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J.Henry Foster

Rocky, my eldest Boxer was barking-well to put it more plainly ,Rocky was bellowing. He never really does bark, I’m sure he has adenoids, anyway, Rocky was certainly letting me know that a stranger was a afoot. Cindy ,his constant companion , my little Boxer bitch, to give her fair dues, was adding her weight to the suspect by alternating with her snappy yap! It was a stranger, complete with pin striped suit and a leather brief case. Now visitors are rare, but visitors who are anxious to proffer open hands to Rocky, are not only rarer but brave!. Well, the visitor was obviously ‘a lover of Boxers’ and after scanning his rather unusual business card and telling me that ” he’d had Boxers for years", lowered all our defences and the gentleman was cordially invited to the kitchen. To be fair, he was a young man, well, no more than say, thirty-five, rather dapper but with a very stylish hairstyle, a cross between a very young Bill Clinton or David Frost. He sat down ,and began to render his obvious talents as a salesman. Rocky sat firmly on masters toe and glared at this strange pungently after-shaved creature who had dared to enter the privacy of his domain. Cindy couldn’t care less and was already back in her bed munching what was left of Rocky's bone.

Now it is not my nature to encourage salesman, but this one was different, he’d actually been invited, well, it’s a long story, but I shall be brief. You see, I am blessed with having lost best part of my hair. This long term divestment was accepted by me as a token of ageing, but, O’no, not to my young son who thought that my tonsorial island could be nicely covered by the illuminating advertisement he had seen in my Sunday newspaper. Making Dad look ten years younger appealed more to his affection than his logic, so, without further ado, he had generously posted off the Free post coupon.

Trying to explain that to a salesman was more embarrassing that my loss of hair! At least, give him credit, the man was understanding, but giving further credit he was determined to make a sale and began to litter the kitchen table with a variety of ingenious hairpieces of all shapes and shades. Rocky began to bellow, after all, as far as he was concerned, they were RAT’S! This man may well have been a lover of Boxers all his life but he never had one like Rocky!

Fortunately I had persevered from Rocky’s first day of rescue from the dog pound, where he had taken a fancy to the tip of my nose, which bled profusely, but now he obeyed my every command and sat once more at my feet whilst the sales talk continued occasionally growling, staring with his blood shot eyes, and dribbling.

Eventually the poor man, now running out of steam began to play his final cards. This was a presentation of photographs of bald-headed gents, including many personalities, before and after a purchase. I wasn’t really impressed and decided it was time to call it a day and end the little gathering. Rocky shivered with apprehension as the tasty morsels were packed back into the briefcase. It was then that the salesman played his trump card. He suddenly transformed his own tonsorial elegance to a gleaming bald pate; there, standing before my eyes was a completely transformed person adding at least twelve years to his age as though he were the picture of Dorian Grey. Naturally this transformation surprised me, but to Rocky this just wasn’t the same man at all. Visitor be blowed, he wasn't having a ruddy illusionist in the house at any price –Boxer lover or not…! Like lightning the hair piece was suddenly between the jaws of Rocky and Cindy, followed by the cries of a very different salesman who’s vocabulary had drastically changed!

Eventually the toupee was rescued from frothy jaws, stringy , wet and dishevelled as though scalped from an Apache brave, and returned to its rightful owner-but to both dogs he was now alien! Briefcase and pin-striped my visitor departed in haste up the driveway, dejected, and topless! Rocky bellowed and Cindy howled, I’m still waiting a letter.

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