Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Oh, so merry

I've written about Huckleberry before, the dog that was born when I was about seven and whose nature was so lovely that I want to replicate that by naming another dog after him.  Yes, I know that doesn't work.  Doesn't really matter, after all, I don't really expect Ro to strangle a leopard to save someone's life, although he's named after my great-uncle who did just that.

Huck was the only dog I've known who led you where he wanted you to go.  He would take your wrist in his mouth (it never hurt, he never hurt anyone) and take you there.

He was left-pawed and his father, Simon de Montfort, was right-pawed.  So, Simon opened the drawing room door and Huckleberry the dining room door.

Neither of them was in the least needy or dependent.  We were certainly the staff and did what was expected of us.  Simon had an exaggerated sense of dignity - in his life, I never saw him empty his bowels, nor Huck, and they wouldn't "go" when taken for a walk on a lead.  Simon had a huge vocabulary - some words, if we didn't want him to know what we were talking about, we had to say in French, then after he learned that, Spanish and finally spell them out.  The biggest insult was to say "you smell", when he would stalk out of the room in high dudgeon (what does high dudgeon mean, exactly, I wonder?  Is there any other sort of dudgeon?)  Once, he got shut in the downstairs loo and, when we realised and opened the door to let him out, he wouldn't talk to any of us for the rest of the day.

The dogs would all work as a team - if one was shut in a room and couldn't open the door, one outside would push the door open.  Or, if it was latched, Huck would come and bring someone to open it.

The dogs had chair rights.  My father usually managed to hang on to a place on a sofa, but the rest of us usually had to sit on the floor.

I've got a picture upstairs - I'll look it out tomorrow and add it.  It has a young Z in it, from when I was about 10 years old.  It was taken outside, it doesn't include any chairs.

13 comments:

martina said...

If there was a canine Mensa group Huckleberry and Simon definitely would qualify. My dogs know the go piddle command in English and Norwegian. They do not understand the no bark command--in any language.

Dave said...

I have nothing to add.

Wendy said...

I've chuckled at this post. You see, although we didn't have pets when I grew up, and I have not really experienced a dog's personality (except for a brief period early on in my previous marriage when we had 2 dogs - but eventually had to send them to a farm because they were not suited to suburban life), Martin did.

He had a Weimaraner called Mozart and I think he loved that dog more than anybody else in the world. (Sometimes he pats me on the head when he walks past my chair and I think he gets confused about who I actually am). We have a large photo montage of Mozzie hanging in the conservatory.

Martin has regaled me with hilarious tales of Mozzie and his exploits and your old dogs sound just the same. I'd now love to have a dog but as we are about to start a business, and as we travel quite a bit, it isn't feasible. But maybe one day.

Z said...

Sarah, the other day, said that her Tilly has a huge vocabulary - I don't now know how many words Simon knew, but the dogs we had at that time knew everything about us, were highly involved and yet completely independent.

Wendy, being treated like your husband's dog is a huge compliment. I know what you mean about getting a dog - a young one needs so much attention and it isn't fair if you haven't got time.

Wink said...

I once saw Simon open the drawing room door with his paws - he raced in - didn't see me, stood on his hind legs, opened the door and pulled it towards him then walked out again. Happy days!

Christopher said...

An old family friend had at one time a sort of poodle called Keith, short for Keith Prowse. Keith Prowse was a London theatre booking agency whose motto was 'We have the best seats'.

Z said...

There was nothing that Simon was unable to do, if he put his mind to it. And what he didn't do, he only had to look our way and we jumped to attention.

I read an autobiography once, can't remember whose, of someone with two dogs called Keith and Prowse. He or she had the motto at the time down as "You want the best seats - we have them." It's always held true for us - I still tend to sit on the edge of a chair because Tilly used to like to sit behind me. Chester used to drape himself along the back of the sofa, which was rather elegant.

Marion said...

Z, this was a delightful account of the dogs.

Christopher said...

Actually, Z, that's jogged my memory - you're absolutely right. Thank you!

mago said...

Strangle a leopard? With his bare hands? You must be kidding! And now tell me that the leopard's skin is just in front of your fireplace? Did you already write about this story?

Z said...

It's true and I told the tale in June 08. I'm a bit embarrassed to see that I actually used the phrase "fight to the death", but it was.

The entire leopard was stuffed. He still is in his case in the garage. I do want to see if he's in good enough condition to give pride (yeah,I know that's lions) of place on the landing, but we haven't got round to it yet.

Z said...

There are great comments to that post, by the way.

mago said...

Standing in awe I bow my head to the mighty leopard-strangler!