Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Conversations with our dog

I know many of you are cat lovers. That is fine but when the children were growing up we were a family with dogs. That is one at a time of course as dogs are less human with a mate in the house and two do not let you as get close to them as one alone might.

One such pet, a golden Labrador cross was in fact my elder daughter’s dog but he knew which side his bread was buttered so to speak and deferred to me as he and I were the lone males in the house and we had a joint job of tending to the female members of the household. He had in fact come from a Dog's Home or pound. He was most grateful to have been sprung from prison and settled in very well.

At some stage the dog put away any dog shame and started speaking to us all. Yes, I know it is hard to believe but myself, my wife and the three children all could understand his dogspeak and if anyone was uncertain another member of the family would be able to interpret his utterances. As head of the house he did his best to call me by my name which came out as Mr. Kipper which was his (or my children’s) interpretation of our surname. Soon all the children’s friends knew that my name was Mr. Kipper because that is what the dog called me.

His own given name was Caesar but he answered to almost anything although Bongo was his favourite. He felt that Caesar was used more often in admonishment as in “Oh Caesar, what have you done now?” Such was the case when returning from Church one Easter morn. Caesar, cross that he hadn’t come with us had found his way into our elder daughter’s bedroom and found her stash of Easter eggs and eaten them, silver paper and all. Now this is bad practice for dogs generally as they shouldn’t eat chocolate but being half human the only result was some undesirable foil covered discoveries in the garden.

Caesar was most reluctant to sit on command and did only grudgingly as he realized that might be the only way he would get a treat. The trouble was he got enough treats anyway without such an indignity forced upon him as everyone one of us would melt to his silent pleas that emanated from his eyes.

He was an amazing escape artist and although the back yard was fenced he had sussed out the territory very well and if he knew that his friend Fred the Dalmatian from down the road wanted him to go down the creek together, Caesar would somehow shrink his body or turn his bones into rubber and force his way out under the fence where even a Corgi would be stumped. If I realized quickly enough that an escape had taken place I immediately went to their favourite haunts but I had to be quick as once in the creek tracking invisible prey pretending to be wild dogs or wolves they thought they once were they were impossible to catch. They then wouldn’t return for hours. Fred would say farewell in front of his master’s house and Caesar would plod his weary way back up the hill to our place.

Often he would be too tired even to eat after one of these outings, or perhaps they had both feasted on wild rabbit and would just want to get home for a sleep. This however was not allowed as he was wet and smelly from the creek and would have to endure the indignity of a bath before rejoining the family and to get his desperately needed rest. After a nap he would be rejuvenated and be one of us again.

When we looked after my wife’s parents’ cat all was well as both cat and dog knew each other. As this often happened in winter months both Caesar and Timmy the cat, felt that their place was closest to the fire in the Lounge, the one who got there first chose a spot where the heat was just right. However when the other one also discovered the fire was lit they would push in front to find the warmest spot. The one now shielded from the warmth would then get up take up a position closer to the fire. This would continue until I would hear a shout “Either the cat or the dog are burning, I can smell them”. One of them had clearly got too close to the fire and their fur was singeing and I had to become the fireman.


  1. We have to have cats and dogs. Balance. Bongo made me think of our Grits. Yes, he talked and did many things we will always remember. Thanks.

  2. So funny. My Lily and Perry compete like that too for the best spot. They have found a happy middle ground. Lily owns her corner of the couch and Perry loves his cushion beside me. You are right too; they can speak to us. I know Lily has to go out by her special prance and Perry loves to nibble my toes at 3 a.m. in the morning when he is ready to eat. (Cats are nocturnal you know. ) Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. Nice stories about your Caesar, Robin. I enjoyed reading about him, he seems really nice. I did notice that some times you called him "the dog." We do that a lot, especially when she is doing something that is not particular endearing to us.
    This was really good, guess I'll have to write about the dogs in my life.

  4. This was a wonderful tale of a furry family member, Robin, I loved it! Our pets leave us with such wonderful memories, their antics every bit as creative and entertaining as our children! This story had me smiling all the way thru. I once had a cat who had a friend, another tomcat, that came to the door for him every evening, and they would go out and spend the night doing whatever tomcats do, and then he'd return at daylight to my daughter's window ready to be let back in for a nice day of napping while we were away at work and school. It was such an endearing friendship! I loved the cat and dog competing for the most favored resting spot, our cats here do that same jockeying for position when it comes to being on Papa Bear's lap! :-) Thank you for a story full of smiles, it is obvious that you loved Caesar very much!

  5. so funny.... dog stories are the best... I could see how those eyes could manipulate you to their will!

  6. Great story! I am a cat lover, but I am a dog lover also! I like all animals. I've always wanted a dog, but we couldn't get one because no one wanted to deal with the cats. We were afraid the cats wouldn't enjoy having a dog around and would fight with each other. I've always wanted a dalmatian if I ever got a dog, I would probably get one. Great story about your dog Caesar, I really enjoyed reading it! : )