The best part of my day begins when my mistress gets home from work.
Her train gets in about half past six and she is through the door about ten minutes later. I jump about a lot and she scratches my ears.
She picks up my lead and we head for the beach. Sometimes we just sit there and look out at the water. I wonder how I can catch one of those birds and she wonders about stuff that human females wonder about.
The next bit is fun also — fish and chips from the shop. I’m not allowed to have any ‘until they cool down’, which seems to take forever.
As it gets dark, we walk slowly home and I’m allowed to sniff anything I like, no matter how long it takes.
“I get yelled at occasionally, but I’m never in any real danger.
I know all the local dogs and I know which ones to avoid; like Masher who lives two streets over.
He’s completely nuts!
It’s not his fault; he never gets walked and eventually the mental strain got to be too much.
They chain him up now because he is such a danger; which just made him worse. On the odd occasion that I head that way, I can hear him a long time before I can see him. He knows I’m coming, especially if the wind is blowing in that direction. He just barks and growls and I think that if he got loose, he would surely kill me. I feel sorry for him, but he scares the shit out of me; not that I show it; show weakness and you are dead meat.”
Between now and the 19th of December you can go (or send a friend) to SMASHWORDS and pre-order RUFUS for half price…… less than a cup of coffee.
Use the coupon code HY83N and RUFUS will be waiting for you on the day.
I sent him off to the printers after two long days of pasting him up. He is available now as a paperback from Blurb (but don’t tell anyone because he is not supposed to be published until the 19th).
I should have the paperbacks (and a hardback with dust cover) in my hands on the 29th.
I’m very excited about this book and I’m hoping that my readers will love it as well. It is a difficult book to categorise because it looks like a children’s book, and they will enjoy it, but it is really meant for adults who are young at heart.
I’ve heard it said that humans don’t understand why we do it; howl at the moon. Worse than that I’ve heard it said that humans think it is cute.
I ask you?
My ears are cute.
FiFi the poodle is cute, but howling at the moon is heaps more serious than that.
Sorry, I got a little bit annoyed thinking about those ‘cute’ comments.
Ask any dog and they will tell you that it is a solidarity thing and a community thing and a dog thing. I can explain some of it, but some of it only makes sense if you are a dog.
It’s a bit like football and humans.
Everyone knows that football makes no sense at all, but humans get very passionate when they watch it and when they talk about it.
Don’t even get me started on Cricket.
What the hell is that about?
Us dogs don’t poke fun at humans for trying to hit a small white ball into a very tiny hole so why do they pick on us.
Dogs know that somewhere in the world a dog is howling at the moon even as we speak.
It ties us all together.
We know that we belong.
My mistress is very good when it comes to the moon.
“Full moon tonight Rufus. How’s your voice? Ready for a good howl?”
“My voice is very good indeed, and yes I am looking forward to it.”
Naturally, I tell her this with my eyes and not my voice, but she knows what I mean. She is very smart, for a human. Her sense of smell is not as good as mine but she sure can cook, and she doesn’t mind sharing.
I particularly like sausage night.
Not too crazy about the mashed potatoes and peas, but the sausages are excellent, and she doesn’t mind how long I lick the bowl. Sometimes I can lick the bowl clean into another room. Sometimes I do it just because it makes her laugh.
I love to hear her laugh.
It’s heaps better than when she cries.
I don’t know what to do when she cries.
Mostly, I just stay close by and wait until she is feeling better.
As I said, laughter is much better.
If George Orwell had not saved Patrick’s great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Patrick wouldn’t be here.
I’ve seen the photograph.
In the background of that photograph, Hemingway is standing and talking to some other soldiers. Patrick loves listening to his mistress read Hemingway so he said he would much rather that his ancestor had been saved by Hemingway, but George Orwell is not a bad writer either.
Patrick is very well read.
I say well read, but Patrick can’t actually read he doesn’t need to, he’s a dog.
But he does listen to his mistress when she reads the classics. Fortunately, his mistress loves Hemingway.
Personally I like detective stories. The Thin Man or any story with a dog in it. When I was a pup Aster was my hero.
I like it when my mistress reads stories where the bloke gets the girl.
It’s not just books that Patrick and I enjoy we love old movies as well. Patrick’s mistress loves old black and white movies and Patrick has a favourite; Rin Tin Tin. As I said before Aster is my favourite.
Unlike my other friend Ernie, Patrick has never actually saved anybody, but he says he is prepared to. He keeps himself sharp and he practises every day.
He is quite sure he could tackle a burglar. He has even imagined himself saving a baby from drowning. Patrick is a very good swimmer.
