Today's theme at our Writers' Group Meeting was 'A Doggy Tale'.
I thought it was a rotten topic and I just could not think of anything to write. I could not have been more wrong.
There were eleven of us at the meeting. Only two people had no piece to read and there were some excellent pieces and some really good, constructive discussion. I honestly can't remember a meeting when things went better.
For me the best piece was my friend, S's, piece - this was written with apologies to Andrew Marvell using To His Coy Mistress as a framework and calling it 'To Her Tardy Labrador'. It was excellent stuff - and there were plenty of other pieces which were so well done.
I give you my piece here - not up to my usual standard I felt.
When I listen to my human owners talking it always amuses me to hear them discussing me with their friends - how I am not as clever
as their previous dog, how daft dogs can be, or how I am always on the wrong side of the door.
Well, let me tell you dear readers, that I am a much more capable dog than they give me credit for. The only thing that I lack (and I have found this out from listening to so-called learned conversations between my owner and his friend) seems to be a thumb. If I had a thumb apparently there are so many things I would have been able to achieve - like writing this for example.
But that does not mean it is all bad news. I can't read aloud (although you would be amazed how much I have learned to read from lying on the settee next to my owner when he reads bedtime stories to his children), I can't speak 'human', I can't write. But there is one way in which I can beat all humans a thousand times over; one way in which my head can become full of incredible information that is a totally closed book to any human and always will be. And that is through my nose.
My favourite food is cheese - Wensleydale, Cheddar, even a bit of Blue Stilton at a pinch - my mouth is watering at the very thought. Every Tuesday morning my owner visits the Supermarket and stocks up on the week's supplies. This includes my dog tins, my biscuits and - most important of all - a new batch of cheese for their fridge.
I know to a rind exactly how much cheese is left in the fridge and if I sit and stare at the fridge door when my female owner is around, she sometimes takes pity on me and gives me a bit. So this has become my morning habit.
On Tuesday morning last week as I went into the kitchen to take up position, there was another, stronger smelll. There was no mistaking what it was - it was mouse! Now dog versus mouse in the battle for cheese is no contest. Cheese baits the trap and I have learned from bitter experience that once a trap is set there is no way in which I can retrieve the cheese.
So, here is my ploy. First of all, tell the farm cat and get him into position. Secondly divert attention from the door as she comes out to get into the car to go to the Supermarket (I do this by barking at the barn door so that she thinks something is amiss). With any luck all this commotion will make her forget to lock the back door.
Once she had driven off it was easy to open the kitchen door (oh yes, that kind of thing is a doddle) and let in the cat. I did the sniffing around, the cat did the stalking and in no time at all the mouse was up and running, the cat was down and pouncing, and it was all over. Job done and no-one any the wiser.
By the time my owner came back, boxes ready to be unpacked , I was sitting on the back step guarding the unlocked door. Butter would not have melted in my mouth as I smiled to myself and heard her say:
"Oh, you good dog. I forgot to lock the door and here you are guarding it for me. I'll go and get you a piece of cheese".
We're not daft us dogs. We might be short in the thumb department, but by golly we make up for it in other ways.
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