Thursday, February 25, 2010


Quite a few moons ago, a friend of mine was running a pub in West Ealing. I visited most days at lunchtime as I was on a computer course in the building adjacent to the pub, and if my friend was short-staffed, she'd often ask me to help out behind the bar for a couple of hours.
Now, not only were most of the customers easy going and fun to be around, but my friend also had a darling little dog called Arthur.
Arthur was a thoroughbred, and fully paid up member of the Kennel Club, but despite the paperwork he looked just like a small, scruffy, mutt, and was absolutely adorable. He was just about a year old at the time, and although he was fully house-broken and knew most of the usual commands, he was sometimes a bit naughty. My friend was forever despairing of the little darling as once again he would trot into the bar, proudly carrying a pair of her knickers, or other items he'd found in the laundry basket.
One week, my friend's cleaner was on holiday and she asked if I could cover for her, and I agreed, and so every morning before 'school', I'd let myself into the pub and get stuck in to getting the place ship-shape and ready for action.
Every morning, Arthur would be ready and waiting to help me, and after he'd ensured there were no crisps, peanuts, or other bar snacks on the floor, he'd assist me by attacking the vacuum cleaner and savaging the mop. If you haven't tried mopping a floor while a small dog is holding on to the mop and growling at it, you've never mopped, trust me.
I would also check that Arthur hadn't brought anything of my friend's down from upstairs, and if I did find another bra or hairbrush or whatever, I'd put it in a safe place, well out of Arthur's reach.
Friday rolled around and I let myself in as usual, only to find Arthur conspicuous by his absence.
I thought it rather odd that he wasn't there to greet me and reckoned he must still be upstairs having a lie in for a change, after all, dogs get tired just the same as humans.
I walked around the pub doing a quick check for anything left behind from the night before, and to my surprize found a pile of torn wrapper from a packet of what (after piecing together the wrapper shreds) had been a packet of Glucose, Energy tablets. Of the energy tablets however, there were no remains.
I was about to get a dustpan and brush, when suddenly, from out of nowhere, I was attacked!
Arthur had launched a direct hit on the back of my head and as I tried to stand up, he knocked me straight back down again.
I called his name in a rather louder voice than normal, and next I knew he'd launched himself at me yet again, this time leaping up and knocking me backwards with a hit from all four tiny paws before carrying on by leaping onto the bar, onto a bar stool, on to a table, and then zooming off in the direction of the kitchen.
All was quiet as I steadied myself but then I heard the patter of tiny paws hurtling towards me once more. This time I was ready for the little sod sweetheart, and as he leapt up towards me I caught him and tried to calm him down.
Big mistake, as he decided that this was a Fun Game, and began barking at me whilst trying to lick my face.
It was then that my friend came downstairs having heard strange noises and Arthur barking, to find me holding Arthur at arm's length as he wriggled and barked like a lunatic.
As soon as Arthur saw his human, he wriggled with all his might and I lost my grip on him, and off he zoomed around the pub, launching himself off the walls and furniture as he went.
I showed my friend the shredded wrapper, and turned out that the packet had been unopened before Arthur stole it. He'd eaten a whole packet of glucose energy tablets with extra Guarana extract, one of which was enough to keep a human awake for several hours.
Twelve of the tablets inside a small dog was enough to keep it awake for almost a week.
Of course, my friend checked with the vet, and was assured that although Arthur was going to be rather bouncier than normal, he'd be fine once the tablets got out of his system, but neither my friend nor Arthur got much spleep for the next few days.
And Arthur never stole strange sweeties again.
Which was good.