It’s teeming down rain here, cats, dogs, budgerigars, moose, tarantulas, snow leopards, naked mole rats, other creatures hitherto unknown to humankind, hammering against the windows & thundering on the roof, & in fact it has been teeming down here for days, in fact days & days, which is very embarrassing because I like to say that northeast Scotland is a well-kept secret, we don’t have Scottish weather here. Well sometimes we do. & the GBH* rain isn’t enough, we also have wind that would like to wrap your long uncontrollable hair (I put a stretchy pony-tail thing on it, I did) around your throat & strangle you, or swoop with malicious intent under your extra-long raincoat, which despite its length is nonetheless failing to keep you dry because, you know, walking, your legs keep emerging from the slit in the front below the zipper & the storm flap at the back because legs gallumph out to quite a remarkable degree when you are walking at EXTREME SPEED on account of the eager hairy four-legged Mongol Horde you are trying to keep up with, anyway, the wind ROCKETS up the inside of your coat & attempts lift off to carry you away to Oz. Although the Deadly Desert would look pretty good to me right now.
So I was, you know, pelting [sic]after the Mongol Horde** & we met, coming (perilously) toward us, a little old lady & a little old man.*** The man was carrying a vast & magnificent umbrella, which fascinated me. It was going either to turn inside out & become something that looked like, & was about as useful as, a tent struck by lightning, or it was going to achieve lift off & carry him away to the Deadly Desert†. As we slowed†† to pass, the man said to me disapprovingly, I wouldn’t take a dog out in this weather.†††
Um? What? Fortunately inertia, which is to say Mayhem on Four Legs, was carrying me relentlessly onward, because any further exchange might have been unfortunate. What am I supposed to do, teach him to use a toilet & a treadmill??§ This is the Curse of the Dog Owner. You have a dog, you go out, whatever the flaming-doodah weather.
& once you’re used to it, you may not want to admit it, but your own body would start getting all restless & cranky if you kept it indoors all day. It might even start whining. At least with a dog you have an excuse.§§ & something the size of a Mongol Horde is quite helpful for keeping your own feet on the ground when the wind is trying to rip you sideways. There have been a few times recently when the wind has literally brought me to a standstill—which is also a semi-inadvertent signal that if hairy dog-butt is planted next to standing-still human, another dog biscuit will magically appear. In this case, once the crunching has stopped, I wrap my hand around his collar & he drags us through the bellowing gale. The history books tell you, the Mongol Horde was unstoppable.
* * *
* This is Grievous Bodily Harm in the UK, what the cops charge you with if you beat someone up, not GBH as in American NPR radio stations
** Don’t worry. I will introduce you in the next blog post.
*** I am a little old lady. The term, when I use it, applies to people who walk slower than I do.^ That is most people. There are a lot of little old ladies & gentlemen out there who are forty, fifty years younger than I am.
^ My next dog is going to be a Yorkie.+ Weighs two pounds & has very short legs.
+ No it isn’t.#
# I had one of those conversations you don’t want to think about too hard with a very nice lady who was a neighbour when I first moved into this house. She was a good deal older & littler than I am & she had a Yorkie. She said that her last dog had been a Labrador, that she’d had Labs all her life, but when he died she felt she was too old to get another one. But she found she missed having a dog around so much that she … got a Yorkie. Hers was really a nice little dog, although he objected strongly when the Horde moved in, but I’ve seen bigger guinea pigs. & obviously I am thinking about it or I wouldn’t still be remembering it almost three years later. I’m planning on dying in my sleep at 121~ having gone for a ten-mile sprint with the current monster hounds that afternoon. Oh & it wasn’t raining while we were out there sprinting & the wind was a mild-mannered zephyr.
~ Possibly 127. I like prime numbers. Although being divisible by 11 is also very cool.
† LUCKY HIM.
†† This is an interesting process with the Horde. He will do anything for food^ & to prevent him mugging people he has learned to come RUSHING back to me, smack his butt down & eagerly wait for the dog biscuit. This does mean less collateral damage to innocent passersby, but we get through a lot of dog biscuits. I then hook my hand firmly through his collar & we eeeeeeeease past the other people without the Horde having the opportunity to throw himself on them & search their pockets for dog biscuits. Don’t most people carry dog biscuits in their pockets?^^
^ including licking unknown substances off the pavement, a habit I discourage without notable success+
+ for those of you who may remember the old blog, this makes a startling change. The hellhounds thought food was optional & not terribly interesting, & found the idea of either doing something or stopping doing something because they were offered a dog biscuit demonstrated a puzzling lack of logic on the part of the fool with a biscuit in her hand.
^^ There’s a man well known to all local dog walkers who appears to spend his days cruising the roads around here looking for dogs. When he spots one he slides to a halt beside the human at the other end of the lead, lowers his car window & hands the human a dog biscuit saying, It’s not for you, you know.
I’m kind of grateful he is doing this from a car. If the Horde started receiving dog biscuits from random walkers it would probably be all over for any possibility of human control. As it is I’ve gone up a shirt size wrestling with the Mad Hound of Scotland. No, really. All those articles telling you about aging gracefully that take as a starting point that it’s all about loss & trying to slow the inevitable deterioration of, say, muscle mass? No. Wrong. All you need is a large boisterous dog.
††† Well in weather like this I wouldn’t take an umbrella out.
§ In weather like this it’s an appealing thought but I think it would not end well.
§§ Although the truth is I’ve been keeping myself (relatively) sane by going for long walks most of my life. When things are seriously AAAAAAAUGH I take myself out, whatever the flaming-doodah weather.