Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Regular readers here will remember the tales about my first two dogs that I had many years ago, Shebie and Chips.
They were wonderful dogs; very well trained and always polite in public which meant I very rarely ever had to put them on a lead. All they needed was a hand signal or verbal command and they'd do what ever was asked whether it be sit, wait, fetch, or run. The only thing I never managed to get Chips to stop doing was on the occasion a red setter gave him a 'piggy back' in the middle of the nearby children's playground one Summer's day when the place was packed with mummies, daddies and tiny-tots. I disowned him that day as I knew he'd make his own way back when he'd finished and I didn't fancy facing the irate parents or the red setter's owners that much.
Anyway, every day when I got home from school, being the first person home I'd take them across the road to the park, and every day we'd follow the same routine.
Out of the gate I'd ask both dogs to sit and wait until we were sure there was no oncoming traffic, then when it was all clear I'd tell them to cross the road.
The dogs loved this part of the walk as every day the cat that lived across the road would wait for them. When the cat saw them come out of the gate and wait, it would saunter from where ever it was at the time and wait for them by a tall fence surrounding a neighbour's garden.
When I told the dogs to cross the road, they would run to where the cat was waiting, and the cat would taunt them by scurrying up the fence and jeering at them for being too slow.
After a couple of 'We'll get you next time!' barks from Shebie and Chips and some 'Pthrrrps! from the cat, we'd carry on to the park with both parties content in their routines.
One day however I got home early. The dogs were overjoyed to see me and were all eager to go as soon as I'd changed out of my uniform and was ready to go walkies.
We left the house, went out of the gate and as we waited for the all clear I looked to see where the cat was, but there was no sign.
I thought it was odd but I couldn't keep the dogs waiting for long so I told them to cross the road.
They got to where the cat normally waited, but were disappointed to find that it wasn't there and both stopped to see what to do next to which I said 'carry on to the park'.
As we rounded the corner we saw the cat ambling up the road.
As we were early the cat was surprized to see us and the dogs were also caught unawares and without a plan, so they decided to do what comes naturally to dogs upon espying a cat and gave chase.
Before I got a chance to stop them they all legged it along the road at top speed until the cat veered off into some one's garden and came to a stop in the doorway.
The dogs hurtled into the garden right behind the cat which did the usual thing cats do when confronted with dogs and made itself look big.
As the cat puffed itself up and hissed, the dogs back-peddled to a halt about two feet away from it.
The cat continued to hiss as the dogs stared at it in amazement. They'd never been so close to a cat and had never seen one make itself big and didn't know what to do next and so they both looked to me for advice.
Trying not to laugh I called them to heel and sent them on their way to the park which they both did PDQ.
I apologized to the slowly deflating cat as I walked past and it glowered at me in return.
We didn't see the cat for about a week after that and were very happy when the routine settled back to normal again.
The dogs never chased another cat again though, and I didn't blame them either!