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Two Legs, Three Legs, Four Legs

 

Two Legs, Three Legs, Four Legs

More Rescue Dog Stories

Duncan the Canine Tripod and his Friends

Seamus, Shannon and Minnie

Chris Brooks

Copyright ©2016

 

 

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Scrumping for Lemons

Tales from Spain

Rescue Dogs and Perfecting Marmalade

The Sneak Preview!!

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Chapters and Excerpts from the Book

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Two Legs, Three Legs, Four Legs

More Rescue Dog Stories

Duncan the Canine Tripod and his Friends

Seamus, Shannon and Minnie

Note:

The stories I tell in this book are true and taken from my own experience and memory of events. I have however, changed some place and personal names and characteristics, in the interests of privacy, for the individuals concerned.

DEDICATION

This book is dedicated to Duncan, the last of my Gang of Four.

He lost his final battle on the day the first book about him was published,

sixteen years after he became my friend.

He Always Did His Best.

Chapters

Scrumping for Lemons

Tales from Spain

Rescue Dogs and Perfecting Marmalade

The Sneak Preview!!

A Walk Over Pendle

Sunday Morning

Duncan’s Second Adventure

Bed Cover

House Rules for Dogs

A Final Word of Advice

More About The Gang of Four

Reviews of ‘The Long, The Short and The Tall’

Scrumping for Lemons

Tales from Spain

Rescue Dogs and Perfecting Marmalade

The Sneak Preview!!

And Finally

A Walk Over Pendle

I am walking on Pendle Hill with my The Gang of Four; one of our favourite walks. The sun shines from a flawless blue sky above us. The air is clear and the breeze brisk. In short, it is perfect walking weather and we all have a spring in our step.

Seamus is to the front, stepping out smartly, tail up, head up and alert to all around him. Shannon walks just to the rear of Seamus, his tail brushing her nose as they trot along. Shannon is in fact rather more athletic than Seamus, but she always defers to him when we are out. Although she could easily outrun him, she never does, and they always play tag or ‘chase-me-catch-me’ with Seamus in the lead and Shannon following. Seamus and Shannon adore each other.

Minnie potters along behind them, never quite catching up. Small, barrel shaped and short legged, Minnie is the spinster of The Gang of Four.

Duncan, my little canine tripod, pogos along beside me. Attached by an invisible rubber band to me ever since the day I adopted him, Duncan is never far away. This is not because he is not able to wander if he wants to. Despite his missing front leg, Duncan is speedy, agile and can pilot like a bluebottle. If called upon, he will be up front with the rest of the Gang, defending the pack against all comers. He enjoys all the Gang activities, but always, he comes back to his ‘Mum’.

We are walking a track towards the trig point of Pendle. Not being the weekend, there are few other walkers around, and right now, the Gang and I have the hilltop to ourselves. We cross a small freshet where chilled water, trickling down from the peat and clean as it comes, makes its way down the hill to join the main stream in the gully. The dogs all lap thirstily and I top up my water bottle.

Climbing up from the stream and back onto the track, we can now see well ahead across the Pendle plateau towards our destination. On the track, coming towards us, is a striding figure.

My mother always worries about me when she knows I am out walking in these places; The Lake District, The Fells, The Yorkshire Moors. I have no such worries. I carry my phone on me for contact. On the off-chance that I get lost, a very unlikely event, my phone also has sat-nav, a built in compass and Google Maps. I suppose that I could possibly slip and break a leg, but I could just as easily do that falling from a stepladder whilst painting the ceiling at home. “But you’re all by yourself up there.” my mother will say. “What if you meet the wrong kind of person?”

I have done a lot of walking. It is my experience that there is a kind of camaraderie among walkers. “How far to the summit?” you can ask, half way up Helvellyn.

“Oh about twenty minutes.” will come the reply. “But take it easy. There’s fog turning to rain up there. The going’s getting slippery.”

And if I did meet the ‘wrong kind of person’……

The approaching figure draws closer. I can see him easily now, but he has not yet been spotted by the Gang. My view of the world is nearly six feet from the ground. Theirs is eighteen inches. The man looks like a standard enough walker; thirtyish, jeans, chunky knit sweater, boots; a regular guy out enjoying a walk. Just as he comes close enough for me to make out his features, Seamus spots him and barks an alert to the Gang.

The Gang of Four draw together in front of me, not exactly blocking the way, but making it clear we are a group. Tails wag and faces smile, but there can be no mistaking the ‘All for One and One for All.’ message being projected.

The walker looks startled then meets my eye, laughing. “You’re okay aren’t you Love. I bet you never have any trouble!”

