MY NAME ISN’T “THATDOG” – Deborah Wylde
………… my name is Boss. Sometimes known as Dollop because Grammabrenda says that I sit like a big dollop sometimes. How rude!
Sometimes she even calls me Stumpy because I only have a little short stump that sticks out from my bottom. I can even move it from side to side when I am happy!
I came to live at Grammabrenda’s house five years ago because I had had nowhere to go. I think I heard Grammabrenda say that I couldn’t stay because she wasn’t going to have any more dogs ….. but I am still here, five years on. She is not a bad old bat.
I did not have a great start in life, you name the drug and I have seen it, even probably sold it. The man who owned me is in jail, I think. Don’t know where Jail is but I hope he stays there. I kept hearing that I could have gone to live with some “Travellers” or move to Liverpool but for some reason Grammabrenda kept saying she wouldn’t allow it. Don’t know why.
I had never been to a house like Grammabrenda’s or been allowed such freedom before. When I first got there I ran as quickly as I could into every room to explore. Grammabrenda just looked at me. I think she thought I wasn’t much like their previous dog, Joe. I heard her say that Joe was a sheepdog who was scared of sheep. Big wuus.
I gather that I am a Rottweiler. I know that because I heard a neighbour shout to Pally, the girl who saved me, “What are YOU doing with a Rottweiler?” I didn’t like her tone, it sounded unfriendly.
It was so exciting being taken out on a piece of rope. I arrived so quickly I think noone had time to plan for my arrival. Everyone walked so slowly and I wanted to get everywhere so quickly. There was so much to see. I was so excited!
When I first arrived I tried to visit all the neighbours to say Hello but Grammabrenda said that this was not a very good idea. One day I ran up to the postman to say Hello but he ran away and told tales about me. Grammabrenda received a nasty letter from the Post Office and so I am tied up in the garden now.
One day we went for a walk near the sea, I think it was somewhere called, The Prom. I was keen to make friends but people and dogs weren’t friendly at all. I smiled at them but they just crossed to the other side of the Prom and glared at me. I was disappointed because I had behaved myself so well. Grammabrenda has never taken me to The Prom again.
She always takes me into The Woods near my home now or up onto The Fell. Grammabrenda kept me on a lead for ages and ages, I think she was scared I would run away. Eventually she let me off and I went to play chase with the squirrels and deer. Grammabrenda didn’t like that either because they ran away and I wanted to chase after them. I can be naughty sometimes.
Not all my neighbours are friendly. I think that they think my name is Thatdog. It isn’t my name and I wish they wouldn’t call me that. I am very sensitive and I sense peoples’ moods and vibes. I always know when people don’t like me and it makes me nervous. I do my best not to show it but I can’t help it sometimes. Someone told Grammabrenda that they overhead a grumpy neighbour say “Thatdog will kill a child one day”. Why would I do that? I don’t like that neighbour any more. Grammabrenda says that Grumpy Neighbour is a gossip and has spread nasty things about me.
My neighbour opposite is quite nice. They had a sheepdog that was very grumpy and did actually bite people. I would never do that. But I heard the neighbour say to Grammabrenda that she could get away with it because their dog was cute. But she did say as well that it was a bit unfair. I am cute so why do I still get the dirty looks? That dog sadly died in an accident so they went out and bought a pair of puppies. Hot blondes they were, very cute but oh, so stupid. Talk about dumb blondes! They kept barking at me and I didn’t like it. No, I didn’t fancy them.
One day Pally overheard neighbour say to the dumb blondes “Have you been out killing chickens again?” Why would they want to kill chickens? Grammabrenda lets me look at the chickens but go no nearer. They are funny.
Not long ago I overheard the farmer tell Grammabrenda that the dumb blondes had killed a lot of the Stoppits. I didn’t let on that I had heard but we were both much relieved that the finger wasn’t pointed at me, again.
People have been nicer to me since that day.
I like to watch all that goes on in our neck of the woods. Whenever I see anyone coming or going in the street I tell all the neighbours. Grammabrenda says that I don’t have to tell them everything all of the time.
When the sun is shining Grammabrenda and I go down the garden. She gets out a rug and lies in the sun and I lie under a bush because I get too hot. When Grammabrenda falls asleep, really asleep, which she does a lot, I go and lie beside her to protect her from any strangers who may come near. She never hears me coming and I never make a fuss about it. I like to look after Grammabrenda.
I have my little gang of friends that I run into in the woods sometimes. They are always so nice to me but I like to be left alone after I have said my Hellos. They can be so silly. When I do want to play they get scared, that’s a bit stupid don’t you think?. Grammabrenda says it is because I am so big and strong. One friend keeps trying to put his tongue in my mouth! I don’t like it and keep telling him so, Grammabrenda sticks up for me when that happens.
I am the same with people. When Grammabrenda stops to chat I am happiest when people ignore me. I get scared when they stare and point at me. They don’t understand that I am more scared of them than they are of me. One (nice) man insisted that that wasn’t true …… but he was laughing about it so we didn’t mind.
Well, Grammabrenda has taken me for my evening walk so I am going to bed now. Nothing for me to stay up for. No food going, that is for sure. Grammabrenda is sitting and just staring at a square thing in the corner of the room. I often wonder why, it talks to her but she never talks to it.
Sometimes I wait up and try and find my friend, Wally. Wally comes out when it is very quiet. I don’t think that Grammabrenda likes Wally very much but she says she can’t get rid of him. He is very pretty, a light, tan colour. Wally runs away when I go over to talk to him, much like the woollies. I see him more of him when Grammabrenda has gone to bed.
Hmmm, which of my beds shall I lie on tonight? I think I shall do my usual and get on the bed that I allow Grammabrenda to sleep in. I have fun playing the same game with her every night. I spread myself over as much of her bed as I can and when she comes into the bedroom I close my eyes tight and pretend to be asleep. She asks me to move but I don’t move an eyelid or a muscle until she puts her hand into her “treat pocket”. Then, and only then, will I make enough room for her.
I will stay for a while after she has got into to bed and have a chat but I like my own space so get off and go onto my own bed. I like to keep a piece of Grammabrenda with me so always take with me the socks she has just taken off. I never tear them, I just like them beside me. If I can’t find any socks, I will find a glove that she has worn recently and do the same with that.
I like chatting with Grammabrenda and Pally. They both talk to me a lot. I love it when they rub my chest and under my chin. No one ever treated me like that before. When they come into the house, after I have been home alone, I take their hands into my mouth to show them that I am hugging them. I am not allowed to jump up and give them a real hug but I would really like to do that sometimes.
Grammabrenda has been sad about a dog she read about on that boxy thing with buttons on the front, that sits on the table. Apparently, the dog didn’t look the right type so it was taken away. Grammabrenda said that could have happened to me when the neighbours kept grumbling.
What does the right type look like? What does destroyed mean?
- In praise of my neighbours in an English suburb (janetscraft.wordpress.com)