Monday, 30 August 2010

Rachel sat unmoved in front of her computer. My eyesight was never good, but the vet’s Receptionist had nails like talons. She tapped them over the desk in a series of scales as she thought this offer over.

“Only if they use ‘Crème de la Mer’ for our massage,” she said.

“They do!” replied Mistress. “And that’s a promise.”

As we left the surgery, my tail dropped between my legs. I knew the picture Mistress was referring to. Waldo Sibthorpe had been an important man and a politician. He went all the way back to Queen Victoria. The painting of him in the sitting room was a family heirloom. Selling it was bad news.

As we walked down the path, a familiar sight came through the gate to meet us. It was the bitch from hell: the terrior who fell somewhere between a dachsy and a poodle.

Although the owner pulled her back, she threw herself at me in lunatic fashion.

“Get off!” I snarled. “Your claws need a good clipping.”

“And your tail got knotted when you were born, monkey face!” the terrior

Mistress could see that I was not in the mood to go quietly. She lifted me without warning and from the safety of her arms, I gave my second giant sneeze of the day, aiming it at the bitch beneath.

“He sounds rather unwell,” said her owner.

“Nothing serious,” Mistress replied.

The terrior slunk away from us. She bared her teeth. I gave one of my devil may care grins. I would eat my whiskers if she didn’t have a good dose of Kennel cough by the next morning.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


I woke up yesterday morning with a hacking cough.

Mistress took me straight to the vet. I don’t mind him. He’s friendly and always gives me a snack after diagnosis.

“Kennel cough, I’m afraid,” the vet said, holding me on his slippery high table. “Keep Tommy away from other dogs during his course of anti-biotics because he’ll be infectious.”

“That might be difficult,” Mistress replied.

I yawned. Mistress would have to come to terms with me being a sick dog. Not that I felt too bad. When we went out into Reception, there was a cat far worse off than me. She sat shivering inside her cage and her orange eyes settled on me like a pair of moons.

I gave a spluttery sneeze which covered the far wall and a big Dalmation print.

“That will be eighty-five pounds, Miss Taylor,” said the Receptionist.

Mistress dropped her head until all you could see was her long mane of hair.

“Haven’t got it this week, Rachel,” she whispered. “But I do have a 19th century painting of one of my ancestors going to auction any day. “The commission will buy us both a day at the Health Club. How about it? I can settle up after that.”

Mistress’s debts were mounting fast. I was going to have to talk to Archie about this. She had entered the world of bribery and corruption.

What the hell was Mistress going to say next? My ears were pricking.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Suddenly, Larry came out onto the front porch and began to sway dangerously from one thin leg to another. A lone paintbrush shot from his pocket and into the Euphorbia.

“Who’s this tall bastard, then?” he shouted. “Are we being invaded by the Secret Police?!”

Mistress put a restraining hand on Larry’s arm.

“Shhhh,” she murmured. “Everything’s alright. Go inside and I’ll join you in a moment.”

I sidled round to Larry’s left trouser leg. Being born with such an acute sense of smell was not always an advantage. Some time during last night, Larry’s trouser leg had been in direct contact with a chamber pot. But I had to show whose side I was on. I gave several loud barks and performed my pirouette routine to create a light hearted interval.

“Get that damn dog away from me!” cried Larry. He’s a dreadful example of a canine and ugly to boot.”

Well I nipped the artist under his trouser leg then. There’s no call for rudeness and I happen to know how valuable I really am. Unlike Larry, my mama made me learn Respect and a whole list of manners.

Larry fell forward, clutching at his ankle. “Ouch!” he screamed.

Then he lost his footing and went headlong into the flower bed.

I looked at Mistress and she looked back at me. She was smiling.

Larry lifted his head.

“Who are you?” he asked Mr Greig, who stood just downwind of him.
“Give me a hand up, will you?”

Larry put out his frail arms. “And get me a bloody drink, you poor sod. You look like you need one, too. After all, it’s not every day you meet a real painter. Take off that revolting coat and come and join me!”