I had to get off to the abbey. I took her out, as above. I took the hellhounds out for a quick hurtle and they were delighted when we turned around and came home as soon as the necessary business was accomplished. Usually I force them to keep walking even when it’s coming down in cats, dogs and stair-rods. I took Pav out again, and exactly the same thing happened as it had the first time. Woe, oh woe. Tragedy. Rain. I put her back in her crate with only a mingy token breakfast because I am mean and horrible and because I dislike cleaning crates*** . . . and tried to brace myself for what I was nonetheless likely to come home to.
Wolfgang and I splashed and forded our way to the abbey but it only took me five hours and forty minutes to find a parking space, so I was early. There were only forty-three of us for sixty-seven bells, but we made a noise.†
Afterward as I was leaving—and this had occurred to me last night—I thought I might just have time to hare across Hampshire and get to the monks in time for the midday prayer. Well, I didn’t.†† And as I was flooring the GO pedal for the second day in a row I was thinking that it really wouldn’t be all that funny if I acquired points on my license as a result of scrambling inappropriately to attend a church service. I arrived in a spray of wet gravel, left poor Wolfgang parked at a very funny angle, and bolted indoors. The service started about ten seconds after I sat down (trying not to breathe audibly).†††
I returned home at a rather more sedate pace, clutching Tintinnabulation’s peace around me like a shawl, greeted hellhounds, opened Pav’s crate and . . . no horrors. Well. So I took her outdoors again. Before I left it was still a little early but by now it was well after time for eliminatory events to have happened. It was also still raining. The performance as before. This time, however, I was wearing my raincoat, and I prepared to wait.
Eventually she crept away from my feet and went and hid under one of the café chairs that live in the little courtyard. There are plants sitting on it, but it’s all openwork, and no real shelter.‡ She put her head out from under the seat occasionally to give me anguished looks.
Fifteen minutes later she slooooooowly Assumed the Position, moving as if she were a hundred and ninety years old and all her bones ached, and . . . produced the MOST ENORMOUS crap. And then raced back to the kitchen door, tail wagging furiously, because NOW FINALLY I would let her back in. And she would get the rest of her breakfast. After I dried her off. She was certainly very wet.
The thing is . . . fifteen minutes is nothing for a stubborn animal. NOTHING. If you’re going to engage a critter you do have to be prepared to win, and if obstinacy is an issue . . . bring your knitting. In this case I’m assuming that biology was on my side: she’s still only a puppy, her control is not perfect, AND SHE REALLY NEEDED TO HAVE A CRAP. But I’d like to think that she’s also just a good-natured hellterror shaped mutant.
* * *
* I’ve been worrying about her this last week because it’s been so cold and poor sad disregarded thing that she is with no crate-mate to curl up with^, mind you she is in the kitchen with the Aga AND is ON the table so well above standard floor draughts^^, she’s got so many blankets it there it’s sometimes hard to find her.
^ Olivia and Southdowner not merely agreed but agreed noisily that no sane person takes on more than one bull terrier puppy at a time.
^^ Yes. I’m starting to worry about the on-the-table part, which involves me lifting her in and out. At not-yet-twenty-pounds this is not an issue, but it will become one soon. I have bizarrely adjusted to not having a kitchen table—as previously observed I tend to sit on a stool by the counter and the Aga, which is keeping my tea hot—and if I have people in we sit in the duh sitting room. Maybe she won’t like it on the floor!+ Maybe she’ll be COLD!
+Maybe I’ll dislike having another chair permanently in the sitting room even more than I dislike the amount of sunlight the crate blocks out perched on the table.
** Clang. Nemo is a tough customer.
*** And her tabletop palace at the cottage is a thundering ratbag to take apart and put back together again.
† And I received a lecture on striking from one of the Very Old Guard whom I am delighted to say I don’t see often, because if it weren’t that it was unsporting to knock little old shaky people down^ I might have been ejected from the ranks of the abbey ringers for violence to a senior member.
^ As well as not really much fun. They tip over too easily.
†† Although I now know how long it does take to get to Tintinnabulation from Forza, which is useful, if alarming, information. Have I mentioned that I put sixty one quids’ worth of petrol in Wolfgang about a week ago and I’m already down to half a tank again? I want a kind of Epcot of Christianity where everything is all shiny and cheerful and right next door and there’s a mini railroad that will take you wherever you want to go while you sit and knit and think Deep Thoughts.
††† I lingered for a while afterward—the chapel stays open—to let the sense that I’d been to a service settle into me. Also, they’d been reading Psalm 22, which is terrifying.
‡ I was thinking, because I am insane, even if I do have only one hellterror puppy, that it would not be that big a deal to put a big tray across the seat so she could crap underneath in the dry if that would make her happy. At least till she gets too tall to fit under the chair seat.
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