Dogs and their Owners

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
How dogs and their owners affect each other.

Submitted: March 20, 2016

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Submitted: March 20, 2016

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DOGS AND THEIR OWNERS

 

  In spite of the very damp and miserable day, Norman was determined to take Ruby for a walk in the large park not too far from his home but usually met without success. The Jack Russell that his wife had left him with when she had gone off with Mitchell, the new man in her life, had more than made up for the lack of the social life he would have otherwise experienced. Ruby was really rather cute, she was small enough for him to pick up and tuck inside his heavy weather jacket, when he wanted to go into a shopping centre where dogs weren’t welcome. Sometimes a member would see the small face peeking out of his jacket, but no one had ever made a big thing out of it, probably because the children present caused such an uproar, and many wrecked the clothes by hanging from the rails, and throwing toys (especially balls) around all over the place. Norman and Ruby lived alone, except when Andrew, Norman’s twenty-two year old son, went round to eat or to ask his father for money. The owner and dog lived in perfect harmony, but neither of them liked going out in bad weather. There was always the television or the computer or the iPad to keep them entertained when the best choice was to stay indoors and leave the nasty wet weather outside. Ruby was a good dog and very funny. Norman had thought that if he had been married to a woman as funny as Ruby, he would not have got a dog or a divorce. What he never realized was, that his ex felt that he was the boring one in the couple. For the time being, both master and dog were happy without letting anyone else, either woman or dog, enter their lives.

On fine weather days, the park was full of other owners and their dogs, well really, there were no other pets that would be taken to the park, although once a young couple had taken a ferret in a cage for some fresh air, as they put it. Norman hadn’t thought it was a very good idea, because if the ferret got out, then the dogs might have a chance of killing it. There weren’t any cats for the dogs to chase, so the dogs had to run around each other.  It soon became obvious that there was a canine club that excluded any dog that didn’t have an owner. The dogs met up, and sized each other up, till they were satisfied that all was well with the newcomer. A lot of the owners were lonely people, who although might be in a relationship, had only the dog for going out with, while the other person in the couple was at home, or in the shops shopping. It was very clear that, in time, people got a bit friendlier with someone, without knowing it at first.

Penny was an ash blonde, who had an enormous Newfoundland that was totally black. The dog’s hair was thick and lustrous, with a tail that swished this way and that. Why Penny had such a large dog was a mystery, but it did put off anyone unwanted getting anywhere near her. The dog’s name was Buster, and Penny’s thin little voice could be heard calling him when he ran out of sight.

Norman met Penny one Saturday afternoon in early autumn, when the heavy rains hadn’t started yet, and it was still rather pleasant to leave a cosy home and take a nice long walk under the trees in the open air. Norman had told Ruby they wouldn’t be out for very long, as it was just on the point of getting dark earlier. They had left home and taken a leisurely stroll in the direction of the park, when they saw their usual companions going tin the same direction. The park was very big, with plenty of room for playing football, running, and other athletic activities. The far end of the park, was where the dogs and their owners tended to get together. That afternoon, Norman and Ruby had stopped off to buy a bar of chocolate and a bottle of water. They crossed the road at the zebra crossing, and were on their way to the park gate, when Norman thought he saw a shadow. Ruby barked and Norman understood that she had seen another dog. He couldn’t se any dog other than Ruby, and continued walking along the path. Suddenly a large animal bounded out in front of Norman and Ruby. They both shrank back.

“It’s all right, he’s frightening because of his size, but he’s really rather a darling. By the way my name’s Penny,” and the young woman held out her right hand.

“Norman, and this is Ruby,” Norman said, staring at Buster in amazement at the dog’s largeness.

The dog owners shook hands, and began walking along the path. Ruby wasn’t going to be so easily taken in by Buster. She barked at him, and he replied that she was a nag. Ruby made sure that Buster didn’t get too near Norman. Buster wanted to play, and didn’t care for silliness when he knew that there was a lot of fun to be had if he could get off his lead, which Penny hung on to.

Penny and Norman were still talking and took no notice of Ruby and Buster, who were behaving themselves, and were biding their time. “Have you lived in this area very long, as I haven’t seen you around?” Norman asked Penny.