I laugh agreement and we exchange chit-chat for a minute or two while Seamus and Duncan deliver a forensic nasal examination of his trousers. Having learned from the man that the trig point is crowded out with a party of school children, I decide that we will change course. I am not anti-social and the Gang are all good with children, Duncan being an especial favourite with kids, but I would like to eat my lunch in peace. That is to say, as much peace as is possible with the Gang negotiating possession of my cheese sandwiches. I always pack up more than I need, so that I have my own lunch and plenty to hand round.

I curve away from my intended route and down towards the reservoir. The day is heating up and the dogs would enjoy a paddle or a swim.

Sheep graze here, but this is not a problem. All my Gang know the rules regarding sheep. i.e. they are strictly out of bounds. There are however, a number of dry stone walls to cross en-route, quite high ones, four or five feet. I am never convinced that these actually contain the sheep as they seem to wander randomly across the rough grazing. However, in Winter, the weather up here can be wicked. These high grounds are open to winds straight in from the sea thirty miles away. Beyond that, there is little but the Atlantic until America. On a clear day, I can see Blackpool from up here, but in bad weather, the rain will lash in horizontally and a good solid wall is welcome protection for the sheep huddled in the lee.

On more than one occasion, walking on the plateau and watching outwards to the West and North, I have seen clouds piled over Longridge Fell and heading my way, dumping rain as they come. This can be astonishingly beautiful, with rainbows forming through the falling rain, but as I see the downpour approach, I know that I have only a few minutes to make it to shelter, and I run.

Today however, this is not an issue. I walk through sunbeams under a curtain of blue, strip off my jacket and then my pullover. I begin to wish that I had worn sandals instead of boots. The dogs are panting heavily and Minnie in particular looks as though she is beginning to droop. I take a mouthful or two from my water bottle and then tip the remainder into the collapsible bowl I carry in my rucksack. Ensuring that everyone gets a drink, I pass it around them one by one in pecking order.

“Seamus.” My Head Boy has a slurp, and does not protest as I take the bowl away.

“Shannon.” Shannon drops her beautiful silken nose into the water and laps daintily.

“Minnie.” The ageing maiden aunt of the Gang snouts her way into the water, following the bowl with her furry nose as I move it along, trying to thieve an extra share.

“Duncan.” He smiles up at me, knowing that ‘Mum’ would not have left him to go thirsty. Duncan has a faith in me that goes beyond all human understanding.

There is still some water left, so the bowl does another round before it has been licked dry; then, refreshed, we move along.

Crossing walls is always a team effort. All the walls have stiles, but they are ‘human only’ constructions; ladders of four or five steps up and down, propped up over the walls in an A-frame arrangement with a small landing at the top. Shannon clears them easily, simply stepping up and down the ladder rungs as though they were made for her. Seamus ignores the stile entirely and jumps over the wall.

Minnie and Duncan wait at the bottom for assistance. Minnie is far too short legged for such athletics as ladder climbing and has to be lifted up to the top landing. From there she jumps down again on the other side. This routine was problematic when I first adopted Minnie. Completely unused to affection or any kind of handling, it took Minnie some months to develop enough trust to allow me to lift her bodily from the ground. Even now, several years later, almost anyone else trying to do this with her would get a snap and a show of teeth.

Duncan has no such reservations. He bounces up and down excitedly on his one front leg. He knows what comes next. Mum is going to pick him up!

I lift up my little lad, stepping carefully and making sure that he actually has all three legs on the landing before I let go. I give him a quick scratchy ear and then climb up the ladder to stand beside him. Climbing down the other side, with my feet on the bottom rung, I collect him up again and then deposit him on the turf. Duncan’s outsized ears and button eyes smile up at me before he scampers along to follow the others.

Although still walking on the high ground, we can see the reservoir now. There is a steep drop through bracken crowded grass and a scramble down a gravelly slope, but the water is calling. The Gang has now realised which way we are headed and pull in front of me, Seamus and Shannon racing ahead, Minnie wheezing along behind and Duncan torn between running to join the others and coming back to check that I am still with them. The two leaders are soon out of sight, but I am not worrying. I know exactly where I will find them.

Sure enough, as our path crosses the main track leading down to the water, Seamus and Shannon are already at ‘Facebook Corner’. This riveting spot is where every dog within five miles stops, sniffs and piddles. Consequently, the small section of wall and fence that draws this attention is a minefield for human walkers (Check under your boots folks!) and a mine of information for all the dogs.

“Oh, I see Butch is back again. I thought he’d moved away.”

