Kiss me Coosh
COOSH snuggled up to me on the settee. She has always been an affectionate animal. Her habit of suddenly applying her tongue like a suction pump to the nearest available ear has unnerved many a guest.
Myffy has never been interested in kisses and cuddles. When she was younger she would bite anyone silly enough to try. Myffy is nobody’s ‘pet’. She is their equal. Treated as their equal she will reward her human companions with the easy familiarity of shared intelligence and loyalty unto death. Should I absent-mindedly aim a kiss in her general direction she will back away with an affronted gasp.
Coosh pushed her head under my arm, placed it over the pages I was trying to read and looked up at me adoringly from her round hazel eyes. This was extra-soppy, even for Coosh, I thought. Then awareness dawned.
Coosh has many male dog friends. There is the fisherman’s little Jack Russell on the beach, a little terrier she romps with in the park, Angus, a large shaggy golden dog from the road behind us that occasionally joins us for walks, and David, who could be Angus’ twin except that he lives at Rocky Hall.
I realised that we had been seeing a lot of Coosh’s friends lately. They had been calling in at Candelo, lifting their legs against anything taller than a dandelion. Dogs I had never seen before loped determinedly and hopefully down to the gate, checking out the opposition.
Each time we drove into Rocky Hall David would bound after the car, catch us up at the gate and greet us effusively as we emerged. Myffy bit him as a matter of course. She sees it as her duty in life to deter Coosh’s admirers, but it is very hard to deter David. He whines and wriggles as though he has been living for the moment when we arrived.
This is nonsense, of course. He has a loving family of his own. Coosh is sending him messages he can’t resist, as she is to every other male dog in the district. I telephoned the breeder and Coosh was packed off to the kennels.
The dogs in Candelo refused to believe that she had gone. Angus tried whining and crying from every point on our fence perimeter. He was sure if we would just let him in, he could find where we were hiding her. Myffy growled a few terse words at him through the wire – ‘Pull yourself together, dog. You’ll get over it’ – seemed to be the gist.
Coosh’s foxy playmate from the park appeared morning and night, an expression of mingled sadness and yearning in his eyes. He must be the eternal optimist, because the difference in height between him and Coosh makes it extremely unlikely he would ever have been able to consummate his passion. Unless he stands on a chair and, given his enthusiasm, I wouldn’t put that past him.
It was a relief to know she was safe, if separate from her friends. We missed her and we knew she missed us too. If the Man of the House and I have sharp words, we can always find an ally in Coosh. That slurp on the lughole says ‘never mind, I still love you’.
Myffy felt that if Coosh was absent that meant an extra portion of food was available each mealtime. She staggered around like an arthritic vulture, determined to sniff out every morsel that might have been intended for Coosh. This was combined with an intense insecurity. It’s not that Myffy adores Coosh. She reasons that if Coosh can be banished so easily, she might be dispensed with too. She determines not to let me out of her sight, lest I disappear.
That meant Myffy sat on duty with me at the Old Bega Hospital, came shopping at Coles, sat in on committee meetings and had coffee down the coast. She did all this by hauling herself firmly into the car if I made so much as a move towards it. After a fortnight of her virtually living in it I was hairier than she was and smelt like a kennel when I reached my destinations.
The last weekend before Coosh’s attractions were expected to diminish, Myffy and I set out together for Rocky Hall. The Moth had gone to a birthday party in Sydney but Myffy and I had been giving a workshop in Merimbula. By the time I had loaded the car and driven out, it was dark.
There is nowhere quite as dark as Rocky Hall. The mountains and trees obscure moon and starlight and this night was cloudy, too. I opened the gate by feel and drove in. Turning the car’s headlights off left us in complete blackness. I groped for the door handle and stuck a foot out.
A white shape launched itself at me. For a moment I thought I had finally met the Rocky Hall Monster. Then, through the drumbeats of my heart, I recognised the whining, wriggling form of David. He jumped in the car past me, looking for Coosh.
He met Myffy instead. She left him in no doubt as to whose car it was and that she’d prefer him out of it. She did her best to see him out of the house, too; but until the car was unloaded he tripped us over at every turn, sure we’d got Coosh concealed somewhere.
He refused to be persuaded off the premises. When I tried to haul him out by his collar he rolled over on his back with his paws in the air. Myffy thought I was being particularly ineffectual. She leaned over and bit him, somewhere in the region that was causing his excessive adoration.
He shot out the door and I closed it. I lit fires, made tea, fed Myffy, ate and finally relaxed. She and I curled up on the settee to watch ‘The Bill’, me with glass of wine in hand.
‘You’re a good old dog,’ I said to the top of her head. Then I forgot myself and brushed her dome with the lightest of kisses.
Myffy screamed. It was too much, my kissing her on top of everything else she’d had to put up with.
‘It didn’t do much for me, either,’ I said to her, as I mopped up my spilt wine.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.