Rhododendrons


The elegant Afghan Hound stopped dead in his tracks, his silky hair swaying to a halt a few moments later.  He looked at his surroundings – green, lots of green.  And a spiky and frightening piece of green that swayed in the wind.  With other colours in the green, bobbing madly and erratically.  He stared intently at the large white building across the vast expanse of green.  He turned and stared up at the man on the other end of the leash with an expression that wavered between general uncertainty and mild panic.

If his mind were to form coherently human thoughts, they would be along the lines of who are you?  Where am I?  Who am I?  And perhaps, am I being abducted?  Should I be frightened?  Should I bark?  would start to creep to the fore of this whirligig of confusion.  And then, cookie? Cookie!  Mmmm… cookie. 

***

The dog wagged his tail tentatively, and then faster, rebooting the system, coming out of his confused paralysis.  He grinned up at Jamie and licked his lips, hopeful of another cookie.

Jamie sighed and wondered if the hound was wilier than he appeared to be.

“There, there, Asimov,”  Jamie patted the lanky dog on the shoulder and, with a last look around to try and figure out why this particular spot always caused the animal to go into mental lock-down mode.  Big white house, grass, flowers, basically the same as any other garden they’d walked past.  Maybe it was the rhododendrons planted right beside the sidewalk.

If ever there was an example of why dog breeders should focus less on beauty and more on brains, it was Asimov the very ironically named Afghan Hound.  The tiny little brain tucked in behind those lovely doe eyes could only run so many functions at once, so Asimov regularly forgot who Jamie was when he had to deal with all that complicated walking while wagging his tail and breathing.  By the time his owner returned from her usual week to ten days away, Jamie suspected that Asimov had nearly completely forgotten her too.  Luckily for everyone involved, he didn’t require much more than a cookie to reassure himself that, whoever he was with, that person was clearly a good sort of fellow.

Jamie had quickly learned to keep a bag of treats by his bed for those times when Asimov awoke in the night (having forgotten what he was doing, perhaps, and very uncertain of what the lack of light could mean), and proceeded to bark hysterically while racing frantically (but elegantly) around the condo.  The first time he’d house-sat for Mrs Grady, the condo board had sent him a firmly reprimanding letter of notice.

The young couple down the hall had left him a note explaining the memory situation, attached to a Ziploc baggie of dog biscuits.

These aren't rhododendrons... but it was the only picture I've taken recnetly of flowers that are even remotely shrubbish.

These aren’t rhododendrons… but it was the only picture I’ve taken recnetly of flowers that are even remotely shrubbish.

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3 Comments

  1. I’ve always felt the whole cross breeding / breeding for specific traits was a kind of whacked out thing to do to animals, pretty heavy handed in my opinion. Lovely writing to make an interesting point, and I am a fan of the dog’s ironic moniker…

    • It’s a tough line – I can see breeding two dogs that have good traits together (good hunter, good retriever, good ratter, etc), but appearance-wise, things have definitely gone a bit too far. If a dog can’t comfortably exist and enjoy itself in a doggy way, then he’s been overbred

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