I woke up with a thud this morning, quite uncommon for me, and a headache. A black hairy headache with an orange street-hockey ball in front. It was 3:20 a.m., Cooper wanted to play and it was my turn for the ball. Yes, the title is a giveaway. My ‘Grand-dog’, Cooper, is here for a ‘sleep-over’, a misleading term as it turns out. I didn’t feel much in the mood for early morning practice and put my head back down.
‘Whoof, whoof’, feeble plaintive whoofs, the kind that warn you that ‘if you don’t play I’ll pee on the carpet’. Then the assertive ‘WHOOF! ‘I really do need to pee.’
‘Bad word’. I got up and pulled a smelly damp sweater over my head. No he hadn’t peed on the sweater. It got wet just after he first arrived yesterday while I was lying on the couch watching Newcastle v. Everton. Everton won 2-1 but that’s by the way. Cooper arrived at half-time and spent the second half lying on my chest with his shaggy head bobbing in front of my face. I missed the winning goal. Cooper must have seen it quite well. He didn’t cheer or anything so I deduced that he was rooting for Newcastle. The black and white stripes are his colours after all. He doesn’t have stripes, just a small blob of black (that’s nearly all of him) and a patch of white on his chest. But I digress. He stank so bad that as soon as the final whistle blew I shampooed him in the kitchen sink with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo so it wouldn’t sting his beady black eyes. That’s how my sweater got wet. I have other sweaters but I decided to sacrifice just one per sleep-over.
Where was I? Oh yes, so we went downstairs, Cooper leading. I grudgingly opened the front door an inch. A fair night, clear starry sky, minus 8C, wind north-easterly 50kph, snow and ice knee-thick on the ground. I opened it just wide enough for Cooper to squeeze out. He raised his nose and sniffed the air. He was thinking. He thinks very slowly. He can in fact be a bit of a ditherer. I pushed on his backside with my bare foot. Cooper dug his claws into the ceramic tiles. Feeling that he couldn’t get enough purchase he did a sort of half-pike and twist back over my ankle and ran back upstairs.
That seems like days ago now and it is still not mid-day. After I got up at around my usual Sunday time, 7.30, Cooper remained curled up on the floor beside my bed. He lies in on Sundays until ten. When he eventually waddled downstairs and strolled into the kitchen he gave a perfunctory wave of his curled up tail, spread his front paws out, stretched his back and yawned. Then, his callisthenics complete, he was ready for his morning ablutions. After more dithering on the frozen threshold he ran out and washed his face in the snow, made yellow spots here and there; and finally built a dainty monument on a carefully researched foundation half-way down the path to the door. That done to his satisfaction he ate a hearty breakfast of crunchy cereal and a goodly splash of water to recharge his run-down bladder.
So now here we are, still hours until his adoptive mother collects him. How to keep him entertained and amused? I am teaching him to read so that when he has left my care he can pursue self-directed studies and develop an appreciation of those finer aspects of life, beyond bodily functions and primitive sports such as indoor street-hockey. There’s not much time so I decided to start him off with the vowels. (nota bene. vowels rhymes with bowels. It is important to start off with something in which the student has expressed some previous interest).
It’s been an hour now and we are still working on ‘A’. I’ll let you know how he progresses. But now he has turned away yet again from the large card I am holding up and is heading to the door. ‘whoof whoof, …..WHOOF!’