Monday, May 24, 2021

That Bloody Bichon

 For a few years now me and TOH have been talking about pets. He’s a dog man, I’m more of a cat man (which does rather make me sound like some awful DC Comicbook character abandoned after three issues in the mid-1980s), but I think we’ve generally settled on the idea of - at some point - getting a small-ish dog. And by smallish I mean something that is of decent size; not small enough that it would fit in a bag, not too large that it could take me down in a fight. There’s a Goldilocks point.

Anyway, TOH is so excited at the prospect that he’s already picked out a name and, I believe, he might also have secured the handle for the inevitable, excruciating Instagram profile. And no, I’m not going to tell you the name in case one of you little deviants steals it for your own pooch like Rachel screwed over Monica in Friends with the name of her kid. Let’s just say at one point we considered Poochini, eventually letting that one go after realising we would’ve had to teach the dog how to howl Madama Butterfly.

Every now and then we look at dogs home websites, because K****** will be a rescue dog, we’ve decided, but as yet we’ve not found a pooch that fits the bill. That almost changed last week while I was out for a walk.

Over the last few years TOH has twice found himself running into dogs loose on the street, and on one occasion, a seagull that he ended up taking to a vets but we shan’t go into that here; he’s like some weird Pied Piper of Cardiff. Anyway, the first dog was utterly adorable; he took it back to the place he was then living in, secured it in the garden and called the number helpfully provided on the dog’s collar. After taking a procession of selfies, he then took the dog back to its owner a few streets away. The next dog he found was a little more aloof, and the owner didn’t pick the phone up when he tried calling. Eventually the little scamp made its own way home, strutting up the driveway of a large detached house like it owned the place. Later that evening TOH got a call from the owner. 

“You tried to call me. Who is this?”

“I found your dog loose in the street earlier.”

“Oh, well it’s here now. Goodbye.”


People can be awful. I’ve never found a dog loose in the street, and have never really thought about what I’d do if I did. You see, I’m a bit wary of dogs having been attacked by one when I was a kid (hence the thing about not wanting one too large that it could take me down in a fight). Then last week, I came across one.

I was strolling down a long, wide road in a very well-to-do part of Cardiff when I saw something out the corner of my eye behind a parked car. It was a dog; I think it was a Bichon Frisé. Just stood there about six feet from the gutter, a little curly haired paw pressed down on piece of cardboard while it tore it to strips with its little mouth. The focus of its destructive efforts was a discarded packet of, I believe, Lidl-branded frozen prawns; whether the bichon was being destructive just for the sake of it, or making some bold statement about the presence of such middle-class litter in one of Cardiff’s more upperclass neighbourhoods, I can’t say.

It paused for a moment, looked me in the eye, then went back to gleefully ripping the box apart with nary a care in the world. After a moment longer watching it, it dawned on me that nobody else was around. I glanced up and down the street but I was the only living thing on two legs. Whose dog was this? A second later I hear a car and look up to see a lady waiting to pull into the space where a) I’m standing looking wholly bemused, and b) the dog is still ripping the frozen prawn box to shreds. 

The little box-destroying Bichon in action

“Can you move your dog?” She mouths through the windscreen.

I do a passable imitation of the shrugging emoji. “It’s not my dog.”

After a few seconds of her edging her Nissan Qashqai further into the space the dog either gets bored of the box or surmises it’s at imminent threat of being Qashqai’d in the face and scampers off a way. 

“Whose is it?” Says the woman as she clambers out of her car. I tell her I don’t know, but that I’m feeling inclined to go full-on Nancy Drew in order to find out. 

“I can’t help,” she says. “But do you want some dog treats?”

I’m close to saying I’d prefer a Kitkat or a slice of cake before realising she means for the dog. “Yes, that would be helpful,” I say weakly.

By this time the Bichon has trotted off down the road a bit further. I follow, but all my efforts to get close to it end in failure. It looks intrigued when I make kissy-kissy noises, but fails to fall under the spell of my manly charms. At one point it struts boldly into a front garden and looks expectantly at the front door like it knows where it is. In a truly ‘A-ha! I’ve solved the case’ moment I knock on the door only to be told by some unenthusiastic man that it’s not his. 

“It’s yours if you want it,” I say as he eases the door closed.

So we fall into a pattern of me edging closer to the dog and the dog running away. I can see it’s got a collar, but I can’t see if it’s got a number on it and I can’t get close enough to read one if it is there. I consider taking a photo with my snappy iPhone 12 Pro’s all-singing, all-dancing camera and then ENHANCE ENHANCE ENHANCE-ing in, but the little bitch (literally) won’t stand still long enough for me to try.

A few minutes later a bored looking chap wanders over to me and hands me a dog shit bag full of doggy treats. “The wife send me over with these,” he says. He glances at the dog wandering around and then turns away. “Sorry, I can’t stay and help,” he says, “but if you do catch it and need a lead we’re at number [REDACTED].” I wonder what Mister and Missus Qashqai are doing at half three on a Friday afternoon that precludes at least one of them from helping me out, quietly coming to the conclusion that they’re either about to settle down for a banging episode of Countdown or considering seven minutes of explosive middle-aged afternoon delight. 