Penny replied, “Buster and I have been here for about a month now. We were living a half hour drive from here, and once on a drive out we saw this park and decided it was perfect for us. Buster is very friendly and likes to be near other dogs, or else he gets nervous and stops eating.”

At that news, Norman thought it wouldn’t be a bad thing if Buster was put on a diet - he was so huge!

 

If Norman thought Buster was huge, when he and Ruby met up with Cyril and his German shepherd, Bessie, he had to remind himself that Ruby was a small dog. Ruby had a problem, because she was the smallest dog among the dogs of the other owners that Norman knew. Ruby was also the naughtiest, in terms of having a big imagination for getting up to things.

One afternoon when there were a lot of dogs in the park as it was such fine weather, Ruby had the idea to run into the sports area and release all the small footballs from a big basket.. Buster and Bessie were at a disadvantage due to their size, but Ruby broke open a basket of tennis, balls and then ran off back to Norman, who was sitting talking to other owners.

Jake, who was a dark grey and white Husky with ice blue eyes, was sitting by Tom’s feet. He was tired because Tom had taken him to a training centre that morning. Jake had placidly watched, as Ruby had led the other dogs away and then sat and waited for the results. Jake wagged his tail as he saw Ruby return without the other two. He was in fact saying to her, “Hey, where are Buster and Bessie?”

Ruby ran up to Jake and licked his face in answer. Jake felt a little uneasy, and then they all heard a terrific mixture of noises: there was barking from the two dogs, and shouting from people. Bessie and Buster ran into view with some irate frustrated tennis players running behind them. Cyril and Tom stood up and grabbed hold of their dogs.

One of the angry people said, “Are you two the owners of these dogs?”

Tom answered for the two of them, “Yes, we are. Have they got up to no good?”

The man continued, “They have broken open baskets of tennis balls and bitten them in order to make them totally useless. What are you going to do about it?”

Both Bessie and Buster were helpless in that situation. They were unable to declare that Ruby was the culprit. Meanwhile Ruby was sitting on Norman’s lap and giving him loving glances. Jake tried to help, and moved over to where Ruby was sitting with Norman. Buster and Bessie understood what Jake was trying to do, and went up to Ruby. None of those men present knew what was going on, but the dogs did. The irate man kept on about the payment for the ruined tennis balls. Penny said, “Tell me how much the balls cost and I’ll pay half of the damage.”

Cyril could do no less and put in his offer, “I’ll do the same, and pay half of the damage.”

The tennis players went off happy with the result of their meeting with the dogs’ owners. The fact there had been no arguing over the money was fantastic. Penny went off to her car and got Buster inside quickly, “You’re punished. No more of the big park till next weekend.”

Buster sat quietly on the back seat of the car and wondered what had gone wrong. He had never had any problems in the park, and he enjoyed himself very much with the others. But how was he able to tell Penny that it had been Ruby’s idea. Penny and Buster got out of the car, and went to a grocer’s near their home, and they walked up to it. Behind the grocer’s was a small park, and Penny, who couldn’t be angry with Buster, took him there after making her purchases. A friend of Penny’s was walking his mongrel, and Buster went straight up to Freddy, and told him about the incident in the big park. Andrew, who was Freddy’s owner, asked Penny why he hadn’t seen her and Jake in a while.

Buster told Freddy about Ruby, and how she had got them into mischief. Well, what did you and Bessie think you were doing?”

Buster said that Ruby was a very little dog and it hadn’t occurred to either him or Bessie that she was so naughty.

Freddy who was a shelter dog, and on top of it a cross-bred was very clever and wise, and he told Buster to stay in their little park especially, if he saw Ruby hanging about in the bigger park. Buster told Freddy he was a good friend.

Penny and Andrew sat talking for quite a long time. Then, when it began to get cold, they decided to both go home.

 

Jake had told Ruby that he’d be keeping an eye open on her and her antics. Ruby said to him, “You can’t tell me what to do. I’m a free agent so there. Although Ruby was very practised at telling other dogs what to do, didn’t mean she wasn’t afraid of what they might do to her. After all, she might be full of cheek, but she was a small animal in comparison to them.

 

The following , when dogs and owners met in the bigger park, everyone had forgotten about the scandal of the week before. The owners decided unanimously that it would be a good idea if they walked in the opposite direction of the tennis courts.

