Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Socks and Violence

Many moons ago I had a wonderful doggy called Shebie. She was a 'Borderline Collie' and came to live with me and my parents when she was orphaned aged five weeks old, and with the help of our older dog, Chips, she grew up to be a beautiful, happy, loving and very intelligent young dog.
Over the years her personality shone through and she entertained us all with a variety of tricks and so such as chasing her tail if you pretended to 'wind her up' at the back of the neck (clockwork doggy) and the same trick if she'd had a bath and you said 'Spin Dry!'.
She loved the local playground and although she enjoyed a go on the roundabout, her favourite was the slide, and it wasn't one of these new tiny, low things either. This was a proper slide, about 12 foot high and made out of solid metal with a chute so worn that you shot off the end if you weren't careful, and none of the new-fangled soft stuff to land on either; just good old fashioned concrete to break your limbs fall.
But us kids weren't scared of it, and neither was Shebie. She'd scoot up the steps quick as a wink and sail down the chute with the wind in her fur, again and again and again. If the playground was busy she'd happily take her place in the queue to the delight of the other children who thought she was fabulous, which of course she was.
We found out it wasn't just the slide she could climb, but also ladders. We found that out when some work was being done on the chimney and we heard the workman calling to us that he had a dog up on the roof with him and was it ours?. It was. And he very kindly carried her back down as there wasn't a slide chute for her to use. We had to keep an eye on her whenever there was a ladder about after that in case she went up and couldn't get down again. She had many talents but I doubt she could fly.
Another thing she loved to do was 'Carry something important back from the shop' (the shopkeeper kept an old newspaper handy in case there wasn't anything else for her to carry) and she'd proudly trot along the road with her 'something important' between her teeth, and she'd never, ever chew it or drop it bless her.
She could have played football for England as well (and probably better than some of the team) and her goal keeping skills were excellent. Using the garage doors as the goal, she'd tense herself up ready for whichever way the ball would go, and when the ball was kicked she'd leap towards it with forepaws outstretched and even the boy who played for the local team rarely got a ball past her.
But anyway, onto the point of the story.
Shebie also had a thing about socks, but only if they were on someone's feet. Socks in the laundry pile held no interest for her, and neither did socks of the novelty variety - unless, as I said, they were on someone's feet.
If someone was silly enough to be wearing socks without slippers, Shebie would nonchalantly saunter over and ever so carefully take hold of one of the socks with her teeth. Once she had a hold, the sock was 'Hers' and no amount of trying to persuade her otherwise would work.
Once she had claimed Her Sock, the object of the game was to take it off the foot it was on by means of tugging at it until it came off. If she lost her grip she'd bounce straight back to get another hold and was always incredibly careful not to bite any toes. If anything, it was more of a tickle than a nibble and whoever was wearing the socks would be in fits of giggles and laughter by the time both socks were off.
Anybody staying at the house were warned about Shebie's sock fetish as once the sock was in play, no way would Shebie stop. The only way to not play the game was to wear slippers or go barefoot.
One time I was downstairs getting ready to go out and was about to put my shoes on when I had a sneezing fit which wouldn't stop. Shebie decided that as I had socks on, it was game on, and so I was curled up on the floor, sneezing uncontrollably and holding my sides trying not to laugh as my feet were attacked for about ten minutes. I can laugh about that now, but at the time it was painful.
Anyhoo, one day I had been out with a boy I liked. We weren't going out as boyfriend and girlfriend, but I did like him and wouldn't have said no if he asked me out again.
After we'd been on our date, he very kindly walked me home even though it was miles out of his way and tipping it down with rain. We got back to my place and found my parents at home so I asked if they'd mind the boy staying for a while to dry off and the rain abated a bit.
They didn't mind at all, so I made some tea and the boy and I went and sat in the front room to watch TV for a while.
As our shoes were wet we'd taken them off in the kitchen to dry off a bit along with the coats and so. My socks were also soaked so I took them off and put my slippers on, but with all the making of tea and so, I forgot to tell the boy about Shebie the Wonderdog.
The rain gently fell outside, my parents stayed in the kitchen, and we sat in the sofa, not quite knowing what to talk about while the coats dried.
Chips came into the room and settled down on the other sofa for a snooze, and as we became engrossed in the film that was on, then entered the Shebie.
It was at the same time that the boy picked up enough courage to put his arm around me using the 'stretch and yawn' technique that Shebie went for his socks.
As he hadn't been warned about her, his reaction was to cry out and move his foot away from her asap. Shebie thought 'Wayhey! He wants to play!' and lunged for his sock again.
This made the poor boy panic a bit and he jumped up onto the sofa crying out in shock as Shebie carried on attacking his , or rather 'Her' socks.
I tried to explain and get him to calm down, but was winded by Shebie jumping on me in her efforts to get at him and I started to cough and couldn't stop.
Chips, being woken from his nap by the shouting started to bark as he thought it was a game, which panicked the poor boy even more as you can imagine.
My parents heard the commotion and ran into the front room to find me curled up on one end of the sofa coughing and trying not to laugh, Chips barking for all his worth on the other sofa, and the poor, poor boy trying to climb the wall in his desperate attempt to get away from what he thought was a mad dog trying to possibly kill him for daring to touch her owner, ie: me.
After a few moments, Shebie managed to get one of the socks off, I managed to stop coughing and try to explain about Shebie while my parents tried to stop laughing.
Chips carried on barking as he thought it was great fun, and wagged his tail as the boy finally sat down on the sofa, shaking and very pale, bless him.
I again tried to talk to him but all I could get from him in reply was a shaky nod and a 'Meh'.
My mum managed to get his sock back from Shebie by distracting her with some ham, and once he'd got his shoes and coat on he couldn't get away from the house quickly enough.
For some reason he didn't call me again.
I wonder why... ?
Shebie - fashionista extraordinaire! Shebie, the Wonderdog.