Returning to the task at hand I try shaking the bag of treats at the Bichon, but to no avail, obviously because it’s seen that type of bag before and knows it’s usually employed to carry toxic doo-doo. I try scattering a few treats on the ground for it, but after a quick sniff it turns its nose up and scoots off, clearly used to a better brand of rank-smelling dog biscuit. 

And so we fall into a routine for the next twenty minutes; me following the dog up and down the road, me having to try to get it back onto the pavement when a car is coming, me having to apologise to pedestrians in a very bumbling Hugh Grant-style when it startles them by running in front of them that no, it’s not my dog and I’m just trying to find out who it belongs to so I can return it. By this time I’ve also called TOH because, as I’ve noted, he’s some kind of bizarre dog whisperer who at the very least can help grab it, and in the best case scenario I can just offload the whole thing onto him and go home.

While he sets out to come find me, I spot a woman power-walking down the road. She also is initially startled by its appearance, but then kneels down, says ‘hello’ and the LITTLE BASTARD WALKS RIGHT UP TO HER AND FLOPS DOWN ON THE PAVEMENT. “Well it clearly doesn’t like men,” I say, before explaining what I’ve been doing for what by now feels like a week.

“She’s a cutie!” Says the woman, stroking the little terror. “There’s no number on her collar though,” she adds helpfully or not, depending on where you stand on such matters. 

“These dogs are very expensive,” notes the woman. “Oh well, good luck finding the owner,” she then says before merrily strolling off down the street. 

By this point I’d been seriously thinking about ditching the pooch and letting it fend for itself against a fast-moving BMW X5, but the idea that it’s worth something piques my interest. Two scenarios present themselves:

1. It’s a nice dog. Could it be that this is how we find our K******?

2. If it’s not, I can eBay the f*cker for top dollar.

TOH calls to say he’s a minute or so away, and as I’m talking to him a door across the street opens and a lady steps out with two dogs on leads. The Bichon makes a mad dash over to them, clearly spotting two potential new poochie friends, or at the very least a couple of bums to sniff.

“It’s not my dog, it’s been loose for about half an hour, do you know whose it is?!” I ask in an increasingly desperate manner. 

The lady scoops it up in her arms with ease. “Why yes, I know her!” She nods her head at a house opposite. “She doesn’t get out much, barely gets walked. She must’ve loved a chance to run around. I’ll take her back over.” And with that she walks off.

I’m so grateful that it doesn’t even occur to me to go with her and inform the actual owner that I’ve spent the last thirty minutes chasing her man-hating dog up and down the road and I’d quite like a reward please. Instead I hand over the by now half-empty dog shit bag of treats and stomp off to find TOH.

On the plus side, it’s only later that I look at my Apple fitness app to find I covered quite a few steps and burnt quite a lot of calories tracking that little bitch up no down the same thirty metres of a Cardiff backstreet.

You can see how furiously I was walking up and down that stretch of road


Jon said...

Oh dear, whatta bitch! Literally. Jx

PS Pontcanna's not that posh. I used to live there...

Tim said...

Ha ha ha!! How did you know it's Pontcanna!?

Jon said...

I know those roads... And it's an area where one might definitely find a Bichon Frise eating prawns. Jx

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I'm curious, did you know that this elusive escapee was a Bichon Frise straight away, or did you look it up afterwards? I only ask because I'm hopeless with small to medium dog breeds - I only know some of the larger breeds because, when I get another dog, it'll be one big enough to pull me off my feet, knock me over, or squash me.

Anyway: Yay! Dogs! And: Yay! You're back! Should we be expecting more soon, or will we have to wait until the end of December for your traditional book post?

P.S. I like your hair (I saw the picture on Twitter)

Tim said...

To be fair, I had no idea it was a Bichon, I was just hazarding a guess because it kinda looked like one. And who knows if I'm back…?? I AM AN ENIGMA, WRAPPED IN MYSTERY, WRAPPED IN BACON!

Wait - are you stalking me on twitter?!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Only a bit of light stalking now and again - got to keep in practice, you know! Of course, if you returned to Blogland, I wouldn't have to visit ghastly Twitter (I don't have an account and don't want one, but if you would run off into Twitter's eager embrace how else am I supposed to find out what you're up to?!?)

Mmmm... bacon.... Unfortunately, I'm practically vegetarian. You don't fancy wrapping yourself in marzipan instead, do you?

Tim said...

I'm making no promises, because quite frankly I've had more comebacks than Elvis by this point. And you should try stalking Instagram, there are far more pics there.

Marzipan? Are you insane?! Buttercream yes.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Christ! I've just found your Instagram thingy and there you are, legs apart pointing your massive weapon at me!

I'm going to have to go for a lie down...