Saturday, July 3, 2021

The New Boy

I GO walking a lot these days. It’s one of these fringe benefits of lockdown, I guess. Pounding the streets, up and down, up and down. I always take the boy with me for company. His name is Pablo. He’s one of those Cavoodle pups. A toy one. He is what they call ‘brindle.’ His colour, I mean. A lot of black, some white, and this lovely coffee colour around the edges. He loves lockdown. He gets to have us with him a lot of the day, especially with remote learning. And we love having him around. So it’s an all ‘round benefit for me, my wife, the girls, and as I said this new wonderful boy we have had for a few months. The other day we left early one morning, just the two of us. It was one of those wonderful crisp mornings where the sun is coming out, weakly spreading its rays across everything. I say weakly, and that’s true, but pretty and somehow comforting all the same. The boy and I left early as I said and there were a few birds out, but otherwise just the two of us and these lovely chirping sounds and the distant hum of cars along Bell Street. We were walking in the vicinity of Robinson Reserve and I started talking to my woolly friend. marvelling about how woolly he was getting. It had been a while since he had been trimmed because of lockdown, and now he had this impressive grey beard, a bit like a little Schnauzer. Anyway, as I said I had starting talking to him as I did out of habit, marvelling at his little grey beard, when the most amazing thing happened. He suddenly started talking back to me. ‘Well thanks, dad. Dogs don’t get a lot of compliments, you know.’ He spoke back, just like that. ‘Well’, I thought, ‘this is new. This is really something else. Of all the things to happen in lockdown, which is supposed to be depressing and sad, my little boy talks back to me!’ Naturally I was majorly taken aback. But it’s funny, when things completely out of the ordinary happen sometimes, it can be surprising how quickly we can suddenly get used to it. Pablo, my new little talking dog. ‘Well, this is a surprise. How long have you been able to talk like this?’, I asked him. ‘Let’s just say I have been watching, observing.’ And then he let out a little chuckle. A sort of doggy little chuckle. And then I found myself wanting to ask him a million questions, all at once. We were on the other side of Robinson’s Reserve now, and normally he wanted to get off the lead and chase the Jack Russell, or the Spoodle or the Labrador. But suddenly this seemed all probably beneath him. I mean, my little boy could talk. He was superior to all of these. ‘So, these other dogs you see, can they talk too?’ He looked a bit annoyed at this question. He glanced up at me with a surly expression. He was still on the lead. Somehow it seemed suddenly wrong to have him on the lead. ‘Come on, dad, of course they can talk. I don’t know about everyone speaking English, some of the smarter ones I guess. But we have a language too, you know. We don’t just say ‘bow wow wow’ in meaningless drivel. We are communicating, you know. Sometimes quite sophisticated stuff.’ ‘Really?’, I said to him. ‘Really and truly? Sophisticated? Give me an example.’ ‘Well, ok’, he said. He was just starting to warm up, I could tell. This was his big moment. Time for little Pablo to impress dad. One day, when I have some more time, I will tell you exactly what he said.

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