“Is Kerry coming into season…?? Yup. She is. Wonder when she’ll be back?”

“Laddie’s not feeling so good. Too much cheap tinned food.”

Shannon has already ‘made her mark’ on the wall and Seamus is working his way right around wall and fence, trying his best to ‘have the last word’ by covering every previous piddle with one of his own. Minnie comes along and adds to the nasal cacophony. Shannon is having none of this, and immediately marks over Minnie’s offering. Minnie then does the same to Shannon’s mark and the two girls indulge in palace politics for the next several minutes, each trying to over-piddle the other. Seamus finally trumps them both, squeezing every bladder muscle he has to deliver his last drop of elixir over them both. This settles the Girls and it is agreed that we resume the walk.

The bright water now sparkles ahead of us, and all the Gang bound joyously in. Minnie and Seamus do not swim, but paddle out to lie down close to the edge with a couple of inches lapping around their tummies. Shannon takes a flying leap off the bank to land in the water ten feet out. Duncan hoppitts across the sandy edge into the shallows and then swims out to deeper waters.

I throw sticks for Shannon. I never get them back because Shannon swims out, retrieves the stick and then is waylaid by Minnie as she reaches the bank. Minnie grabs the stick from Shannon as being obviously intended as a gift for her from a kindly god, then carries it away, never to be seen again. Running out of easily findable sticks, I instead throw pebbles and stones into the shallows. This is one of Shannon’s favourite entertainments. She learned long ago to hold her breath under water and now plays at apple bobbing with stones. From anything up to about two feet depth of water, she will retrieve a stone every time, although it is seldom the one I threw. No matter, it is plucked from the water in triumph and dropped at my feet for an action replay. Shannon will keep doing this for more or less as long as I have the patience to co-operate.

Duncan meanwhile is still enjoying his swim. He does not go far out, as his navigation skills are a little suspect. With only one front leg, he only swims in circles.

My arm aching, I call a halt to stone throwing. Shannon looks disappointed, then wreaks her own particular revenge by placing herself four feet away, shaking, and drenching me with chilly water.

Cursing all dogs, I find a rock to sit on, unpack my lunch and sit facing the sun so as to dry out my tee shirt and jeans. The dogs gather into ‘hustle mode’, staking a claim on the sandwiches first, so I shoo them away and settle to eat in peace. The Gang grumble a bit and then wander off to splash about, hunt for frogs and dig random holes. I munch my sandwiches, idly watching dragonflies and damsels zig-zag across the water by the reedy inlet from the stream.

Having finished my own share of the lunch, I hand out the canine share, again in pack order; Seamus, Shannon, Minnie, Duncan. Getting up, I announce that we are moving along again.

The announcement is met with enthusiasm. Minnie wriggles her bottom and tail. Duncan pogos in excitement. Seamus rushes around in circles and Shannon jumps up to me, and, before I can stop her, plants two giant muddy paw prints squarely on my, um, ‘chest’.

Since it is far too hot now to wear my jacket, and I have no other top to wear than my, previously, white tee-shirt, I hope devoutly that we meet no other walkers.

Continuing along the water’s edge, we come to the reservoir outlet. Some distance below us, a couple of inches of water trickles out through a wide concrete channel. Some thirty feet across and with a sloping bottom, the channel is crossed by a footbridge.

This footbridge is always a problem. Made of metal mesh, anyone crossing it can see down through the mesh to the drop below. Shannon is undeterred by the view, strolling happily across, and Minnie does not appear to notice the drop below her. Minnie is a sweetie, but she sometimes has to make a special effort if thinking is required. I carry Duncan across regardless. His single front leg cannot cope with the mesh.

Seamus however, has a big problem with this little bridge. He can see through the mesh and does not like it at all. He did try walking across it one time, staggering across the bridge with splayed legs and toes, moving like a rhinoceros on eggshells. The next time, he walked around in circles, repeatedly approaching and then retreating from the bridge. On that occasion, I picked him up and carried him across, but he was not at all happy with the arrangement. With Seamus in my arms, I could see him looking down through the mesh. The last few yards he started to panic and struggle to escape. I had trouble not dropping him. And now Seamus refuses absolutely to cross this bridge. He will make his own arrangements to cross his personal Rubicon.

With the other three with me on the far side, I take out my flask and pour myself a cup of tea. I know from experience that I may be waiting a while.

