A little snippet of a story I'm developing into a novel. It's told from a dog's point of view, which was interesting for me as I've often wondered why my dog does strange things sometimes. It might leave dog-owners feeling a little uneasy the next time their faithful hound barks at the corner of the room for no apparent reason...
...Over the next few weeks, I developed a sort of routine. I couldn’t do much about the fact that Mummy had to Go To Work without me, except cross my paws, but when she was home I protected her every second. I spent a lot of time in the window, watching the street for any sign of them. I also made sure to Go Wee-Wees in the front and back garden as much as I could, so that my scent would keep them away and mark this house as Mine. I became obsessed with guarding her.
I learnt where the Dead-People usually were, and I steered Mummy away from them, pulling on my lead to drag her across to the other side of the road. I pretended that there was something I really wanted to sniff there and, Mummy being kind, she adjusted our route so that she now crossed the road before we even got near them. I pulled to look around corners first so I could bark and change direction if I needed to. Luckily, Mummy thought this was quite funny and, unless she was in a hurry or needed to walk a particular way, she let me lead her on a safe route.
She wasn’t always so understanding, though. When we were at the park, if she was stood near to one, I would run off with the Ball until she chased me. Only when we were at a safer spot did I give it back. Mummy was a bit cross and confused by my change in behaviour. I’d always been so good at bringing the Ball back: it was our favourite game. I felt sad that she thought I was being a Bad Boy, but I had to keep her away from them.
I discovered all sorts of other tricks for keeping Mummy safe: I found that it sometimes worked if I barked at them. There was one, a Dead-Man, who was always stood in the middle of the pavement on a road we often took, staring up at a bedroom window. There was no footpath on the other side, so Mummy wouldn’t cross over like she did on the other roads. I discovered that, if I barked and lunged at it as we got closer, sounding as ferocious as I could be, (and that’s quite ferocious, let me assure you) it had two effects. The first was that the Dead-Man would turn, slowly, and look at us before backing away. They never went very far, but it was far enough to get past without Mummy or I touching it. The second effect, fairly obviously, is that Mummy would get embarrassed and rush past the spot, muttering things about crazy dogs and bizarre habits.
I also used the old “hurt-my-paw” ruse. If there were too many of them in one place, and pulling on my lead didn’t work to change the route we were taking, I’d sit down and lift my back leg, nibbling on it as if there was something hurting my pad. Mummy would scoop me up and check me gently, making sure that there was nothing sharp caught there, before placing me gently down on the pavement. I’d walk a few steps and then do it again, fixing her with my most pitiful gaze. A few repetitions of that and Mummy would carry me straight home to wash my paw and give me extra cuddles. It was a little embarrassing, being carried like a lap-dog, but it worked. I could even bear the incredulous looks I received from the other dogs, and a few cheeky cats. I knew that I was being a Good Boy.
Sometimes, though, we couldn’t avoid them; like when we had to take a short-cut because it was raining and Mummy didn’t have an umbrella. That was when the trouble really started. That was the first time we saw the Hungry-Man...