29 Jan 2014

Hestia and Nero

Please check out the artist's website Life Earth Sky
Kathleen Coy is painting 30 sighthounds in 30 days.
Fantastic artist and fantastic project
You know how I love my big Usain Bolt (ie my big black runner) of a dog and everybody laughs at me because I take him out in cold weather in his jacket and snood.

Although the snood is usually shirked off quite early on in the walk.  And usually as he stoops to sniff an interesting pile of dog poop.  The snood's been in the washing.  A lot.

Anyway, you get the picture.  I love him to bits.

The other night Sonshine disappeared out with his group of fellow ne'erdowells to go to Guildford Square to 'stand and chat'.  Or whatever it is that teenaged boys do in the dark on a Monday night.  I don't ask.

Anyway, off he went at half past six.

I let the dog out and washed up the dishes from the evening meal (ok, the dishes from all day, I am but a slattern in the kitchen(.  I locked the back door.

I disappeared upstairs with a glass of water and set to writing my handout for a workshop that I am running this weekend.

Time rushes past and I look up as hailstones the size of gobstoppers batter off the front window and listen to the Siberian wind howling around the door.  It's now half past eight.  I anticipate that the 'standing around and chatting' will be ending soon.

The front doorbell rings. Sonshine is there - fairly soaked to the skin.  Rushes upstairs to get a shower and into his jammies.

He asks a question: 'Where's the dog?'

I stand in the hall and call upstairs 'Neeeeeeerooooooo! Come and get a Bonio!'


I call on him again another couple of times and then dispatch Sonshine to bring him down from his basket in my bedroom.  That dog loves his bed.

Sonshine returns empty-handed.

'Has he shut himself in somewhere?'

We call his name and check all the cupboards and eventually here a pathetic tiny bark.

'Oh no - he's shut in with his food bag!'exclaims Sonshine.  I weakly anticipate the number of poop bags I will need to take on tomorrows walk.  But....then the penny drops.

I never let the dog back in at half past six.

Reader, I opened the back door to see my big black dog soaking wet, frozen and so cold that he could barely get up the back steps into the kitchen.

I am a bad person.

Cut to today.  Nero is none the worse for his sojourn in the cold, wet, January gulag garden and we are out in the woods. We are currently experimenting with 'trust'.

I'll never trust him enough to let him run off the lead, but I am experimenting by tucking his lead into his jacket.  He's not under my control, but he THINKS he is.  Mostly he walks brilliantly.  I deftly pick up his lead whenever another dog hoves into view.  And I've established that he's not interested in pigeons.

We are walking back home, along a broad flat stretch of path that runs behind an amazing old Victorian house.  The edges of the path are stacked with fallen branches and piles of leaves.  Nero has stopped for a pee.  I decide to keep on walking and not look back.  Will he run off or catch me up?

Reader, there was a sound like the Charge of the Light Brigade and a big black dog in a red jacket whizzed past me - just a blur of smiling face, legs and jacket.  And disappeared round the corner at the end of the path. DISAPPEARED.

I called his name.  A lot. There was no way on earth I was ever going to catch him.  I started running. In wellies, this is no mean achievement.  And lo! Padding back towards me round the corner is Nero! Tail wagging.  I can almost hear what's going on inside his small, gleaming black head.

'Shut me out in the garden again and next time I WILL NOT COME BACK,'

We may postpone our 'trust' exercises until my heart-rate has returned to normal.


  1. Treats. Always have treats in your pocket - give him one when he comes back :) Also helps with making doggie friends when you are out :)

  2. yes treats and that high pitched doggie call reserved for pets....... I walk my friend's whippet, Olive, usually on Mondays and am always terrified she will make a bolt for it ........despite my pockets full of chews!!x

  3. Maybe that will work with Tarterus?

  4. I wish I could find the courage to let my Ellie (Boston terrier/pug mix, officially known as a Bugg) run off leash, but terrified she'll take off into the wild blue yonder, never to be seen again. Agree with Vivianne.....carry treats. Poor Nero. Having been shut out on a cold winters night by my mother, at the ripe old age of 8, I feel his pain. I think she was perimenopausal.

  5. Or he just sniffed something really fun up ahead... Come on, he's not Einstein, nor even Forrest Gump! *runs for cover from enraged dog-owners*


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