THE sun is shining with spring warmth, although the breeze retains just a hint of frost. Out in the garden the dogs and cats bask on the lawn in the sun.
The twin mounds of spotty flesh rise and fall gently, in time to their deep breathing. I note Coosh’s girth with some concern. She is expecting puppies in a couple of weeks, and I have been told not to let her get too fat.
Limiting her food intake makes her twice as hungry as normal and she was a gannet to start with.
The fridge in the laundry is stuffed with chicken carcases stripped of their flesh. Coosh is supposed to have one of these for breakfast, to ensure she has enough calcium, then half her normal dinner at night.
Tossing the gruesome lump of dead chook out to her before I’ve had any breakfast is enough to put me off my own. Coosh has no such qualms. She chomps and scrunches like a mechanical muncher, then races back to beat on the glass of the door with her paws. She knows we will by now be giving Myffy half a piece of rye toast, and she wants some of that as well.
She doesn’t get any. She can see us, just a metre away, eating our toast and leaving her to starve outside. Her efforts become frantic, and I’m surprised she doesn’t come through the glass. It takes a great effort of will to avoid looking at a large dog throwing itself at the door in an attempt to get to the last piece of your toast and jam before you do.
Beating at the door does at least burn a few calories off Coosh. The only time she shows any desire to exercise is in the pursuit of food. The Man of the House has taken to putting the cat’s dishes further in on the table, so that Coosh can’t reach them. That doesn’t stop her trying and she does the equivalent of yoga stretching towards the saucers.
If Coosh were human, she would be one of those expectant mums who take to the couch with piles of magazines and boxes of chocolates as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed. She might read about the exercise she ought to be taking and the fruit and vegies she ought to be eating, but that’s as far as it goes.
Coosh came back from her fortnight of passion at the breeders in a very dreamy state of mind, and has stayed that way. Instead of leaping and prancing along the beach, chasing seagulls and trying to catch the fish in the waves, she plods along sedately behind Myffy.
This means we have a very slow walk, because Myffy’s pace depends on whether or not the damp has got into her arthritis. Even Myffy got fed up with the shuffle, and suddenly skipped along, barging into Coosh in a playful shove and galloping off into the waves.
Coosh looked horrified, skittered away to a safe distance and resumed the sedate plodding. That Myffy should expect her to frolic and gambol in her delicate state was obviously an affront.
Myffy’s gambolling took her as far as the next big wave, which knocked her off her shaky old legs. She disappeared under the foam and I was a source of great interest to some holidaymakers as I waded in fully clothed and shod to pick her up and point her in the direction we were supposed to be going. Myffy takes these accidental duckings quite well, appearing refreshed and even running along the beach after them.
She gave a great shake and nearly fell over again, and I looked around for Coosh. She was up in the dunes, about 100 metres away, digging at the sand.
“Oh good,” I thought. “She’s getting some exercise.”
As I watched she extracted something long from the sand, stretching back on her haunches to release it. Too late I realised it was a fisherman’s stocking, a piece of pantihose filled with smelly bait. The stocking is scraped over the surface of the sand, the appalling stink of the well-ripened bait bringing beach worms to the surface.
Coosh saw me moving hurriedly towards her and ran, chomping on the elongated sausage as she did so. If I could only reach her before it disappeared entirely down her throat I could pull it out again. Coosh knew that, and ran faster.
From looking like an invalids’ outing we were now tearing along the sand, Myffy hopping along in the rear. Coosh gulped mightily and the last vestige of the stocking disappeared down her gullet.
She stopped instantly, and grinned at me, wagging her tail. Wafts of rotten bait gusted at me. Myffy sniffed her chops, wanting to know what smelt so good. Stocking safely stowed away inside, Coosh took up her place at Myffy’s rear again, and we all plodded back to the car.
That’s the third loaded stocking she’s eaten. She regurgitated the other two after a lapse of several days. She had digested the contents and hiccupped the stocking back. I have watched enough vets’ programs on television to know that much smaller objects cause problems in dogs intestines.
I would have to wait and see what happened.
“Don’t give her anything,” I said to the Moth as we walked in. “She’s been supplementing her calcium with stockings stuffed with rotten fish.”
Coosh showed no signs of having eaten anything untoward and leapt around, waiting for her supper dish to appear. I relented, and gave her small serving of rice which she swallowed in a second, looking for more.
I have seen no sign of the stocking, but Coosh appears well.
This doesn’t stop dreams filled with tiny Dalmatian puppies being born wrapped in pantihose.
Despite the diet, it looks like Coosh is having about two dozen.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.