Just under two years ago, I fulfilled one of my foremost life ambitions.
I finally managed to convince my parents to get a dog.
My lifelong quest to obtain a dog has taught me more about perseverance than any other challenge I have endured, including my search for graduate employment, all three levels of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and the time that I attempted to place a plastic screen protector on an ipad without capturing any air bubbles.
My dog is called Jessie.
Jessie is quite a pretty dog.
She has a curly coat and looks a bit like a teddy bear, except she is slightly larger than the average teddy bear and slightly smaller those humungous stuffed bears that you can win at fairgrounds.
She’s also good at nuzzling and wags her tail a lot.
In fact, upon meeting a new person, she often wags her tail so effusively that she momentarily loses control of her rear end.
Occasionally, this loss of control is so severe that her back legs give way under the force of her reverberating arse and she rolls over on her back, helplessly twitching, momentarily disabled by her own immense excitement.
Jessie is also quite a naughty dog.
I don’t know why she is so naughty.
I have no idea.
No idea whatsoever…
My parents often tell me that I need to be more consistent in the way that I discipline the dog.
However, I think that I am incredibly consistent because this happens every single time that I try and discipline the dog.
In the past, I have always respected my parents’ advice but recently I have found it increasingly difficult to do so.
I think this is mostly due to the fact that I have noticed a considerable shift in what they consider to be legitimately interesting conversation since we have had the dog living with us.
I thought that I would entitle the next segment of this post –
– but then thought of approximately 24 other incidents that could also be classified under the same title, so decided to call it –
– but then thought that this title was slightly too dramatic so have settled on –
I am standing in the middle of a field in the middle of a park in the middle of February.
Jessie is off-lead, running around me, having the time of her life.
She is bounding across the field with the grass beneath her paws and the wind in her fur.
In her mouth is a dead squirrel, in a relatively advanced stage of decomposition.
Minutes beforehand, she had located the squirrel’s body amidst the roots of a tree.
At first, she had started to scratch at the ground around the lifeless squirrel, as if she was considering digging a hole in order to provide it with a dignified burial.
However, she soon decided that rolling in its fetid remains was a much more appropriate way in which to honour its passage into the afterlife.
Each motion of her body released more of the squirrel’s smell into the air.
In case you are unfamiliar with the aroma of dead squirrel, I can tell you that it smells a lot like bad.
Pure, concentrated bad.
Bad smell does not bother Jessie.
On the contrary, the fact that she has something disgusting in her mouth means that she is completely and utterly content.
She is completely infatuated with the squirrel.
It is practically the new love of her life.
If left to her own devices, she would happily take the squirrel home and engage in an intimate spooning session with it.
I try anything to entice her to drop the squirrel.
By anything, I mean that I offer her various treats, including the ones shaped like bones, the ones shaped like paw prints and the ones shaped like generic oblongs.
When this fails to capture her attention, I resort to my secret weapon.
I reach into my pocket and take out Squeaky Ball.
Under most circumstances, Squeaky Ball is to Jessie as the One Ring is to Gollum.
The noise that it emits has the ability to exert a hypnotic, totally immersive effect upon her.
I hold Squeaky Ball in front of Jessie.
I squeeze Squeaky Ball.
Jessie ignores Squeaky Ball.
It is at this point that I realise that the situation is dire.
After a few minutes, I am approached by a passing woman.
The woman is wearing a coat.
The coat is white.
It is as if she has taken a teeny tiny brush, dipped it in Daz and painstakingly scrubbed any semblance of stains away.
The woman looks at Jessie and then diverts her gaze to me.
– she says, frowning contemplatively as if on the verge of making a profoundly useful comment.
It is only by summoning significant levels of self-control that I manage to keep the above response inside my head.
I smile at the woman and thank her for her insight, before reverting my attention back to Jessie.
I am aghast to see that she is making her way rapidly towards us.
This is because Jessie is under the impression that jumping up and placing her paws on a person’s stomach is an appropriate way to greet them.
I am highly aware of the fact that the woman’s stomach is encased in the white coat whilst Jessie’s paws are caked in mud.
I am relieved, therefore, when she stops about three feet away from the woman.
However, within seconds, my relief disintegrates like toilet paper when it is flushed down the toilet.
Jessie begins to shake her head from side to side.
It is too much for the squirrel.
The force of the violent motion means that it is no longer able to retain its already dubious structural integrity.
Portions of its carcass begin flying off sporadically, momentarily suspended in the atmosphere, before being drawn inexorably to the cleanest object in the immediate vicinity.
It is possible to draw comparisons between what consequentially occurred and that technique that artists use when they chuck paint at a blank canvas.
Except it wasn’t a canvas.
It was a coat.
And it wasn’t paint.
It was dead squirrel viscera.