Meanwhile, Seamus has run a couple of hundred yards up the channel to its shallowest point. Directly under the bridge there is a drop of perhaps twenty feet. He has chosen the spot where the drop is only about eight feet deep. Having jumped down into the channel, he is now trying to jump up again on the other side. Eight feet is a good hard jump for any dog and truly, not a jump at all, more of a scrambling climb. As I watch, sipping my tea, he takes a running leap at the concrete wall, scrabbles for the top, misses and falls back. Typically, he succeeds at this within about five minutes, but of course, afterwards he is exhausted. This is fine by me. I like the dogs tired after a walk. Very occasionally, Seamus cannot climb out. On these occasions, we take the long winding route along the side of the channel to the point where he can walk out at the other end. This never seems to occur to him as the easy option. Perhaps he just likes his jumping exercises.

Seamus finally clears the top and bounds up, waggy and panting. I take my time finishing my tea to let him get his breath back.

Moving on, we have gone only a few hundred yards further when, ambling down the path towards us, I see an old couple approaching, accompanied by a pair of geriatric Yorkshire terriers.

Meeting other dogs is normally no problem. The Gang go through their ‘Close the Ranks.’ routine and are not generally aggressive unless, for example, some strange dog tries to make a move on Shannon. This, Seamus will not tolerate under any circumstances. Shannon is ‘his’ and uninvited attentions from potential rivals are rebuffed with force. Unhelpfully, Shannon is a bit of a flirt and enjoys prancing around with strangers. This goes down with Seamus like a wet dog in a nudist colony. However, he has an ally.

Duncan is right in there, supporting his leader. Where Seamus leads, Duncan follows. Romantically speaking, Shannon has never shown the slightest interest in Duncan. He is pack puppy, and it was settled early that Seamus would be the one to ‘sort out’ Shannon. Since those early days, Shannon has been spayed and is no longer ‘sort-out-able’. However, Duncan knows his loyalties. If anyone is going to not-sort-out-Shannon, it is Seamus who will not-sort-her-out, not any other non-pack-member-invading-interfering-foreign-scum!

Size is no deterrent. Duncan knows that in a previous life he was a tundra wolf, fierce and terrifying, bringing down aurochs and mammoths. As luck would have it, this time round he was dealt the three legged terrier card, but he is a far bigger dog on the inside than on the outside. Rats are not tolerated; rabbits and mice are fair game, and it is, he is convinced, only his three-legged status that prevents him from climbing trees and giving the squirrels a good going over. In support of the Gang of Four, Duncan will take on any dog, however large. Three leggedly, teeth bared, he will charge forward at full throttle at Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Great Danes. The opposition are usually taken aback by this under-sized attacker and find that protecting the underside, ankles and the more tender areas of the nether-regions is more trouble than it is worth. Generally, they back down, and Duncan, triumphant with the rest of the Gang, revels in the glory of victory.

There is however, an exception to Duncan’s courage. No enemy is too large to face, but he does not like dogs smaller than himself. Perhaps it is the reverse of his own situation and he is unnerved by a dog small enough to reach under him. In any event, as he sights the pair of Yorkshire terriers, trundling along, half his height and with little pink bows tying up their fringes between their ears, he bolts off the side of the track, down the hillside, making a long loop around before re-joining the track some five hundred yards away on the other side of the pair of spine chilling rivals.

The old couple, who are completely harmless and clearly out for nothing more than a walk in the sunshine look at me very oddly. I start trying to explain Duncan’s idiosyncrasies before I remember the paw prints that Shannon planted on me and belatedly fold my arms over my chest, trying to cover my embarrassment. Too late, I see the old man trying to suppress a grin and his partner pursing her lips in disapproval, as though I were trying to make some kind of fashion statement with my dog embossed ‘chest’. It’s not as though they are handprints.

Since I will never see these people again, I mutter a curt goodbye and walk on to retrieve Duncan the Canine Hero from where he is waiting for us further along. Completely unabashed, he grins toothily up at me. “C’mon. I’ve been waiting for you. Let’s go home. I’m hungry now.”

Sunday Morning

Wake up.

It’s dark

Dark? Ahh… Sunday. No hurry for anything.

Close eyes again.

Sunday.

Walk the dogs in a bit. Not yet though.

The woods? Pendle Hill? A day out to Ingleton Fell? Cream tea in the village perhaps?

No hurry to decide.

Breakfast?

No not yet. I’ll switch on the teas-made though.

Breakfast? Mmm. In a bit.

Scrambled eggs?

Cereal?

Boiled eggs?

Yes, boiled eggs. With nice runny middles and toast.

What’s different?

?

?

Open eyes. Inspect ceiling.

No dogs on the bed?

?

?

