The house in Rueil-Malmaison was the centre of five row houses on rue Claude Debussy. Two older couples lived on one side. On the other side was a retired couple and, at the end, a younger couple Jean-Michel and Dinorah. Dinorah was American. They shared the house with their three cats and two German Shepherds – King and Duke. Elizabeth hung the name “the Brauchten brothers” on King and Duke in recognition of their German heritage. They shared the neighbourhood with other dogs – Jock, a big scotch terrier across the corner and the Mad Nose Nipper on the next block. (That is another story.)
We had it worked out with Jean-Michel and Dinorah to trade off on walking dogs when the other family was away on holiday.
So it happened that Glen was to take King and Duke out for a walk. Normally Glen left the house, went around to the end of the block, down the back lane to open the gate on the backyard fence and take King and Duke out. As he walked serenely along the back lane Glen spied Beau, who had come downstairs and out the swinging door in the basement. His face a mask of disgruntlement his eyes followed Glen menacingly as he went into the Brauchtens’ backyard.
Paws up against the fence Beau watched as Glen put on their leashes and prepared to go for a walk. For the faithful dog, this was the insult above and beyond all insults. His human was taking other, foreign dogs for a walk while he languished in the backyard.
The injustice of it burned in his spirit as he barked his protest through the back fence. Somehow, Glen failed to pick up the sense of anger and injustice that filled the air that July evening.
Unsuspectingly, Glen walked out along the back lane with King and Duke in tow. Past the neighbours’ house, past our house at 5 Claude Debussy. They had just reached the next house when, out of the corner of his eye Glen saw a Brittany spaniel take a run at the 2 metre high fence that surrounded the yard and clear it. It was a magnificent feat of athletic prowess for a medium-sized dog.
In a flash Beau stood before the trio, eyes glaring, whining out his protests. “What sort of master are you? What is the meaning of this? Where are the dog abuse police when you need them?”
The simple task of walking two German Shepherds had suddenly taken on a new complexity. Glen had to return the Brauchtens to their yard, take Beau home and close him up inside the house. The basement door was locked, the shutters drawn to minimize the visual taunt and the whole walk started again.
We had a new respect for Beau’s agility, strength and determination. And we took more precautions when having anything to do with other dogs.
|Word Guild Award|
|Word Guild Award|