My sister, Pat, is finally a grandmother. You’d think she’d be ecstatic about it after waiting for so long, but I’m not sure that this is the case right now. I have a fair idea of how my brother-in-law feels about it.
Mention the subject to him and he growls. Of course, ever since that column about the pelican in Miles Cove, in which he was identified as a principal in that whole sorry fiasco, that’s the reaction I get whenever I speak to him about anything.
Pat seems rather unsure when you ask her about it. This is understandable when you take into account the fact that Charley and Porter, her two grand-offspring, have between them eight legs and eight teats.
Pat might get to be a little more positive about the whole thing if she were absolutely sure that these are the only third-generation offspring that will be born into her family. Thing is, she is still holding on to the forlorn hope that one of these times, her daughter Penny, her other daughter Jacqui and Jacqui’s partner Carmelita might show some interest in adding something human to their family.
So far, there is little sign of this happening in any of their lifetimes. Patricia, therefore, vacillates between being excited about Charley and Porter, and making sure there’s enough emotion left over for something that will know their ABCs by the time they’re six years old.
Although we are six hours apart by son’s restrained driving — I, sitting by him in the front of the van, provide the restraint — my daughter Kathy got together with Jacqui and Carmelita and chose the kind of dog they would like to own.
Thus, they had combined knowledge of canines and wisdom to know which kind of canine would serve dog. Charley and Zulu (Kathy’s clown) are of the same breed, originally bred in Africa as hunting dogs. Sound like a good choice for Kathy and Jacqui? Absolutely.
Porter and Charley are the same age. Charley weighs less than 20 pounds; Porter over 40. While Charley is a purebred, out of Africa, the best that can be said for Porter is that his parents are from a good neighborhood, probably somewhere in Newfoundland. He has an anatomical defect in that his stomach is built too close to the road.
The specific defect is in his legs, which are roughly four inches long. So while Charley bounces around with the enthusiasm of a kangaroo on steroids, Porter animals around with all the energy of a slug on Prozac. He’s like an old dog running out of patience with anyone or anything that would require just too much energy. Better to smile and lie down, at peace with the world.
Which is exactly what he does when Charley decides to challenge him — for a bone, or attention or a favourite toy. Forty-pound Porter flops over on his back like a cheap lady of the night and allows 20-pound Charley to have her way with him. Shameful to watch.
But I know how Porter feels. I was lying in bed one morning when our grandkids plus their dog Zulu — from the same litter as Charley — had stayed with us the night before. Suddenly I heard this noise that took me back to the days of the old steam engine locomotive clickety-clacking over the tracks back of our house in St. George’s.
The noise got louder. I couldn’t figure out what it was or where it was coming from. Clearly, there were no trains in the immediate Springdale area. It didn’t at all sound like my neighbour Rick Adams buzzing the houses in our block in his bush plane to announce that he was back from ferrying yet another group of hunters to the Labrador wilderness.
No, it certainly wasn’t Rick. This noise was more like the frantic scratching of some 20-towed monster with nine-inch steel nails trying to get purchase of a floor made of oak barrel staves.
Wait a minute. The hall that leads from the dining room to my study, which in turn is adjacent to our bedroom, is made of hardwood, and that’s a good 40 feet on that part of its length and …
I was still conjecturing when a small shape materialized in the study doorway. Although a good 10 feet from the bed, it was already airborne. An intercontinental ballistic dog was headed for my head with nothing but total devastation on its canine mind.
It landed square on target. Fortunately for me, my arms were under the covers and I was able to yank them so that they took the full atomic force of one African dog named Zulu.
f I did not love my grandchildren, particularly those three? Glorious animal, it would have died a Zulu warrior’s death.
Somewhere in C.B.S. there is a delightful little spot called “Doggie Day Care.”
In case you’re not overly bright, this is a place where you can take your dog for the day if you need some peace and quiet.
I’m sure they have healthful little doggie lunches and little doggie washrooms, not to mention doggies well-stocked library.
No town that has a doggie day care centre can go wrong. If they don’t have it already, I predict before long they’ll have a Doggie 7-11. Then a McDoggie’s. And finally, a DoggieQueen.
Anyway, the girls decided to take their dogs to the day care centre in C.B.S. for the day. When they went back to get them, the report was that Porter made friends easily, but Charley was much more selective.
In fact, she had made only one friend. For some reason, they decided to leave Charley with her one friend for overnight.
When Jacqui went to get Charley the next day, she discovered the African had destroyed the better part of the woman’s chesterfield.
Guess the days of having a friend over for the night are numbered.
Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale.
His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.