Are You Still Here, Grandpa?

Fin had a Pekingese dog in her mouth this morning. Vronnie took her for a walk. Vronnie is Jack’s step mum. And a wonderful walker of Finster while the rest of us are in bed. Embarrassing but true.

She came in from her house this morning (roughly ten metres away) while I was writing in bed.. on my new, Christmas present phone. This has become my favourite way of writing – small and casual. I can lie there and finger type. In fact when Vronnie came, I’d just got a message that told me my average phone use was 3 hours and 46 minutes every day last week. Painful but true. I’ve got to turn this reporting thing off.

So while I was lying on my back, Vronnie came round with a lead and whisked Fin off. An hour later they reappeared. She told us about the Pekingese.

‘What’s a Pekingese’ Jack asked.

‘You know, one of those little dogs that looks like a hairy Chihuahua,’ Vronnie said. ‘It just came out of nowhere. Yapping at us. Then, before I could blink, Fin had it in her jaws. She’d pinned it down and her teeth were clamped around its neck.’

We stared at Vronnie, dumbfounded. ‘What did you do Vron?’

Vronnie looked completely nonplussed. Like pulling small dogs out of Fin’s jaws was the the most normal thing in the world to do on a Sunday morning

‘Well, first I convinced her to let it go. Let’s just say that the little dog didn’t waste any time scampering. As we were walking back through the village, we passed a campervan with its door open. A woman popped her head out of the door.

“Have you seen my dog?” she asked.

I thought about the teeth marks probably in its neck and said, “I think so.”’

We all looked down at Fin. She was panting happily on the rug. Not a care in the world. Job well done, thank you.

‘Did the woman freak out?’ I asked.

‘I didn’t exactly give her a chance,’ Vronnie said. ‘Still, she didn’t really have a choice when she just lets her dog run around.’

We whistled in appreciation of this tale. ‘Bet Fin had a fine time.’

Vronnie smiled. ‘You can imagine.’

And she’s right. We can. This is because the older that Fin gets (a healthy seven-years old now), the more she likes to munch on smaller dogs. Dogs her own size don’t provoke the same response – unless they start on her first. Then she’s even more of a shaggy, bare-knuckle fighter dog.

The little dogs though. Geez. Fin used to be pretty good with them – until she became convinced they are a menace/delicious/simple fair game. Very occasionally Fin still wears her friendly hat. In these moments you wouldn’t dream she was such a violence enthusiast – and no way I’m taking for the rap for this. Yes, I threw her outside for a couple of hours when she ate Delphine’s glasses and shouted at her for a couple more. But I mean, come on! Those glasses were Italian. We had to wait weeks for them to be re-made.

No, she’s a true natural I suspect. This is because Fin employs methods of surprise. No barking, no growling, no sign of aggression. Then bam!

’I think,’ I said slowly to Vronnie and Jack, ‘I think Grandpa is inside this dog ‘

They both turned to look at me. I shrugged. ‘He was exactly the same as Fin is. You could never tell which way he’d go. And Fin did spend a lot of time with Grandpa before we went off on Quest. Remember?’

To say that Jack’s dad was larger than life is an understatement. It makes perfect sense then that he’d find his way back to the living world via animal inhabitation. It’s not a new idea, right? You know that red robin who keeps coming to the window? The crow always sitting right above the house on the power line? Or that beautiful butterfly wafting repeatedly on a summer’s day? I always wonder.

Meanwhile, Fin is becoming more unpredictable. She’s enjoying the odd scrap and taking exception to the small, friendly-looking dogs for no apparent reason. God forbid if a dog is yapping at her, then that’s it – she’s a steamroller straight in and bowling it over with her huge teeth/large paws combo. For me that’s enough. It makes me wonder what this dog is going to do next? Pour herself a brandy and cook a lobster for dinner? Grandpa: are you in there?






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