Sunday, 11 January 2015

Large Household Pests

Remember a few weeks ago when I talked jokingly about the big sook of a dog that lived next door. He's not so much of a laughing matter anymore.

For the last few days we've been finding rather large unpleasant surprises plonked down about the property. One steaming pile of foulness gave my darling a nasty start when he went out to take the washing down off the line, and another gave me a shock when I wandered around to the cherry trees to see whether I'd completely hauled their bounty.

That was bad, but at the time of discovery we didn't know what dog was responsible. The dog next door is large, and so were the piles, but that's not proof of guilt now, is it?

We used a shovel (our old shovel) and dug it deep into the garden. If you come around for a visit and I offer you a blackboy peach beware; who knows what it's sucked those nutrients out of!

Then last night, we caught him in the act. Sneaking around to the back garden. If a dog 30 inches high and weighing 90 pounds can sneak.

My darling gave a shout which made him run back up the drive, and I barreled out the front door to see him off the property altogether.

All of this was pretty instinctive. When something violates your boundaries, even unthinkingly, you want to make sure they're fully expelled.

It was when he stopped running away, and turned to face me, that I realised how big he was.

Big, and growling.

The only advice I've ever taken on board about dogs is don't show fear and stick your finger up their bottom if they bite you and won't let go.

I've not seen the dog's bottom, but I've seen what comes out of it, and that is not an appealing idea.

So I tried to stare him down. I raised my hand and flicked my finger in the direction of his house, and told him in my lowest angry voice, "Go home."

I think the dog misunderstood. That's the best way to describe it. He listened to me, he saw my stance, he knew I meant business, and he tried to go into my home. Through me.

The minute he charged I turned and also tried to go home. We have a flyscreen over the front door so we can leave it open during long summer days and nights. It's an old flyscreen, and the latch on it sometimes locks into position even when you haven't snicked the catch to actually lock it.

When it was clear that the door wasn't going to budge I tried my best to stay dignified and calm, and let out a scream of wordless fear. At any moment I expected the dog to sink his teeth into my tender, fatty, succulent flesh.

My darling has failed to account at all for the three hours (in my estimation) it took him to come to my aid.

The dog didn't bite me in the end. Somewhere between the running and the panic and the curdled scream, he'd given me up as a joke and wandered off to find another lawn to target.

So tonight my darling and I are left with an enduring fear which has us closing both doors fully whenever we hear a strange noise that may or may not be dog related.

It's like an ankle bracelet, but without the fun of committing a crime beforehand.

And I don't want to spoil anything, but in my third novel you can expect to find a mastiff coming to a very, very sticky end.

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