Ahh…. Dogs all to side of bed…. They’re looking at something…

Looking down at something….

?

?

What’s that noise?

Crunch Crackle Slurp

Why is the bed vibrating?

Why is the bed vibrating?

Why is the bed vibrating?

The dogs are looking at something under the bed……

?

?

Haul idle carcass from under cosy duvet and swing, face down, to inspect under bed.

Oh God….

Polly the cat has a rabbit.

It’s under the bed.

Polly the cat has what used to be a rabbit.

Now it’s just a rabbit body and a pair of ears. No head.

The ears are where the ears ought to be. But there’s no head connecting them to the body.

There’s a headless rabbit under my bed.

Good morning Sunday.

Duncan’s Second Adventure

We are walking ‘The Big Circle’.

This walk is a weekend favourite of mine, taking me on the small country lanes leading from my house, up around the top edge of the village, along an access road open to walkers but private for vehicles, through fields, up the hill on ancient country lanes barely wide enough for a single car, then around through woods, back down the hill through fields and dropping onto my own road about five minutes away from my house. About three miles all round, it is a lovely way to stretch the legs.

Although I prefer, for the most part, to walk in countryside, The Big Circle is a pleasant amble that enables two, three and four legged family members to meet up with friends and neighbours and, in my case, chit-chat and gossip, while the Gang can catch up with canine news and sniffs. It is a grand way to spend a Sunday morning.

All of the Gang of Four are adopted rescue dogs, and in Duncan’s case particularly, I am conscious of the danger of traffic. He has already lost one leg to a car accident. He cannot afford to lose many more. I suspect that he does not remember the accident in which he lost his leg, being only about eight months old at the time. His life has changed completely since then. He came to join The Gang only three days after his accident and consequent amputation.

My little house fronts onto the road, and some cars speed by at an unseemly pace for such a small road.

As each of the Gang arrived, they were first kept on-lead while we walked the roads and lanes, but once they knew and understood ‘The Rules’, were permitted to walk off-lead. ‘The Rules’ are, that if a car comes down the road, everyone moves onto the verge until it passes by. Once the car is safely past, I wave an arm and everyone is free to go.

This has worked perfectly for four years, makes walking much pleasanter for everyone and means that the dogs get much more exercise. Left to trot along at their own pace, they cover at least twice the ground that I do.

Duncan in particular, found walking on lead difficult. His missing front leg leads to an up and down motion of his head and shoulders, that makes any lead flap and smack against him unpleasantly. And his unusual gait leads to repetitive strain injury in my wrist.

In addition, Duncan refuses to wear a collar. In the time I have had him, he has destroyed, lost or eaten a dozen collars, starting with cheap fabric ones, moving through expensive leather ones and culminating in leather and chain designs. His last two collars, leather and chain, vanished and all I ever found were the links of chain. I have tried slack collars, tight collars, slip fitting collars, all to no avail. It is a mystery to me how he removes them, but remove them he does. I have tried him with a straight chain collar, but to keep it on him, I have to make it so tight that it rubs his skin raw, so that is not an option either. Even the harness I bought him was destroyed within a day.

None of these problems have occurred with any of the other three dogs. Seamus, Shannon and Minnie all wear their collars perfectly well and the only maintenance they need is an occasional cleaning. Heads held high, they parade their collars with attached ID tags and jangly ornaments. These last I added so that the dogs tinkle as they walk. In the dark moonless nights of unlit country lanes, I can tell from the rhythm of the jingling who is walking with me.

But, Duncan does not and will not wear a collar. I always walk with a slip lead in my pocket ‘just in case’, but it has never been needed. The Gang of Four are well known in the area and, when all is said and done, a three legged dog does not need too much identification.

We have completed most of the walk of The Big Circle and are on the final stretch of lane, approaching home. There is a tight double bend and from around the corner to the right, there is the sound of a vehicle approaching. I call the Gang into the verge and they gather around me while I bend down and hold them loosely in a group. The rumble of the vehicle grows louder and as it reaches the corner, a voice shouts out from across the road to my left. “Hi there. I thought I might meet you.”

Looking left, it is ‘Ben’, with his ‘Dad’ Sam. Ben and Duncan are besties and as Duncan sees his pal, to my horror, he breaks loose from my arms and runs into the road to see his friend.

On a previous occasion in my life, time went into slow motion. I was eighteen years old and had gone sailing for the first time. We were being taught how to tack. As the sail swung round, I did not duck fast enough and the boom caught me fair on, lifting me off my feet and to one side, and capsizing the boat. The boat overturning, time slowed to a crawl as I watched the chilly November water swallow the boat, my companions and me. I was pulled out five minutes later by the rescue craft, flopping onto the deck like a wet fish, too chilled to haul myself out.

