Well time to speak out.
Was having a nice leisurely semi-retirement, admittedly a little middle age spread had set in, along with the grey beard. Some say a family trait, somesay a problem – I don’t see it like that! Age is all in the mind, and when I’m chasing rabbits and birds, I am truly a puppy again. Never mind that the next day I’m so stiff I can barely get out of my basket! Just slowing down, not bad for 12 in November, that’s over 80 in human years.
I must tell you about Christmas. Not usually a huge event in our house. Lanhydrock is where the action is! Huge steaming plates of turkey from the
end of November. Endless happy party goers from all walks of life, booked up since July for many – they must get something right!
Well, Her Ladyship did the usual family invite, and a Christmas lunch was planned with various feuding relatives due to arrive. Best Etheringtons rib
of beef sizzling away in the oven, biggest tray of roast spuds you have ever seen, all on time. She was just stirring the gravy, apron on, glass in
hand, usual picture. Large glass actually, just don’t tell anyone!
Then IT arrived.. This thing, looked a bit like me, but not as handsome of course. Wriggly, black, pure black, no distinguished grey hairs, wet behind the ears. They called it a PUPPY. Apparently a present from the human brothers for Her Ladyship and Himself, to soften the blow when I ‘go’. Where am I going I ask?!
Her Ladyship tried to look pleased but I know her too well. I’m the only black man in her life. She put on a brave face but refilled her glass and served lunch. Not only was IT (puppy thing) wet behind the ears, but by now it was also wet on the kitchen floor, lounge floor… Life has changed forever, peace is shattered. Help!
Two days were spent arguing over the name for IT (and also mopping the kitchen floor at regular intervals). Eventually, after much cogitation, the name Bruce was chosen, after a previous brother from another mother. Bruce Bond the First, famous apparently at St Mellion, a real gent. What, call this unruly thing after a canine star I ask?!
I sink into depression. Nothing will ever be the same again. Early mornings, late nights up feeding and potty training. Being left home when IT gets taken to work – can’t be trusted home all day. Actually quite a relief when he goes out the door early in the morning and I can go back to sleep, in my own bed, undisturbed… Nothing chewing my ear, wanting to play. Incessant cheerfulness, so tiring. I can see more grey hairs by the day. Not only my beard but eyebrows, temples. Soon I’ll be joining Her at the hairdressers. Or should I refuse, like Himself? Grow old gracefully he says. There is a limit though! Appearances. She has standards…
The weeks pass and the thing grows, and grows. Noisier, more playful. I try to ignore IT. Very difficult. The rest of the family seem to like him. He’s allowed in the lounge, by the fire, on my rug! Bruce – Grrrr! Seems like he’s here to stay. Better call a truce and accept the inevitable, I have an apprentice. Her Ladyship says I should ‘learn to delegate’, the art of good management. Ok, here goes…