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‘A Pure Doggie Tale’

 J.Henry Foster

Gus isn't an ordinary dog, fact is, from the hour of his birth, he was different. For a start Gus was the ugliest of his brothers and sisters –he was the most gluttonous; and from his incessant love of eating, which included my electric razor, he was the biggest, so– when the time came for the litter to depart from the happy abode, it was Gus who remained, and it is Gus that now stands supreme at the entrance to his kennel and wards off any intruder to the household.

Now its been said that a man's best friend is his dog, this may well be, especially when man is eventually left on his own and in the autumn of his years. It was a good idea to have a hobby, and having a Boxer, certainly makes companionship. It is also known that Boxers are notoriously boisterous, and Gus, to phrase a cliché; takes the biscuit, or the box, or the entire shopping basket! If dogs could speak, his tale would enlist the support of any reader, but who could compete with just a few, from this lovable devoted incredible hulk of red and white mischief, who has certainly given my insurance broker, an ulcer!

Gus loves to fetch things, but definitely not little things, like normal dogs. Bits of wood and small balls are small fry. His favourite ball is a 10 pound bowling ball. After spending all day smashing the damn thing against the drive gates, it suddenly disappeared into the road, rolling down the hill and giving the driver of a sports car quite a shock when he discovered it was now jammed under his front wheel arch. Ropes, absolutely delicious, especially when moored to a boat, his tug’o’war play was certainly not appreciated by the two young ladies sunbathing on the deck, only to be covered by spilled ice drinks when the vessel hit the embankment. Prize marrows, leeks, carrots and turnips at the village Horticultural Show, all suffered the same teeth marks as soon as the judge wasn't looking. Nice new tasty rubber tyres found in master's garage. Bottles of washing up liquid, absolutely glorious when punctured and of course Wheelie Bins and towels conveniently dangling from the rotary roundabout in the back garden.

The garden is a wonder, especially for Gus. Spring bulbs are a dead cert for a chew up; and young bushes are soon killed off by his persistent leg lifting. The lawn mower just isn't in the secure part of his memory bank, once it starts, he starts, and heaven forbid if he's not on his check chain, the mower will be attacked as if it were alien from space. The garden Hoover is nothing more than a mechanical monster, it doesn't pick up much now having had its mouth disfigured.

His latest escapade was a brilliant four paw landing on top of a very expensive model aeroplane, he even demanded a pat on the head before the hysterical owner could retrieve the two metre wing span from his frothing jaws. I await a letter from the poor owner. The charming lady on the beach thought that Gus was ‘absolutely adorable’, but soon found that it was fatal when she began to fondle his floppy ears, something moved, and the sudden appearance of a huge Boxer dog shaking a long golden hairpiece along the promenade whilst a bald headed owner tried frantically to cover up a bald headed lady, was to say the least, very embarrassing.

Gus loves children, but who was the cause of the black eye to the youngster who charmed him with Pontefract cakes? Gus loves to jump; if there was a doggie Grand National, he would never rate an outsider. Gates and hedges are a cinch, but to ‘look before you leap’ is mental oblivion. Gus well and truly proved this deduction when he majestically sailed over the sea wall, only to plunge head long into the briny, causing two local fisherman the loss of a good catch and their precious bait. What other dog in the world would wander through a sewerage pit and come bouncing back and invite himself to a Sunday afternoon picnic with complete strangers. Who took the dustman's cap and glove and chewed them to pieces. Who snapped at the electric meter reader, stole his computer pad and buried it in the rear garden. We all know who killed Cock Robin, but I know who killed my Bantam Rooster. I also unravelled the secret of numerous tracts that confettied my driveway when I saw the remains of somebody's underwear on the front gate. The plucky Jehovah's Witness had made his one and only visit.

The telephone manager sent me a charming letter requesting that I refrain from leaving my 'phone off the hook, I am not there when it happens, but Gus is! Have you seen a dog in war paint?, I have! Complete with blue and white stripes, thanks to my neighbours indiscretion when painting his fence.

What other dog in the world has been brought back from the village pub, drunk and disorderly by the local police, having consumed numerous varieties of beer and spirits from the local darts team. What dog in the world would jump into the rear of a hatchback with a yard broom in the centre of his jaws only to be immediately rejected with five loose teeth, and a further two, left at the vets! Who stuck his paw to the carpet with super glue, who persistently sounds the horn on master's car when out shopping. Who howls at Max Bygraves, scarpers at the sound of Des O’Connor, whines at East Enders, licks the screen at Lassie films, growls at Martyn Lewis, slobbers at all the dog food ads and wipes his nose on the screen. Who rattles the windows when he snores. Who clears the room with his flatulence leaving the household in pandemonium and the rush to open every window in the dead of winter. Who drops balls of juicy horse dung on master's bed. Who ate Kermit the frog and stole two prize fish from the garden pond. Who has the courage to bare his remaining teeth to strangers. Who baptised the parson's leg and took advantage of ‘Lucy’ his French poodle. Who upset father Christmas by opening all his presents a week before Christmas. Who stole the garlic from the kitchen and promptly pounced on sleeping mother-in-law, nearly giving her a cardiac arrest. Who ate grand-ma’s corn paste. Who chewed up his pedigree and vaccination certificate then washed it down with two cartons of strawberry yoghurt, a pound of pork sausages, two eggs, half a pound of camembert and the remains of the wander 'phone, all found in the kitchen. Who chewed the remote control at three in the morning, opening the curtains, switching on lights, blazing the house with a midnight movie, and setting off the burglar alarm! What idiot barks at the other dog in the bathroom mirror. Who crept up behind master when in the shower and licked his rear causing him to bump his head on the shelf. Who sneaks biscuits from the cupboard, barks at spiders, snaps at house flies, eats worms, then makes the disgusting habit of up chucking the lot on the living room carpet?

The dustman keeps his distance, the post folk refuse to pass his kennel, but the milkman —Ah!, that's a different story. Fact is, he owns a Boxer bitch, ‘Bess’, and Gus patiently awaits the aroma of her season so he can have it off for hours on end until I get that familiar call….he’s here!...its then that Gus snuggles close against my lap as we head back along the country lanes of Essex, to his kennel and home.

Dor ‘Gorn’it –sure is a dog's life!

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