Thrilling thrilling thrilling news
Never mind KHANS and SHADOWS and outtake stories to PEGASUS* . . . I may FINALLY have found a puppy for Pavlova to play with. I feel as if the pavements are usually crawling with puppies . . . till I brought my clearly dangerous ENGLISH BULL TERRIER puppy home and now of course anyone sees us coming picks up precious Poopsie and runs in the opposite direction.** Of the two puppies I had hoped I kind of had lined up for Pav duty, one of them is, thanks to less than resolute handling by his humans, turning into the brand of terror that gives terrors a bad name to people like me, and the other one . . . is twice Pav’s size and a WIMP. Sigh. He’s apparently heard that bullies inherited the biological niche vacated by sabre-toothed tigers a few millennia ago and is taking no chances.
But TODAY we met . . . well, it’s a Labrador, but it’s a cute Labrador, and not all Labs are ghastly, just most of them,*** and the one these people had before this one was smallish and gentle and looked like a Labrador instead of like a mutant Mack truck. I’ve seen it around a few times previously but never when I had Pavlova with me. But TODAY . . . it was pretty much a joke since we were in the churchyard and couldn’t let them off lead, although Pav at least was on her (baby-length) extending lead which gave her a little space for hucklebutting, which she desperately wanted to do. The woman with the Lab kept saying, she’s so tolerant!, which may be the first time in the history of domesticated canines that that adjective has ever been applied to a bullie, although all it seemed to me was happening was that two puppies were having a heck of a time with each other. The Lab’s a little bigger, but I think she’s also a little younger. I said, hopefully, on parting, that perhaps we could get together in a garden with a gate and let them go for it some time. Oh yes, said the woman.
* * *
* And thank you for all the suggestions, including all you renegades contacting me by email.^ Thank you in particular for adhering to the spirit of the ‘twenty words or less’. Of course as I write this I will hear an email ‘ping’ and when I check on it in the middle of some sentence I can’t think of how to end it will turn out to be a 3500-word outline of PEG II (since I’m obviously having trouble left to myself) including a choice of three possible outtake short stories, each painstakingly described in 500 words per, and including characters I’ve never heard of with odd names like Mary and John and a disco in the Caves.
But it seems to me one of the good things that has come out of the internet is some loss of the bad sort of innocence. I get fewer we-are-twin-souls letters than I used to—and fewer suggestions that if I write up your great idea you’ll split it 60/40 with me—I get the 40%, which is generous really because of course the idea is the hard part and writing it up is just clerical. Or maybe it’s that this blog radiates CRANKY and other, sweeter-natured authors are getting all the undesirables who used to mistake me for a kindly, compassionate human being.^^
^ Which is fine, by the way. So long as you’re not telling me you’re coming to England to discuss the details of your fabulous ideas with me in person and can I put you up?, since you’re short of funds till DreamWorks buys our project, oh, and you’re allergic to dogs.
^^ I do still get the occasional You Arrogant Slime, I Have Never Read Anything So Heinously Self Absorbed as your blog/web site/that interview with Terminal Geek Knitting Magazine and I Will Never Read Any of Your Books Again,+ but I’m getting fewer of them. ++
+ Okay. Whatever, but I think you should get out more. Terminal Geek Knitting is pretty extreme.
++ I’m even getting fewer of the You Should Be Grateful to Your Readers (ie Instead of Making Them Pay for What You Do) to which my response has for some time been, very nice for those of you with a trust fund. But these people have fallen silent probably only because they’re downloading pirate copies. Sigh.
** Every time I’ve had a puppy—since the monster Alsatian of my childhood—I’ve wondered how people with giant-breed puppies cope. Puppies aren’t supposed to go up and down stairs, for example.^ So, you have a Mastiff or a Great Dane and you live at the top of a flight of stairs? On a cul de sac in a small town in Hampshire, England, say. Does this mean I can only have small-to-medium, carryable dogs unless I move house?^^ I really don’t want to think about a flight-long ramp, although Atlas could probably figure one out. And due to the natural frenzy level of a hellterror and the delicate sensibilities of hellhounds and hellgoddess, Pavlova spends a lot of her time crated^^^ and when I let her out I tend first to tuck her under my arm# and get her to the door as quickly as possible just in case the fervour of freedom puts undue pressure on her bladder. Also, the initial joy-of-life hucklebutting is perhaps better worn off outdoors leaping tall buildings at a single bound. When she comes indoors again she is less likely to jump on the kitchen table—but she’s a lot shorter than a Great Dane. There’s less of her to have to repel. And we’re having some altercations about STAYING OFF THE SOFA.
^ Southdowner or Olivia, WHEN CAN PAV FRELLING DO HER OWN STAIRS? She can already get up a few stairs if I don’t nail her fast enough, especially if there’s a hellhound looking down at her from the top, although she still doesn’t like going down stairs and there’s enough of a hesitation for me to nab her.
^^ Or relocate headquarters to Third House.
^^^ Although the crate sits literally between the hellhounds and me, so she’s in the thick of things, and I’m sure there’s great entertainment value in watching me struggle for dominance over my laptop. That could indeed explain a lot. Hellcritters are all exchanging glances that mean ‘She can’t even control her laptop. We certainly don’t have to pay a lot of attention.’+
+ Although having said that . . . I was starting to worry about getting NOWHERE with the walking quietly on loose lead trick, which is one of those necessary bits of training to have a dog that’s nice to have around, and Southdowner suggested a ‘halti’ harness http://www.petplanet.co.uk/product.asp?dept_id=483&pf_id=4454&co=fr&gclid=CKWsseXwrLQCFcbLtAodSWgALg
So yesterday we went into the pet shop and ordered one, and coming away from the pet shop yesterday . . . I got my first few steps of loose lead ‘walk’. Today we shared a few more. YAAAAAAAY. Of course the moment I cancel my order she’ll revert to mini-bull-dozer.
But the thing that absolutely boggles my tiny mind is that she now almost reliably sits AND WAITS TO BE RELEASED while I scatter food on the floor in front of her. We’re still negotiating ‘down’ a bit. She lies down pretty well, but is inclined to slither around on her belly after bits of kibble that may have escaped.
# Yup. I can still do that. But it gets more exciting every day. She has a spine like a bungie cord. She can beat you to death with her tail while wrapping her forelegs around your neck the better to cover your face with kisses.
*** I don’t like terrors either.
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