I didn’t intend to be unfaithful, I kind of resented it at first but, after that, it was easy. Zack’s intelligent, brown eyes favoured me with a questioning gaze and I melted like a chocolate fire guard. It didn’t take long for him to get from my kitchen to my bed. Black and sleek, he wasn’t as tall as my true love but by crikey he was beautiful. And we’d only met that afternoon. I’m not ashamed, I’d do it again, especially for Zack.
My sister, St Francis, and I only went to his home to meet him but ended up coming back with him and all his kit in the car.
‘How the hell are we going to explain to Eric, Ernie and Floyd that we’ve brought home another Doberman?’ I asked St Francis.
‘Very carefully,’ she replied. ‘And anyway, never mind them, what about Moriarty?’
Ah yes, Moriarty the villainous feline, arch-enemy of small scampering creatures and nemesis of Floyd, was chased up the stairs once too often by Eric and Ernie and had left home some days earlier. St Francis fretted, Medusa wept and Floyd enjoyed unimpeded passage through the cat-flap (see Moriarty’s Rap Sheet for explanation). Then, the night before Zack came into our lives, Medusa spotted Moriarty in the field in front of the house. With haste she brought him in and offered him Rufus’ bowl of food. Strangely, after so many days on the run, Moriarty wasn’t particularly hungry. No doubt there’s a trail of feathers, bones and small scraps of fur leading back to wherever he was hiding out. Clearly able to feed himself, the cat would be unlikely to stay home when he discovered another fruit-loop dog hanging around. Tact, diplomacy and keeping Moriarty and Zack apart were definitely high on our list of priorities.
Zack comes from a loving family and is well cared for but he needed a new home due to circumstances beyond his family’s control. Parting was such agony for them all that they pleaded with St Francis and I to take him straight away and get it over. So, we drove away with the sad, quiet dog. He met and made friends with the other dogs, one at a time, was ignored by Rufus and, mercifully, never clapped eyes on Moriarty. he had a long walk with Eric, down by the river, and enjoyed his dinner but … he couldn’t settle. He howled when left alone for a bit. He refused to go sleep even though his head was nodding. He whimpered and couldn’t be comforted. Zack was very sad. St Francis was sad for him. I was sad for him but there was another problem that occupied us as well. Unbeknown to Ernie, he was going to the vets in the morning and we had to keep him away from food (and the cats’ bowls, the left-overs, the bin) after 8 p.m. He was going to have a general anaesthetic and when he awoke, he would discover a long line of stitches where those two little round things used to hang between his back legs. St Francis felt guilty. She needed to spend time with him.
‘Why don’t I take Zack to my house?’ I offered.
St Francis thought for a moment. ‘OK,’ she said. Eric can stay here. He can sleep in the kitchen.’
Leave my Eric? Spend a night without him hogging the bed? That’s where the resentment came in but it ebbed away as soon as Zack laid down beside me on my hearth-rug and fell asleep. The quiet of my little house, the lack of all other life-forms apart from me (and a couple of small spiders) meant he could relax at last but, when I moved away, he snapped awake and came to follow me. He didn’t want solitude and who can blame him? He’d had a tough day and was probably very confused so I took him upstairs.
Smaller and more polite than Eric, he took up a lot less of the bed but just like Eric, he snored like a chainsaw and farted non-stop. I’m so glad I left the bedroom windows open. In the morning, while Ernie went to meet his destiny, Zack and I charged around the house playing. Then the phone rang. Zack’s family couldn’t live without him. Would we bring him back?
St Francis and I were sorry to let him go but the sight of that dog belting up the garden path of his rightful home and throwing himself back into the bosom of his family made everything better. He is back where he belongs and, best of all, he was safe from Moriarty.
As I write this post, Ernie is recovering well from his operation, though he is keen to get the healing over and chase sticks again, Moriarty is still at home purring like a small generator and Eric, after sniffing around the house for Zack’s scent, has forgiven my infidelity and spread himself across the bed with his head on my knee.
All is right with the world.