Bien joué!!

mardi, le 25 août 2009

Ah, The Princess!!

No, no, no, she is not the cutest little girl with curly brown hair, the longest dark lashes, and easy smile, dainty and so girlish in her hand embroidered little voile dress from Portugal.

The Princess is regal, the most gentle of giants. She’s a hound of the Dane variety. And I am often amazed at just how very much I love her and how much joy a four-legged companion can bring.

In the early days after L’homme abandoned us, she was very protective of me in the park on our daily walks. She never strayed too far and galloped back regularly, just to check that I was still walking, still upright and that I hadn’t crumbled into a tearful heap as she had seen me do at home a lot.

These days she’d walk next to me, comfortable to have my hand resting on her back. She’d suddenly glance up at me, flashing the white of her gentle brown eyes before bolting off, toy in mouth, chasing after the imaginations of the canine mind.

Yesterday she managed to loose her last tennis ball in the tall grass. Today I bought her a new purple squeaky toy. She adores squeaky toys. She trots around like a Lippizzaner on show day, the first prize rosette firmly in her mouth and when she senses that she’s drawn the attention of fellow walkers, she throws her head in the air and squeakily tightens the grip on her prize. And for an encore, she rushes noisily into the tall reeds, jumping around boisterously, before peering out, just to see if her audience is still captivated.

When she was younger, she usually lost her toy in the tall reeds. But she’s realised that going back for it, frantically searching for it and triumphantly jumping onto the grass, toy in mouth, elicits wild and rapturous applause from me. She now almost always retrieves her toy and then proudly falls into step next to me.

Halfway through our walk today, she spotted her younger Dane friend. As usual, they ran towards each other like young lustful lovers, rearing up on their hindlegs and embracing like Grizzly bears in mock battle before falling to the ground and galloping off neck and neck in a high speed chase, slipping and sliding on the dry winter grass.

The Artist and I parked off on a bench, deep in discussion about the vagaries of life, our Danish charges playing hide and seek in the tall grass behind us. The unmistakable bark of Danish hounds snapped us back to reality, only to see The Princess sheepishly coming out of the tall grass, not with her purple squeaky toy in her mouth, but with her blue bag of treats stuck on her nose!

We laughed, clapped and thrilled and continued our walk.

On our home journey, the only traffic light we encounter on our daily trips, turned amber just as I hit the intersection. With gay abandon I yelled ‘Bien joué!!’ over my shoulder to The Princess. To her for having a fun day and surreptitiously sneaking off with her bag of treats, and to me, as a reminder of L’homme’s praise when I managed to narrowly beat the red light. I laughed heartily. She flapped her yowls and ears in the wind speeding past the window and to join in the fun, let out a loud ‘aboi’.

(The Princess contently asleep next to her current favourite toy – a little black cat. L’homme bought the little black cat for me on Mother’s Day this year with the words: ‘It would not be the first time a little black saved us’. On my mom’s insistence he joined us for the day and I mostly clung desperately to his hand and cried openly. Others were amused at how emotional I was about French music. I was distraught about how shaky our relationship was, delighted that he had joined us and utterly clueless about how to get things back on an even keel. The little black cat’s luck did not even last three weeks.)

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