Now time slows again. With the split-seconds crawling, Duncan scuttles to the middle of the road to see Ben, and at the same moment, a flatbed truck comes around the corner. The driver has no chance to avoid the little dog. His near front wheel goes squarely over Duncan’s middle; I actually see his chest collapse under the weight and then rebound. The rear wheels roll over his back legs.

The truck screeches to a halt and the driver jumps out. I feel sorry for him; the poor man is distraught but it is absolutely not his fault and I say so. He had been driving at a perfectly sensible speed. It had been just too late for him to stop.

Sam arrives, almost speechless. I get onto the back of the flatbed with the rest of the Gang of Three while Sam and the driver pass Duncan up to me. He is conscious, but whimpering. I ask the driver to get me to my front door so I can get Duncan to a vet as quickly as possible. He drives carefully as there are no sides to the back of his truck, and the Three and I are precariously perched as the truck takes tight corners to reach my little cottage. Duncan lies in my arms, unmoving, his head resting against me as I talk to him, gently, quietly.

It is Sunday and I scrabble to find a number for the emergency weekend vet. Ringing ahead, I find a cardboard box large enough to fit Duncan easily so that I do not have to move him more than necessary. Lining it with a blanket, I lay him inside, then stroke his face, trying to reassure him. “Come on little man. Let’s go and get this sorted out.” His button eyes fix on me and he licks my hand, then he whimpers again. Carrying the box as carefully as I can to the car, I belt it into the passenger seat and set off for the vet’s surgery.

Perhaps I break some of the speed limits…

In the surgery, the vet is startled. I had forgotten to mention that Duncan was three legged, and of course the vet’s first reaction is to look to the missing leg as a result of his current trauma. “So this is his second car accident?” he asks.

I nod, gulping. Having gone through the emergency actions and gotten Duncan to the surgery, the adrenaline is wearing off. I start to shake and the tears are welling.

The vet is tactful and chooses not to notice. “I can’t do too much with him right now. He’s in shock and he needs to come out of it before I start giving him medication. He needs to lie quietly in the warm. Do you want to leave him here or take him with you?”

I am torn. I want Duncan to be near me. He trusts me and will feel safer. But here in the surgery, there is everything needed if there is an emergency. “Will someone be with him if I leave him here?”

“Yes, I’m here all night.”

“So he won’t be left alone?”

“No. I’ll be here.”

I agree to call in the morning.

At eight the following morning, I ring to check on Duncan’s progress

“Yes, he’s fine. He’s come out of the shock and we’ve examined him. Nothing’s showing on the x rays as broken. He seems to be eating, drinking and pooping properly, so it looks like there’s nothing internal either.”

I cannot quite believe what I am hearing. “He’s okay? He’s not injured?”

“Oh he’s badly bruised and he’s hurting, but it’s nothing that won’t mend. Come into the surgery. We’ll give you some painkillers for him, but mainly he needs rest and recuperation.”

Back home with the very subdued Duncan, I settle him into a large basket by the radiator and conclude that my little tripod is constructed from something tougher than mortal flesh. I saw a series of four wheels go right over him and actually watched his rib cage cave in under the weight. To come out of it with nothing more than bruises seems incredible.

Seamus and Minnie seem puzzled by the extra cosseting that the Gang’s most junior member receives over the next few days, but Shannon, always the most intelligent of the Gang, sits by him, exuding calm and comfort.

For the next three weeks, Duncan builds up his strength again. At first I confine him to the back garden, then, after a few days I drive the Gang to short walks in the woods, and then for longer walks over the fields. Always I choose routes where a short-cut back to the car is available. After a month I conclude that Duncan is recovered enough for a full walk and we step out to do ‘The Little Circle’, a shortened version of the original route where the accident happened.

This time, Duncan is on collar and lead and interestingly, he makes no objection to the collar. Perhaps the physical link to me with the lead helps him feel safe. I watch him carefully, eagle-eyed for any problems, but all goes well. We walk very much more slowly than we normally would, but Duncan seems to be enjoying himself with the rest of the Gang….

…. until we reach The Corner.

Duncan may or may not remember his first car accident, but he certainly remembers the second. As we arrive at the corner, he starts to cry and tug at the lead, trying to pull away. Nothing will persuade him to walk around the bend.

In the end, I pick Duncan up and carry him around the corner while he buries his face in my chest, shaking. I wait until we are well past The Corner before I put him down again and we continue home.