The truth of the matter is that Patrick spends a lot of his days sitting on the rug in front of the fire. Most of his adventures happen inside his head. But there’s nothing wrong with that. My mistress does that every day, that’s how she makes a living. “An imagination is a wonderful thing, Rufus. It can take you anywhere in the world. You can have as many friends as you want and you can be as bad or as good as you want to be. If you want to save the puppies from the burning building you can do it and not even get your fur singed. You can cross the raging river and save the family trapped in their car without actually getting your paws wet. It’s great fun.” My mistress talks to me like that sometimes.
Usually when she’s come up with an idea for a new story.
I can hear the excitement in her voice and I know she’s going to be happy for a little while, at least until the story is finished.
It’s a whole different story when she’s between ideas. Sometimes she gets very sad.
She sits and stares out the window for hours. On these days, I don’t go for my walks. I stay as close to her as possible, it’s part of my job; I know she needs me. She strokes my fur and I know she feels better. On these days, I try not to bark too much or chase birds.
“You have magical powers Rufus, you always make me feel better.” I like the idea of having magical powers, but really it’s just love.
Maybe love is a magical power.
Patrick’s mistress works in the city and this means that Patrick is on his own for long periods of time. He tries to make the best of it, but he gets very lonely. His mistress usually catches the same train home every night and Patrick is usually at the station waiting for her. Fortunately, the station master is very kind, he likes dogs. If Patrick’s mistress’s train is late, he gives Patrick a snack and lets him sit in his warm office until the train arrives. Trains make a lot of noise and Patrick has to control himself so that he is not frightened. His love for his mistress is greater than his fear of the train.
Dogs have excellent hearing so Patrick can hear the train coming when it is a long way away. The station master is always impressed that Patrick knows when the train is coming. He opens the door to his office even though the train isn’t due for several minutes.
When his mistress gets off the train Patrick runs to meet her. He is very excited but he knows that he is not allowed to jump on her. He really wants to jump on her, but instead he just spins around in circles.
Patrick’s mistress always makes a big fuss of him when she first sees him.
In the winter, they walk straight home, but in the summer they often stop at the cafe in the village and have a cup of tea. The shopkeeper won’t let Patrick come inside so his mistress sits outside at the little table.
This is one of Patrick’s favourite things.
His mistress calls him a Cafe dog. He’s not sure what that means, but he thinks it has something to do with the cups of tea.
Sometimes other people walk past with their dogs and Patrick would very much like to bark at them. Just to let them know to keep their distance, but he knows that his mistress does not like him to do that, so he just growls under his breath. The other dogs get the message either way. When Patrick’s mistress goes on holidays she takes Patrick with her.
Their favourite place to holiday is by the seaside, which is strange because we live very close to the ocean. Patrick explains it this way, “My mistress likes to look at different bits of the ocean, not just the bit where we live.” I guess that makes sense, but I stopped trying to understand humans a long time ago. These days I just go with the flow, it’s simpler that way.
Patrick has an interesting collection of bones and he sometimes shares one with me, which is very kind because most dogs will not share a bone, but then again Patrick is not most dogs, he’s a friend of mine.
I told you a little bit about Ernie and his mistress and her boyfriends, but I don’t think I told you about the boyfriend that had the aeroplane.
He had been a flyer during the war and when he got back home no one saw him for a long time. He lived by himself in the hills near Tecoma.
After a little while, people noticed that he had begun to fly again. His uncle had died and left him an inheritance. He had been living on that money, but now he decided to spend some of it on an aeroplane. As he put it, “I’m not much good at anything else so I might as well do the thing that I’m good at.”
Ernie didn’t understand what he meant by that, but he did like that aeroplane, and for a little while the flyer and his mistress were happy together.
The aeroplane didn’t have a top on it, it was a lot like riding in a convertible except that you were up in the air. Ernie used to rush out to meet the flyer whenever he landed in the fields near their house. On a beautiful still sunny day and Ernie heard the magic words, “Let’s take Ernie with us.” These were the words that he had longed to hear.
Wind in his hair and bugs up is his nose.
The boyfriend picked him up and sat him on his mistress’s lap.
Takeoff was exhilarating.
Once they were in the air Ernie could see for a very long way. The world looked very different from up there. They stayed in the air for what seemed to Ernie to be a very long time. It was great fun but as they say, what goes up must come down and as the plane headed for the field Ernie waited for the bump.
It was all over way too quickly.
Ernie jumped out of the plane as soon as it stopped moving.
He ran around in circles, he couldn’t help himself.
He also did a great deal of barking.
The plane made a great deal of noise, which hurt Ernie’s ears, and being hit in the face with bugs wasn’t much fun, but all in all it had been a magnificent experience.
At least that’s the way Ernie tells.
Personally, I like to keep my four paws on the ground, but that’s me.
If God had wanted small black furry dogs to fly he would’ve given them wings.
He didn’t, so I’m staying right here on the ground.