Last night I had a disturbed night’s sleep. I was woken at about 4am by the obscene sound of a barking dog. I looked out the window to see if I could see the mutt, but he was nowhere to be seen, but everywhere to be heard. It was a loud, penetrating, yapping, persistent bark. The type of bark that can only come from a dog that is capable of fitting in a handbag.
A dog like Teddy Bear in fact. Teddy Bear is Ireland’s celebrity dog – owned by panto-queen and devout teetotaller Twink. A few years ago he was kidnapped, and a distraught (but very sober) Twink went to the press to proclaim her anguish and plead for his safe return. All turned out well for Teddy Bear who was found and reunited with his mistress, so they could continue their lives of abstinence.
Last November I was at a play in the Sean O’Casey Theatre in Dublin. When the show ended I heard barking – I looked behind me and who should it be, only Teddy Bear, nestling comfortably in Twink’s handbag.
‘Is that Teddy Bear’ I remember asking.
‘Yes, he loves the theatre’ replied Twink. I was massively impressed by the dog’s cultural tastes.
Last night however I was less impressed. As the barking went on for about an hour. If the truth be told, it probably only lasted about 15 minutes, but when you are trying to sleep, yet are incapable of doing so, because of an outside noise source that you can’t locate, time seems multiplied.
So I was all sourfaced and morose as I left the house this morning to wend my weary way to the bus-stop. As I exited the building I met my neighbour – the proud owner of two gorgeous dogs called Frodo and Froda.
I immediately need to clarify that the yappy, night-time barker was neither of these beauties – these dogs are large and in charge, and carry themselves with a sense of serenity. Larger dogs have less to prove. They don’t have that small-mutt Napoleon complex. Their existence is sufficient.
I have gotten friendlier with these two hounds over the past few months. So friendly in fact that whenever Froda sees me now, she greets me by bounding over and sniffing my crotch area. I must warn her that if she continues to behave in this manner – like a wanton slattern – then she will get herself a reputation.
It pleases me that I am now on friendly terms with certain dogs. I am not a dog person by nature. In theory I should be a dog person, but as I was attacked by a large dog, as a child, I have remained nervous around them ever since – and in particular around dogs of a certain size, at least until I am well used to them. So being on nodding terms with two sizeable dogs is progress.
Meeting them – as I do most mornings – cheered me up for the day. So silently, I forgave the unseen rat-dog for his obstreperous behaviour last night.