Duncan recovers completely, but never again does he object to a collar and always he remains wary of traffic.

Bed Cover

I wake. It is dark.

Very dark.

I’m cold.

Why am I cold?

I am cold because I have no covers over me.

What’s that noise?

Whimpering?

Sit up.

In the dark I can see…. one… two…. three dogs on the bed with me. Who’s missing?

Fumble in the dark for light switch. Knock over glass of water, raising sound of protest from Minnie who has just been splashed.

Locate light switch, and after dazzled moment, identify Minnie, Seamus and Shannon all on bed with me. No covers, only sheets.

Where is my bedspread? King sized, washable and purchased for sterling qualities such as durability, lack of enticing tassels and stain resistance. This has not prevented it acquiring rips and holes.

More whimpering.

I look down to see….

Duncan sitting on the floor crying. I can see his head only, stuck through the hole of a four-inch rip in the bedspread. The king sized blanket envelopes the rest of his body and drapes over the carpet, effectively trapping him inside. With his button eyes and over-large pointy ears, swaddled in a vast swathe of fabric, he looks like the world’s most unlikely Madonna.

Shivering, I get off the bed and untangle my little tripod from his imprisonment.

House Rules for Dogs

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p<>{color:#000;}. If it moves, lick it.

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p<>{color:#000;}. If it doesn’t move, lick it until it does, and then apply Rule One.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted in the kitchen.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are permitted in the kitchen but are not permitted to ‘assist’ in the preparation of food.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted to sit under the food preparation area with their mouths open.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted to stick their heads in the fridge.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Okay. Dogs are permitted to stick their heads in the fridge, but are not permitted to slurp at the cheese dish and the butter wrappers.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Oh have the bloody wrappers then, but dogs are not permitted to sniff over the freshly roasted chicken.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs may have the cooked chicken skin and the raw bones, but may not have the breast or legs.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Okay, dogs may have some of the breast and legs, but may not drag them over the lounge carpet for inspection and extra flavour.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted in the house when wet and muddy.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Okay, dogs are permitted in the house when wet and muddy, but only in the kitchen.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Wet and muddy dogs will be permitted in the lounge only after being thoroughly towelled down and dried.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted to dry themselves by rubbing themselves on the settee or the lounge carpets and curtains.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted to drag the disgusting week old remains of the chicken from the dustbin.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted to roll in the disgusting week old chicken.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs who have rolled in the disgusting week old chicken are not permitted on my knee.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs who have rolled in and then eaten the disgusting week old chicken are not permitted to burp in my face.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted in the bathroom when I want a moment of privacy.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted to jump against the bathroom door to open it.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted in the bathroom when I am having a bath.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted to seek out my underwear while I am in the bath and carry it off for consumption.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs are not permitted to bury my half consumed underwear under the rose bushes.

A Final Word of Advice

There should be a word for it; when, whatever it was in the dark, you shouldn’t have stepped in it in your slippers…

More About The Gang of Four

‘Two Legs, Three Legs’ Four Legs was written as an introduction for those of you who do not know of my ‘Gang of Four’. I have had many rescue dogs, but Duncan, my little canine tripod, and his friends Seamus, Shannon and Minnie were something special.

If you would like to know more about The Gang of Four; how they came to live with me, their adventures and their friends, you can read ‘The Long, The Short and The Tall. Life with Rescue Dogs’.

If you would like to see some photos of The Gang of Four, along with some more of their friends, you can visit my website at this page.

Reviews of ‘The Long, The Short and The Tall’

5.0 out of 5 stars Tears & laughter – A ‘Must Read’ book

Brilliant! Most enjoyable heartwarming read by an author who is totally chilled and at home with her dogs and nature …….. Chris’s personality shines through, which has helped me to try to “chill a little more” over my two dogs, rescued from the vile puppy farm trade. You will shed a tear or two, but you will also smile and chuckle your way through these pages. Read this on Kindle, but now ordered in paperback … no more ‘battery running low’ just as I’m wanting to turn the page for more!

5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming & Captivating

An absolute must for all who love animals, but equally appealing to anyone else. It’s only drawback is that once started you cannot put this book down. I laughed and cried; Yes really cried in places at the sheer tenacity of both animals and humans portrayed within. Chris Brooks, you are a born story teller and I look forward, immensely, to Scrumping for Lemons. When will it be ready?

