"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

Archive for October, 2015

Book Cover: RUFUS

Rufus cover 1



 04 - Preface Illustration - Vampires and Witches

Sam has a special gift, but he often won’t talk about it.

He can see stuff that others can’t.

I’ve seen him stand at that open doorway and stare at it for a very long time.

When I ask him what he can see, he says, “Nothin’”

I know it’s something, but I have to respect his privacy.

His nose doesn’t twitch the way you would expect it to if he was picking up an aroma and his eyes don’t seem to be looking at any one thing in particular.

It’s as though he is seeing with his mind.

I’ve heard about that sort of thing.

My mistress was talking about it to some of her friends.

Whatever my mistress was talking about, I think Sam has it.

RUFUS the book, is coming.

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I liked her the first time I saw her.

You know how it is, you are drawn to a person.

I’ve been a small black dog all my life and she has been human all her life, but I never held that against her.

I got into the habit of waiting for her to come home. She was a student when I first met her and that means that she spent most days learning about stuff. I do that too, but I don’t have to go away every day to do it, but that’s humans for you, they are a bit strange.

I worked out when she was likely to come home and I waited for her by the front gate.

“What have you been up to today, Rufus? Not getting into any trouble I hope?” She always said the same thing when she saw me, and I usually got a scratch behind my ear, which was nice.

I wanted to tell her all the things I had been doing during the day, the way you do when you meet a friend, but we speak different languages so I just wagged my tail and licked her hand and she seemed to understand. Some humans are smarter than others.

Maddie is one of those ‘smart’ humans, and I don’t just mean that she knows a lot of stuff, which she does. Maddie knows things that other humans don’t. She senses things, a bit like us dogs do, but only better. She doesn’t have to rely on an amazing sense of smell or incredible hearing, she knows things. It’s hard to explain, but I knew it the first time I saw her. She treats me like a person, not a thing. Dogs always know who the special ones are. Well, that’s not strictly true. Some dogs are idiots, like Bozo the wonder Dog. That’s what he called himself and he was a pain in the bum. He didn’t have a clue about what was going on, but he had an opinion on everything. I tried to put up with him. He wasn’t a bad dog, just really annoying, but he loved his master and I guess that counts for something.

Maddie’s special ability might have caused her some problems, but she was lucky because she has good people around her who also sense things and they have guided her on her journey. It must be scary if you are born into a pack where no one wants to help you understand stuff, but that is not Maddie’s problem, she has a strong family who cares for her, and I know how that feels.

My mum taught me heaps of stuff and this helped me when I joined a new pack and I have used all that I learned to look after my mistress.

Most days, I would spend some time playing with Maddie. Sometimes she would throw a ball and I would fetch it, but it didn’t take long before I would get distracted by a bee or something shiny or I would notice a tree that I had not weed on and I’d forget about the game.

“Your attention span is not very long Rufus,” Maddy would say and I would remember that I was supposed to be playing the game and would run back to her. She didn’t seem to mind that I got distracted.

Sometimes, we would just lie around and listen to music [young humans do that a lot] or she would write stuff on her computer and I would watch her, but eventually, it would be time for me to go and I’d stand by the front door and look at her, that way I do, and she would know that I needed to go.

“Where do you come from Rufus? And where do you go every day at this exact time? You don’t wear a watch, but you seem to know exactly what time it is.”

I wanted to tell her, but she didn’t need to know. All she needed to know was that I loved her almost as much as I loved my mistress.

When she opened the door I would rush off down the street, but I always looked back so that she knew that I was saying goodbye and that I would be back the next day.

I always left it as late as possible before I had to go because I enjoyed her company.

My mission now was to get to the railway station before my mistress’s train arrived. If I timed it just right, I could slip past the station master onto the platform and greet my mistress as she came off her train.

The stationmaster is a kind human, but he has a job to do and dogs are not supposed to be on the platform ‘unattended’. These were the words he used and I was never quite sure what they meant, but I knew that he really didn’t mind. A dog can tell when humans are very angry, like the butcher; he really doesn’t like dogs and you don’t need to be a dog to work that one out.

When my mistress gets off the train I try not to jump on her because she doesn’t like it, but sometimes I can’t help myself. She has been away all day and even though I have been having adventures it is not the same as having her home all the time. It is my job to protect her and it makes my job very difficult to do if I cannot see where she is. I get a bit stressed sometimes and I bark a lot, but I cannot help it.

My mistress says that she is planning to leave her job and become a full-time writer.

“It’s time to bite the bullet Rufus. I’m going to do it. Come Christmas, I’m going to quit my job and write stories every day and stay at home with you.” I nearly flipped over backward when I heard her say that. I didn’t know how far away Christmas was, but I could wait. Dogs are very patient.

“You like my stories, don’t you Rufus?” I gave one loud bark. That’s what I do when she reads me one of her stories, I bark once for ‘yes I really liked that one,’ and twice for ‘no I thought that story smelled like a cat’.

Having my mistress at home all the time might make it difficult to see Maddie every day, but I am sure that she will understand.

Maddie is my friend, and friends understand.


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My mistress has many friends. Some of them are male and some are female.

Her favourite female is Charlotte.

She is very well dressed, at least according to my mistress she is.

But more importantly, she has three dogs and a very nice Jaguar sports car.

It’s a bit of a tight fit, but we can all squeeze into her car.

She drives it very fast and we get bounced around a bit, but I don’t mind, my mistress drives like that all the time.

Sometimes I have to hold on with my teeth to avoid being thrown out of the car.

It’s all very exciting, but sometimes my teeth hurt.

Small price to pay, though.

Charlotte’s dogs are very well travelled, and they tell stories of far off towns and cities.

I try to pretend that I’ve been to all of these places, and I have been to some, but not all.

I don’t want to sound like a country dog who never goes anywhere. 

Doona Day

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It only happens every now and then, but when it does I have a special job to do.

My mistress gets sad.

Not because someone died or anything like that, although she does get sad when that happens. This is an unusual kind of sadness and she has a unique way of dealing with it.

“Today Rufus, is a doona day.”

Even though I know she has that unusual sadness I do get a bit excited; though I try not to show it.

A ‘doona day’ means we are going to stay in bed all day.

We might be sleeping or reading or just thinking about stuff, but one thing is for sure, we will be doing it in bed.

Naturally, I have to go outside and have a wee every now and then, and, of course, there is breakfast and dinner, but apart from that we are in bed.

My special job is to stay very close to her until she starts to feel better.

“You have magical powers, Rufus.” I love it when she says that. I don’t actually know what it means, but it is the way that she says it that tells me it is a good thing.

An added bonus comes when my mistress eats in bed; I get to lick up all the crumbs.

If the ‘sads’ hit during the warmer weather I have to stick my head out to cool down a bit, but it has to be very hot for me to come out from under the covers.

One of my special treatments for my mistress is to lick her toes.

She says that it tickles, but she lets me do it all the same. Licking things makes them better, my mum taught me that. It works when my toes get sore and it works on my mistress as well. Some people don’t like being licked and I don’t understand why, but my mistress explains it this way, “People who don’t like being licked are not worth worrying about.” I tend to agree.

After a lot of treatment from me, and lots of snacks and ice cream, my mistress starts to feel better. The house goes back to normal and I can relax, just a bit.

I’m always on guard.

I never know when my mistress will need me to look after her again.