I walked past Gigi’s, the popular vegan pizzeria. A queue outside as usual. That reminds me. I must get steak for dinner.
I’ll go to the supermarket after I’ve taken Bruno for a walk.
As I open the back door he runs past me. Ears set back. Galloping excitedly through each room of the house. Jumping up at my leg. Writhing with pleasure as I stroke him. It’s true: ‘To his dog, every man is Napoleon*’.
As we leave the house Nando arrived home. ‘We won’t be long’ I called out.
Bruno and I walked up to Enmore Park. His enthusiasm considerably greater than mine.
It was a typical park visit. A game of throw and fetch. Chasing other dogs (him not me). And a bit of mutual bum sniffing (again, him not me).
10 minutes later his time is up. Putting his harness back on is always cute. Lifting his paws to help. Like a child raising their arms, learning how to put on a pullover. I know. Indulge me.
As we’re leaving, Bruno takes a shit on the mulch around a huge fig tree. I’m relieved. Mulch is the perfect surface from which to scoop up shit. A handful insulates the hand from the body-temperature-shit inside the plastic bag. The optimal shit-picking scenario.
Bizarrely a dog owner once called me over to see his dog’s shit. ‘Look’ he said fumbling for his iPhone. ‘It’s standing up!’
Sure enough. The fresh, glistening turd stood proudly upright. Then fell over. Slow motion. Like when a factory chimney is demolished. ‘Damn! I missed it!’ he said. Lowering his iPhone. Dejected.
But I digress.
I bent over to pick up my own dog’s, horizontally placed, shit.
Bruno suddenly bolted. The lead slipping through my fingers. He was gone. In the direction of home. Panic. He’d need to cross the very busy Edgeware Road.
I took off after him calling out. Trying to get him to stop using different tones… annoyed… angry… friendly… warm… pleading.
He paused, turning to look at me. The lead trailing out across the pavement. Instinctively, I leapt forward. Hoping to land on the lead. To stop him going any further.
My ankle twisted. I yelped in pain as I fell. On top of Bruno. He yelped too. Now we were both frightened and injured.
Helplessly, I watched as he ran off again down the street. Towards the busy road.
A kind neighbour
‘Is everything OK?’ A concerned woman appeared at her front gate.
‘I don’t know!’ I squealed honestly from the floor. Legs akimbo. ‘My dog ran off!’
He ran straight out into the road.
My ankle hurt. My knee was bleeding through the fresh rip in my jeans.
I held my breath. Bruno’s canine ancestors must have been watching over him. Almost magically, a gap appeared between the cars. He ran through it.
He was across. Safely.
I limped home to find him sitting on the front step panting. I banged on the door.
Nando had seen us only 10 minutes earlier. Relaxed. Normal. Here we were now, trembling. Gasping for air.
Bruno and I had matching injuries. His leg was bleeding. It must have scraped along the ground when I fell on him.
‘What happened?!’ Nando was perplexed (understandably). ‘Give me a minute. I need to sit down’.
We gave Bruno a full head-to-toe (as they say in 24 Hours In Emergency). The only injury was his knee. We cleaned him up.
Calm returned, I went to buy the steak and something special for Bruno too. His favourite. Chicken Necks.
This (un)shaggy dog story has a happy ending.
Epilogue: we took Bruno to the vet the next morning for a check-up by a professional. He endured The Cone of Shame for 24 hours but was fine otherwise.
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