"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." – Mark Twain, Letter to W D Howells, 4/2/1899

Rufus and Ernie.


Ernie’s mistress is a writer just like mine.

He gets to drive around with her in her car just like I do with my mistress, but the difference being he’s allowed to sit on her lap while she’s driving.

My mistress would never put up with that.

Ernie is one of the few people I can actually talk to about deep stuff. He’s got those serious looking eyes, and he knows stuff. Our lives are remarkably similar. He spends a lot of time waiting for his mistress to stop writing so that they can be together.

It’s exactly the same at my house.

Ernie is much bigger than I am and he is white and doesn’t have much fur. He eats a lot more than I do. He thinks that he can do a much better job of protecting his mistress then I can. I reminded him that size is not everything.

Another thing that we have in common is that our mistresses drive very fast indeed. I like it, but Ernie gets nervous.

It’s fun to spend time with someone who’s mistress does exactly the same thing that yours does. It saves a lot of time, I don’t have to explain everything.

Writers are unusual humans they don’t do the sort of things that other people do. Sometimes they sleep very late and sometimes they work all night. If you are the dog guarding such a person you have to be flexible, you have to be ready for anything. You have to be ready to go at a moments notice, and be prepared to put up with your mistresses friends, some of whom can be quite strange indeed.

Ernie understands these things.

Ernie is very brave but he doesn’t like to talk about it, and it’s not just his size. A year or two back he was riding in his mistresses car when she lost control and skidded off the road. She was knocked unconscious and so was Ernie, but Ernie was the first to regain consciousness. He tried to wake his mistress up. He could smell the blood coming from the wound in her head so he knew it was serious.

He had to decide, would he stay with her or go for help.

His instinct was to stay with her, but he sensed that he needed to get help quickly. He ran as fast as he could until he came across some humans, he tried to make them understand that there was an emergency, but they were the kind of foolish humans who were afraid of dogs. They tried to beat Ernie with a stick.

He continued running until he found some more humans and this time they were much wiser. They understood dogs and they knew that something was wrong. They followed Ernie until he got back to the scene of the accident.

It turned out that his mistress was not badly injured, just knocked unconscious, but if Ernie had not gone for help she might have lain there for a very long time, and that would’ve been bad. When I asked Ernie about his bravery he just said he was doing his job. I knew what he meant. Every dog needs a job and every dog has a job. Ernie and I have the same job, we protect our mistress so that she can get on with her work.

Work is very important to our mistresses. They love to write. In our small way, we help to make that possible.

Ernie doesn’t remember much about his family, but he does remember his mother. He says that she was very wise and in the short time they were together she taught him everything he needed to know about being a dog.

Ernie’s mistress writes romance stories; you know the ones, all kissing and hugging and people falling in love. The stories go on for pages and pages. Humans are very strange when it comes to choosing a mate. Dogs are much smarter. When we decide to choose a mate we choose someone we think will be good with a family. Families are important.

Ernie’s mistress doesn’t have a mate and neither does mine. We’ve talked about this problem and we both agreed that it creates a lot of challenges for us. If they had a mate our job would be easier because there would be someone else to look out for them as well as us. As it is, we have to be on our guard as each new boyfriend comes on the scene. We have to work out if they are safe and if they are good for our mistress.

This is not easy to do.

We can work out most things about humans by just sniffing them a lot. But when it comes to boyfriends this only gives us some of the information. Dogs have a sixth sense when it comes to people, but this is helpful only up to point. The rest of the decision comes from our experience. That’s why puppies are hopeless in this regard. It takes an experienced dog to really look after a human. You have to have seen a bit of life. Humans can be sneaky, particularly male humans. They say one thing and the dog can tell that they mean something different. Sometimes I wonder why it takes my mistress so long to work this out. “Why do I always fall for the bad boys? Why do I always make the same mistakes with men?” These are good questions but I guess humans have a long way to go before they become as smart as dogs and in the meantime my mistress doesn’t have to worry because she’s got me to look out for her.

Ernie says that his mistress’s latest boyfriend seems like a good one. So far he seems to be telling the truth which is a good thing. Ernie says that his mistress is a very bad judge of men so the fact that she seems to have found a good one takes a lot of pressure off him.

I probably won’t see Ernie again for a little while but when we get back together again I know that we will enjoy catching up and it will be fine to find out if his mistress’s latest boyfriend worked out well.

In the meantime I know he will be on his guard.

He’s a good dog, brave, loyal and true.

I’m proud to call him my friend.


One response

  1. Ernie sounds like a real sweetie.


    July 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm

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