The lights are on… but no-ones home.
So we have two dogs, Bramble who we’ve had since she was 5 weeks old (too young we know but hers is a story to save for another day) and Poppy, who came to us from a friend 6 months ago and has settled into our home like she’d always been here.
Bramble and Poppy are sisters in all ways except blood… both the same age (a year and a half) and are never separated. Bramble loves to play, to catch balls, do tricks and herd the children. Poppy loves… well Poppy just loves.
She loves everything, she’s all waggy tails, happiness and butterflies but that’s it… You look into her eyes and the lights are on… and no-ones home. We joke that her mind is full of butterflies because when we walk her in the mountains, all she does is chase butterflies with a deranged look of wonderment on her face. Imagine a hairy dolphin leaping out of high grass dramatically , slightly wonky eyed, mouth open, tail wagging, beaming and transmitting psychically to the world ‘La la la la la la la!’
She also sleeps upside down… all the time… with her feet in the air. (I used to have a goldfish called Gloop who’s swim bladder went and he slept upside down.. for a week until I realised he was dead…)
But Poppy is very much alive, sometimes she wakes up, realises she has feet, wags her tail at her them and goes back to sleep…
During the last visit to the vet (which was for a case of harvest mites, nothing serious) we’d summoned up the courage to ask about Poppy and her ‘special ways’, its a hard conversation to have especially when your dog is sitting on the table, looking in the opposite direction to everyone else, staring happily at a blank wall wagging her tail.. singing herself.
So we asked, I got a bit tongue tied..
It started ‘We love Poppy, but…’
I panicked, so did the vet – it sounds like we were about to ask for euthanasia! Aagh!
‘Can a dog be a bit…. well…. special?’ I stammered
‘Special as in?’ the vet looked a little less worried but just as bemused…
‘Stupid’ Mr Williams stated, straight to the point.
After an embarrassing description… The vet smiled and assured us that it was just her ‘character’ Poppy was just ‘that kind of dog’. Poppy looked up at me like a demented pixie, tail wagging and fell off the table..
So yesterday Poppy disappeared, this is not unusual, Poppy is a canine Houdini, during the first week she had got over a six foot fence, over my neighbours roof and tottered her way to the sweet shop (unfortunately she did this whilst wearing a pair of star-wars socks and a tesco carrier bag (she had cut her foot on a previous escape attempt and the vet has told us to keep it clean, the socks were to stop her licking it and the bag was to keep it dry… ) This was particularly embarrassing as when a lovely goth teen appeared at the back door holding Poppy (who was ecstatic at this new adventure) the carrier bag in now tatters and bright blue socks hanging off. ‘Is this yours?’ she asked holding out psycho-pop. Poppy and my eyes met momentarily, her tongue was hanging out and appeared to be covered in wine gums (other confectionery is available)… I considered denying it but the tag around her neck gave me away… Poppy lept into my arms, sneezed and wagged her tail. ‘Yes’ I sighed ‘She’s ours… all ours’.
A few days after this one of our lovely neighbours knocked on the door. ‘Mum said to tell you that Poppy is stuck in the tree’…
Oh of course she is! Where else would she be!
I ran into the garden just as neighbour-dad had climbed up a ladder, crossed their roof & pulled her from the tree. The next hour of that Saturday morning was spent trying to coax a demented spaniel off a corrugated iron roof (*cue Benny Hill music*). Once again, our eyes met in a moment of knowing, her eyes bright as my neighbour carried her down a ladder in a fireman’s lift. She spoke to me psychically ‘Did you see that? I was a butterfly!’
So Poppy was missing, I was sure she was in the house, even she couldn’t beam through a wall… well I was fairly sure she couldn’t but you never knew with her. Bramble sat up and looked at me, it had been an hour and it was unusual for her not to be lying upside somewhere obvious wagging her tail. I looked in the usual places, on the window sill, staring at her favourite wall, under the throws on the sofa where she likes to make a coccoon to meditate in (upside-down of course) but she was no where to be seen. I started to get worried! I checked upstairs in the kids rooms (she likes to eating tissues under the bunk bed) but she had just vanished. Poppy had gone! I’m sure she wasn’t clever enough to manipulate the laws of physics…
I sat on the stairs and Bramble trotted over excitedly like she wanted to tell me something… I laughed ‘What’s that Skippy? Timmy’s stuck down a well?’ She gave me a look of distaste and I felt old, of course she had no idea who Skippy was – she wasn’t even 2. I followed her into the kitchen to find the kitchen curtains twisted up into a long rope with a suspiciously dog shaped bulge at the bottom. I panicked!
I’d seen ‘999 Emergency’ and memories of news reports of tragic accidents came to mind! Oh god… Poor Poppy! She’d been in there for an hour! I untangled the curtain as quickly as I could and Poppy came spinning out of the bottom grinning blissfully, tail wagging and that stupid look on her face! ‘Did you see that? I was a curtain!
La la la la la!’