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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My Menagerie.

I really should be working. But up popped this little gem from Daily Prompt in my mail box: “Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If not, why have you opted not to?”

As we didn’t have enough on our plates with a home that is a permanent hard-hat area, two jobs and three children, we decided to add a little spice to the family equation and get some pets. Here’s a quick introduction to our menagerie.

Firstly, meet Smelly Dog. Smelly dog is six years old, and she is my best friend whilst I’m working alone at home. She lies on the ground beside me in the kitchen as I type away, and yelps, snorts, whines, growls and twitches her feet as she chases after what I presume to be animals and bad guys in her sleep. I’d love to be able to see her dreams.

She has a soft spot for cheese of any description, and for some reason thinks that rolling herself copiously in animal dung (the stinkier the better) makes her smell good. We go for long walks together, and when I need to talk, she lies her head on my lap, listens patiently, and doesn’t repeat what I tell her to anyone – not even the cat. She defends us ferociously – at least from a distance. Her radar hearing picks up on footsteps before we can see anyone anywhere near the house.  Once the alarm has been rung, she hides behind us and barks protectively. She has a perfect memory, which makes visiting the vet’s a complicated issue – I generally have to cajole her and usually end up carrying 28 kilogrammes of shaking Golden Retriever into the waiting room.

Water: her favourite hobby.

Water: her favourite hobby.

Now meet Murphy. Murphy is my unlucky black cat. We adopted him when his predecessor decided to tackle a truck, and lost the battle. (As my mother rightly said, with a name like “Calamity”, he was doomed from the start anyway.)

Murphy was found on a petrol pump in a box containing 12 kittens. We adopted him from the vet’s when he was three weeks old, along with a stock of bottles and special kitten formula. He looked like a kind of off-beat gremlin. His gut dragged along the ground, and he belched copiously after each bottle. Needless to say, the kids fell in love with him immediately.

It’s just as well, as Murphy carries his name well. Initially chosen because he is the same colour as MM’s favourite Irish stout, his name is now associated more with Murphy’s law, which dictates that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Now aged seven, Murphy takes on a typical resigned look every time we get near the vet’s. Here are a few picks of his various injuries. He has fallen off the roof, been run over by a car, and his face has exploded (see here for that story).  He has probably cost us more than our three children combined in medical fees.

Murphy doesn’t walk – he prances effeminately along on rubbery legs, delicately placing his paws one in front of each other as if he was the feline equivalent of Claudia Schiffer prowling down the kitty-cat walk. Until this year, Murphy hated being cuddled, except when he asked for attention himself.  I swear that if he was human, he would be an ungrateful, sardonic, self-indulgent and narcissistic teenager complete with gothic complexion and a pierced nose. His no-nonsense, no frills realism struck a chord in me. I related to this cat, as I am very much the same most of the time and am not permanently pawing at my family for cuddles.

The only cats P.F ever liked got killed or disappeared. He saw Murphy as a parasite until he exploded (Murphy, not P.F. P.F does explode from time to time,  but figuratively speaking, not literally). The postapocalyptic Murphy is unrecognisable, asking for cuddles, leaping up on to PF’s lap for cuddles, and sleeping between us on the pillow. Miracles apparently happen – with the help of a large dose of anaesthetic.

Murphy doing his legendary impression of a ready-to-roast chicken.

Murphy doing his legendary impression of a ready-to-roast chicken.

Happily, any doubts about him having died during post-explosion surgery and been replaced by an identical cat at the vets have been dispelled by the fact that he continues to eat too much and redecorate the house: Murphy is bulimic, and chooses a different place to throw up each time.  We are laying our bets on Murphy living to a ripe old age and putting that old adage about 9 lives into disrepute.

Then we have the Daltons, P.F’s babies. They are around three feet long, lie curled up together in a big ball, and don’t do much except eat mice and crap. Oh, and help me get rid of unwanted visitors. “Do come in for a coffee. I just have to feed my snakes first” is a very efficient way of finding out just how much those visitors really want to see you…..

Last and not least, there is Jamie the 3rd. Yes, you got it, his two predecessors were sent down the great white telephone to goldfish heaven. Jamie the First appeared in Little My’s water-glass at her uncle and aunt’s wedding in Paris, when the magician unwittingly chose the only child who was in the middle of moving across France to benefit from his Jesus style “fish and water” act.  Little My was thrilled, and was not going to give up her new friend for all the money in the world. When PF suggested that she freed the little chap into the nearby lake, he was told where he could stick his advice in no uncertain terms by a determined little girl with a trembling lower lip. Jamie survived his trip and finally died six months later in his new home in the South of France. Brigitte Bardot would have been proud of the kid.