Some weeks ago, back in the middle of summer, Dad and I were sat outside a café in our local town in rural Somerset. I ordered up a cup of coffee and a jam doughnut and the nice assistant brought Dad a bowl of fresh, cool water as we kicked back in the sun overlooking the church, having a chat with the occasional passer by and generally just rejoicing in the sheer joy of life.
After a while, Dad struck up a conversation with a nice lady on the next table. She had a Boxer. As so often happens, the conversation started with me and how handsome I was. Have you ever noticed how much more open and communicative dog owners are compared to the rest of the non-dog owning population? Seriously. There is just something about a dog that brings out the best in people. Whenever we’re out we’re always stopping to chat to fellow dog owners, complete strangers we’ve never met before in our lives.
And not just dog owners. Would-be dog owners, former dog owners, make believe dog owners, closet dog owners, when I retire I’d love to get a dog dog owners, I’d have a dog if only my mum and dad would let me dog owners, and, especially today, virtual dog owners.
We’re so good for people I can foresee a time when we dogs will be available for free on the NHS!
Anyway, Dad’s enjoying his chat with the Boxer lady and I’m laying down, head slightly tilted back, enjoying the sunshine and trying to get some rays on the underside of my chin because it’s paler than the rest of my face.
Walking towards where we were sitting was a rather attractive young woman, pushing a wheelchair and holding the hand of a young boy of about five. I was partially obscured from their view by the Boxer lady, but underneath the table I could clearly see them as they approached. Well, it was just too much for one so young, wasn’t it. I couldn’t help myself. Coiled like a spring, I waited, and I waited, and just when they got level with me I sat bolt upright, pricked up my ears and flopped out my panting tongue like I was eyeing up a pot of cottage cheese with pineapple chunks in. In an instant, this young boy stopped, pointed, looked up at his mum and shouted, “WOLF”!
Okay. Perhaps you had to be there, but it was funny at the time. Honest. Certainly everyone sat outside the café thought it was funny. They all laughed like drains. As for me, it was just another day at the office so to speak. Not that I’ve ever gotten the hang of this frightening people malarkey. It sounds like a jolly good jape in principle, but there’s something about me that attracts people rather than frightening them away. A lot of it is in the eyes apparently. I’ve heard people say I have soft, non-challenging eyes, which I guess means I still look warm and cuddly despite the fact I’m built like a brick outhouse.
When I was a young pup, people seemed instantly drawn to me. Understandable I suppose because I was little and soft and cuddly and obviously appealing in a normal, floppy-eared, puppy dog sort of way. But I always thought that when I grew up it would be easy to frighten people being that I’m a very dark, hulking great German Shepherd who tips the scales at almost fifty kilos which is a gnat’s whisker under eight stone in old money. But no. I get more people crossing the street to say hello to me now than when I was a Puplet. What’s that all about I constantly ask myself? What has a dog got to do to be scary around here? It’s not that I necessarily want to scare the living daylights out of people, but at least it would be nice to know that I could if the moment took me. Perhaps I just need a little more practice. Grrrh! Grrrh! Grrrh! No, it’s still not working. Note to self: must try harder!