The Hottest Bitch on the Block.

She’s slim, sleek and blonde, with dreamy chocolate eyes. She shakes her booty with carefully calculated charm, and flicks her golden mane provocatively at any males within spitting distance. Her raw, animal whimper reduces them to quivering, libidinous heaps of testosterone. Her ears prick up and her snout trembles at the mere mention of the unmentionable. Meet Smelly Dog, the hottest bitch on the block.

People usually congratulate us on Smelly Dog’s behaviour. She walks at our heel without a lead, and politely sits and waits until we tell her it’s safe to cross the road. She gives her paw, rolls on demand, and doesn’t rip your fingers off if you offer her a morsel of cheese. But when Herr Hormone gets in on the act, Smelly Dog transforms into a she-wolf. A diabolical dervish with her butt on fire. Nymphodog.

Smelly Dog, the hottest bitch on the block. Forget the wining and dining, kiddo. This girl means business.

Smelly Dog, the hottest bitch on the block. Forget the wining and dining, kiddo. This girl means business.

As Lily Allen sang recently, it’s hard out here for a bitch. For ten days now, poor Smelly Dog has been glued to the front door. She has been possessed by a sudden gnawing desire to reproduce, and spends her day whining and making eyes at the line-up of drooling suitors waiting impatiently on the other side of the window. Instinct motivates her every move, and when she hears the door handle creak she will make a break for the door with a determination I would only show if there was a crate of beer and barrel of peanuts waiting for me on the other side.

Although I can’t smell a thing except the usual eau de mongrel, Smelly Dog’s presence  appears to be a glaringly obvious blip on the olfactory radar of the entire canine population within a 10km radius. They have all homed in on my dog’s pheromones and found their way to our home. The neighbour’s overgrown piece of land now has so many highways stampeded through it that I’m almost expecting toll booths manned by poodles to spring up soon. The day is punctuated by angry voices shouting at male dogs who insist on lifting their legs against the neighbours’ cars, garden furniture and pee-drenched gnomes in a bid to leave an olfactory visiting card for the fair maiden.

This situation makes the usually anodyne occupation of walking the dog a highly dangerous activity. It’s akin to walking a fig leaf-clad Scarlett Johansson through a high security prison, with the added complication of being tied to Ms J by a rope. She is driven by the combined hormonal force of 500 sex-deprived nuns, has no intention whatsoever to escape, and drags you into the fray with all the enthusiasm of a shopoholic crossing the threshold of Harvey Nichols on the first day of the summer sales.

Within five minutes of leaving the house, we are surrounded by mutts of all shapes, sizes, colours and race. This appreciative audience drools silently as Smelly Dog squats to do what a girl’s gotta do.  She pulls me at speed down the lane towards a four-legged lone-ranger, and I slalom between piles of dog poo as the gang of admirers behind us inhale the smell of her offerings with all the melancholy lovesickness of spotty teenagers sniffing a rock star’s sweaty T-shirt.

Remember the romantic Lady and the Tramp scene when two dogs share a plate of spaghetti? Well, forget it. It’s all lies. Smelly Dog is a modern girl: she homes in on her man, then calls the shots with remarkable audacity. Last year, we fixed up a few dates with Eros, the real hunk of a Golden Retriever up the road. The poor lad was soon completely overtaken by events – although Smelly Dog didn’t dress up in black leather and whip out (ar hum) a pair of handcuffs, she wasn’t far from it. She was outrageously flirtatious, and the poor beast was laid out flat on the ground like a spent Goliath every evening. But did she finally let him get his evil way? No way, José. Motherhood was not her cup of tea, and nor was arranged marriage. But teasing her suitor was right up her street. Bitch by name, bitch by nature.

When I took her out for her late-night wee yesterday, duly equipped with large stick and my best menacing voice, the amourous sheepdog was still hiding in a bush. He crept out and shyly flicked his ear out of his eye. It was all Smelly Dog needed as a come-on, and she belted up to him, stuffed her snout in his face as a perfunctory greeting, then did a neat 180. To his surprise, she flicked her tail sideways, niftily reversed and stuck her rump in his face. Shocking. No spaghetti dinner, no Italian music. She didn’t even ask what his parents did for a living. NADA. He couldn’t believe his luck. She turned her head, and I swear she winked at him. He jumped at the chance, only to be shooed away by a furious and determined MM.

Life’s a bitch. Ten more days to go.

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FEED ME.

Murphy

Murphy.

Murphy minced his way through the front door, his rubbery legs crisscrossing in a delicate cat walk strut. He sat down at my feet, curled his tail neatly around his butt and stared up at me. A sphinx-like black statue. He meowed delicately – a quiet, meek squeak. His eyes widened, apparently surprised by his pathetic feline performance. He got back up on his paws, stretched lazily and padded around me, rubbing provocatively all around my legs with his black tail stuck up at ninety degrees like a flagpole. Sat down in front of me again. Stared up at me. Then let loose a loud, grating yowl.

FEED ME!

It occurred to me that Murphy doesn’t care much about anything. He can eat stinky cheap cat food at any time of the day or night. He couldn’t give a monkey’s uncle about meal times or his weight. He has no issues with eating week-old leftovers from the kitchen dustbin. He doesn’t care if his bed is covered in hair, and is a nocturnal nomad – he will even swap sleeping places all night without losing his sense of well-being. He rolls in the dust when he feels like it, licks himself clean and starts again. I want to be a cat.

Best of all, he doesn’t care. Nor does he love anyone. No care, no love…. no regrets. No existential dilemmas. No feeling bad about scratching a kid who tried to impose a hug on him. No angst. Just food, sleep and leisure on his own terms. The simplest possible way to exist. We are just the hands who feed him. When he decides. Stroke him. When he decides. He doesn’t have any feelings for us, or for anyone else. I am the cat that walks alone. Feed me, and I will tolerate you. Stop feeding me, and I’ll go elsewhere. He only shows emotion when other animals venture into his territory. Then he renews his vows with the dog and chases the intruder off the property before returning and asking for food.

FEED ME!

Murphy demands again. The yowl has developed into a gravelly and insistent miniature roar that is edged with irritation. I comply. He throws himself at his bowl, and noisily wolfs down his food without the slightest sign of thanks or recognition.  Animal instinct. Then he pads softly into the lounge; curls up in a neat ball on the armchair and transforms into a soft toy. He languorously licks his paws, and inspects me as I open the mail, tut, curse and shred the paper into confetti. His baleful eyes observe me from the depths of a compact black fur ball. Detached and free of emotion. He sniffles and snores as I make phone calls, press stars and hashtags and see my time go by as I wait for a stranger to reply. To give me a solution or to create a new problem.

Murphy’s paws twitch in his sleep. Does he dream? Does he awaken with his stomach flipping over like a greasy egg when he thinks about what lies in wait for him each day? Does he summon up his courage before stretching and stepping out? Does he decide again and again to be a new cat, to stop doing this and start doing that? No, he’s just true to himself. I want to be a cat. Eat. Sleep. Play. Meow.

FEED ME!

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