The dogs were let off their leads and Jake wasted no time in going up to Ruby and saying to her, “Just remember. I’m keeping an eye on you.”

Ruby ran off to join another group of dogs that were new to the park. Norman, who trusted Ruby implicitly, sat and talked to Tom and Andrew. Penny hadn’t arrived yet.

Cyril and Bessie arrived and Cyril invited the other two to a cup of coffee in the small café that was in the far corner of the park. Bessie was also let off her lead, and went off in search of the others. The three men sat and chatted about nothing in particular, until Andrew and Penny accompanied by Freddy and Buster arrived. The dogs ran off to look for the others, and their owners joined the other owners.

 

That Saturday, Simon Oates was out and about with his camera. He was a keen and ambitious photographer, and had got into trouble for taking photos of people without their permission. He saw the gang of dogs while he was sitting on a bench, eating a sandwich and drinking coffee from a flask that he had brought from home. Simon’s profession was unsteady at best of times, and it had seemed to him that his run of bad luck was going on far too long. He saw the gang running across the lawns of the park, as if they were on their way somewhere. He was fascinated by how different they all were, and that a Jack Russell was the one in charge. Simon liked dogs, and it was no trouble to him to follow them.

They scampered past him, and into an area set aside for small children. Of course, it had been Ruby’s idea to go to the playground and have a good time. Simon had a whale of a time taking photographs of Buster and Bessie going down the slide their front legs stretched out in front of them. Ruby sat on a swing and enjoyed going back and forth, especially when Simon gave the swing little pushes. Jake and Freddy went on the see-saw and were so at ease Simon thought they must have been to the playground before. The morning wasn’t too advanced, when parents made their appearances and the children screamed and cried when they saw the dogs had taken over the playground.

Simon’s camera that day didn’t stop working, and as a result he got a good book of dog photos together. One of the fathers got the park keeper to see what was taking place at the playground. The uniformed man employed by the local council and taking his job very seriously, blew a whistle and shouted at the dogs.

Their coffee time over Norman, Penny, Cyril, Tom and Andrew were aware of how quiet it was. They were so used to the noise of the dogs barking and their fighting, the unusual silence could only mean one thing - they were up to mischief. They all stood up and began walking in the direction of the playground. They heard the keeper shouting, screaming, and blowing his whistle, before they saw their dogs.

Norman grabbed hold of Ruby, and the others did the same. The keeper said to them, “The next time they go on the children’s attractions, I’ll call the van to come and pick them up. You have been warned.”

Simon said to them, “Look, I’ve taken some photos of your dogs, and I think that some of them might be good for publicity. Here’s my card, please let me know if you’re interested in doing something with your dogs, other than walking them.”

The owners stared at Simon’s card, and then Norman said, “Thank you very much. I’m sure Ruby would like being the star of whatever might come up for her.”

Simon sat on a bench surrounded by the dogs and their owners, as he took down all their details. The large Newfoundland was a joy to his eyes, because it was not every day such a dog could be seen in an urban surroundings. Simon busily sorted out all their information with the names of owners, professions, and the dogs’ origins. At lunch time, he stood up, and said, “Well I’ll be off now. You’ll be duly informed about the result of the photos, bye.”

 

The owners weren’t too convinced about Simon’s claims about their dogs becoming famous. But what they didn’t know was, that he was an excellent photographer, and the photos of the gang were instantly recognized as something new. A delinquent dog gang! Norman, Penny, Cyril, Tom and Andrew were asked to take their dogs for a screen test. The dogs wouldn’t be appearing in the same film or ad, but in altogether different jobs.

 

Ruby was very adorable and could already do tricks, so when Norman took her to the studios, she was well-practised in the art of charming everyone, and could make herself endearing. She was handed a contract on the spot.

 

Jake was given a part in a film about the mountainous areas in Canada. He was a big hit with his colouring.

 

Buster was given the part of a dog who rescues a lot of people from drowning.

 

Freddy showed his true worth, as a companion for sick children and took to visiting hospitals.

 

Simon was delighted with his own success, and that of he dogs.

 

Nowadays, none of them are to be seen in the park, they are too busy making films and ads, their naughty dog-days are over, but their owners don’t mind at all. Their bank accounts, and those of their dogs, are increasing daily, and they are proud to have such a famous pet.


© Copyright 2017 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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