Saturday, 4 September 2010

Dogs of Troy

An illustrated story where the photos are as important as the text. It was a bit of an experiment when I wrote it a couple of years ago.Please let me know what you think. It first appeared on a Writelink blog

Dogs of Troy

At the beginning we were just two of a litter of yellow Labrador puppies. In those days it was a case of ‘dog eat dog’ and ‘survival of the fittest’. We were the pick of the bunch!

We are brother and sister with the names of Sam and Max, or for those who prefer the softer option we will respond to Sammy and Maxie. Initially we were known as the yellow labs of Troy although our neighbours must have considered us to be descendants of The Plague Dogs; it was such fun living on an open housing development. Unfortunately this meant we were often tethered to a stake to stop us wandering off and chasing anything that moved in the vicinity. We were a handsome pair – far more so than Paris and Helen.

It was very difficult to say which was more comfortable; at least the grass was softer, but in the concrete jungle we were able to move around without the rope restricting where we could go.

Inside the house we each had a specially designed box and cage in which to sleep, and for play whenever our owners were out. This soon taught us not to mess upon the floor. It was great to try and get into the others cage and to resist being ousted by its owner. But why is someone else’s bed always softer and warmer than the cold linoleum floor?

Training to get fit and stronger was such fun, but our personal trainers often tired us out. That’s why after a workout we loved to sleep, on the carpet, in the sun watched over by our trainers.

Efforts were made to keep us in with doors blocked so effectively that we could not escape or so they thought.

But if you did it was lonely in that concrete jungle.

Together though once we were loose, we threatened any thing that moved, “Come closer and we pounce.”

We have been taken to all sorts of strange places just to socialise. We were not keen to be kept on leads. Even this could become a game in which we gave points to each other for how many times we could get entangled with legs, each other or pull our owners over. Roller skaters in the park did not like us and shrieked at us to get out of their way – anyone would think that they owned the paths. Apart from the blame we got if there was any damage. Honest, I didn't chew it.

Socialising had its ups and downs; there were even times when a reassuring pat was necessary to quell the fears that arose from other marauding dogs.

Maxi was not at all amused by those Canadian birds that refused to play, swam away or just ‘honked’ at us. However this was better than those big white birds with large flapping wings which didn’t honk but hissed most menacingly.

Consequently there were times when it was much better to stay at home and just snuggle up and dream about a pile of bones.

We went canoeing once and this was to be the start of Sam’s water phobia. He fell in and not knowing how to swim had to be rescued in a panic. We both believe that his fear of going into lakes and ponds, where the water comes above his knees, was started by this episode early in this thing they called socialising.
We were to learn there was not just one mad English woman – the one who looked after our needs and scolded us for our misdeeds. Every now and then the house would get an extra clean and we were warned to be on our best behaviour. The English from across the ‘big pond’ would arrive in one of those noisy machines that fly higher in the sky than any bird. They would take over playing with us; but how we wished ‘he’ wouldn’t sit in our favourite chair. We just had to fight him for it.

When it was hot it was better to spend some time in the shade,butSammy wished that Maxie would be more considerate in where she stuck her grass or did she forget the ‘gr…’?

With ‘her’ from England we had to take our turn in the sun or at ‘her’ knee – much more relaxing than fighting ‘him’!

When ‘he’ was digging in the garden where we weren’t allowed to bury bones, it wasn’t much fun just watching, so we didn't.

Anyway the smell from his gardening shoes was enough to make anyone fall asleep.

There wasn’t always sunny weather. At the time they called winter the ground became very hard and was covered with white stuff that came up to our bellies. And when it rained it rained bucketfuls that made us wet and we were meant to sit still while we were vigorously rubbed with a rough towel - which we were not meant to bite.

When him who was married to our mad English woman got involved in all sorts of projects that were called ‘do it yourself’ there was all sorts of upheaval.

You never knew what was going to happen next. They may have liked parquet flooring but you can’t even settle down to a decent siesta with ‘him’ from across the pond.

Once a year we were given special treats on our birthday. However we felt humiliated by what we had to do. What would they say if they were forced to wear balloons on theirs? We think the mad English woman gets away with it because she can’t find any clothes that match the ruddy things.

The time came when we heard that a move to somewhere in the country was being planned. It was most confusing; what was to happen to us we didn’t really know. Surely they couldn’t leave us here, could they? Now was the time to look appealing.

And just in case one of us had to learn to drive.

When the great day came and we were to leave to go to Oxford – that’s in Michigan and not the famous university across the pond in the country of ‘her’ and ‘him’ (that’s him who we had to fight for the chair) – to make sure we were not forgotten we nipped quickly inside the car as we didn’t think the trash cart would take us both. Anyway the cart driver only knew us as the ‘Yellow Labs of Troy’.

If you have liked our story, you have seen nothing yet! Wait till you get the chance to hear the tale of ‘The Deer Trail Hounds’!


David Robinson said...

This is engaging stuff, Bob, a clever running commentary on the pictures. (I think I've seen it before on the old WL blogs.)

It would make a great children's book but all those colour picutrs would make production expensive.

Bob Scotney said...

David, I wrote this for fun. With so many photos I agree the publishing cost would be prohibitive.

Anna L. Walls said...

Aww - but it's so cute.

Will said...

this struck my heart deeply. truly amazing.

Unknown said...

What a fun journey! They are the cutest of pups and I enjoyed their little adventures...would love to read more.