5.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming read

Just finished this wonderful book, The Long, The Short and The Tall. A really good read for anyone especially animal lovers, it has everything, comical in parts, gut wrenching in others & so sad you could cry. Christine’s writing is awe inspiring, I felt as though I was actually there with her on her walks with her gang of four! I loved it & can’t wait for September when her life with her fur babies continues….

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read. This is a funny book

A great read. This is a funny book, about the lives of animals and their very human type characters. It was easy to imagine the relationship between the writer, her dogs and their family life together. I found it very funny, sometimes a little sad in parts, but always entertaining. The author shared many of her amusing experiences from over the years and demonstrated a real warmth between man (or woman) and animals – lovely read.

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read

A great book could not put it down a must read for all dog lovers. Brings out all the joy and fun of living with a small pack of dogs.

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for all animal lovers

A great read for all animal lovers. if you haven’t got a dog of your own you will feel you should have after reading this!

5.0 out of 5 stars For dog lovers

I love dogs. I love to understand their personalities and their quirks, and I love to look into their eyes as they gaze at me as I wonder what is really going through their minds. This book introduced me to several new dog friends and I came to love them as the author does. The descriptions of the different dogs, as well as the scenery in several different areas of England touched me deeply. I look forward to other works by Chris Brooks!

4.0 out of 5 stars A Gentle Read

Here is a pretty perfect book for taking a leisurely stroll through some lovely and wild sections of the United Kingdom. Chris Brooks makes a lyrical picture of the areas she has lived in and walked dogs in. Makes me want to board a plane and grab a summer trip! The stories of accumulating several rescue dogs over a variety of years is a basically sweet tale (no pun intended) of loving animals of many varieties. There are several chapters about chickens. who know they could be so much fun? One of the things I like best about this book is the total amount of real knowledge of understanding the psyche of the canine mind. Chris really knows how to work with integrating dogs into an established pack.

Now this is not an exciting wildly rip roaring tale. It is soft as summer rain and as nice to wrap yourself up in as a warm blanket on a wet cool night. After reading and watching so much blood, guts and gore in our current media, this is a breath of fresh air. Almost literally. I will be curious as to what tales come out of Spain now that Chris lives there?? Should be very interesting indeed.

Learn What Happens Next

Scrumping for Lemons”

‘Scrumping’ takes over where ‘The Long, The Short and the Tall’ leaves off.

See the Free Offer on the next page.

Free Book Offer

Scrumping for Lemons

Tales from Spain

Rescue Dogs and Perfecting Marmalade

The Sneak Preview!!

Beat the Crowd – Get the Sneak Preview NOW

Ahead of the Launch in September

Chapters and Excerpts from the Book

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And Finally

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading this book. If you have, please help others to enjoy it too by making it more visible to interested readers. Please rate it on whichever website you purchased it from, or even better, write a review.

You can find contact details for me below. Do get in touch with me if you would like to. I’ll be happy to hear from you.

 

All the Best,

Chris Brooks

 

 

 

Contact Me:

[email protected]

The Word Smith Website:

http://www.the-word-smith.net

Follow Me on Facebook:

My Personal Page

https://www.facebook.com/christine.brooks.568089

The Word Smith Page

https://www.facebook.com/ChristineBrooksWriter


Two Legs, Three Legs, Four Legs

Happy Stories, Funny Stories, Sad Stories, But Always True Stories About Living with Rescue Dogs. “A feel-good story” “I read it over & over.” Meet the "Gang of Four"; Seamus, Shannon, Minnie and Duncan the Canine Tripod. All Rescue Dogs, they became firm friends over the years. Their story was told in Book One. "The Long, The Short and The Tall. Life with Rescue Dogs." Now the Gang of Four rides again! Read some more of their stories: happy stories, scary stories, but always true stories. Enjoy a walk out with them over Pendle Hill. Learn how Duncan almost lost another leg! Whether you laugh or cry, this book will move you Reviews: Five Stars "I can relate to every part of the relationship portrayed in this super short story" "As a volunteer for a rescue, and owning 3 rescue dogs and 3 cats, I can relate to every part of the relationship portrayed in this super short story. I read it over & over, and smiled throughout, apart from poor Duncan's Second Adventure. I highly recommend joining Christine's adventure!" Five Stars "A refreshingly written short story sensitively written, giving a ..." Lynne Hatton "A refreshingly written short story sensitively written, giving a vivid picture of the close bond the author has with her dogs. Christine obviously has a deep understanding of canine behaviour. Definitely a feel-good story for any dog lover."

  • Author: Simone Leigh
  • Published: 2016-09-27 12:35:12
  • Words: 7483
Two Legs, Three Legs, Four Legs Two Legs, Three Legs, Four Legs