Bandit is a worry. The largest of our many dogs, he is an animal of such extraordinary beauty that people stop to look at him, marvel at him, talk to him...and more than one tradesman specifically asks how Bandit is doing, when phoning for business. But beauty and brains, as we know, are not intrinsically linked, and Bandit is also a colossal pain in the posterior.
Someday I'm going to publish my Collected Bandit Stories. For right now, however, it's sometimes all I can do to keep the fellow in order.
Take the other day. Bandit decided, for reasons he did not explain, to roll in something disgusting. Fox faeces, was my husband's guess. The stench was enough to turn the strongest stomach to jelly. This happened late in the evening, and I could not stop and bathe the creature, but dragged dog, rug and water outside and locked him in the bathroom for the night. The next day it took a shampooing, combing, swim in the pond, another shampooing and rinsing (with Bandit objecting strenuously; tell me, why is it that a dog will jump into any body of water, no matter how cold, stagnant or fetid, with glee, but faced with clean water and soap will react as if you're trying to immerse him in battery acid?!). Anyway, after all that, his coat still smelled, though much less strongly, and it was bearable when dry.
Today's party trick was coming back from a run entirely coated in the thorny prickles from a weed that infests the perimeters of our house park. I should have mentioned that Bandit is a collie, and that Border Collies are double coated. Trying to rid a long double coat of dozens - scores - of prickles, is just not a joke. I could throttle him. I've been at it for almost an hour, and I'm taking a break just to get off my knees; he's not done yet! Of course, he doesn't know what he's done to cause me grief, and though I'm in no mood to be reasonable, his patient bearing of me yanking away at his fur, pulling out burrs and grousing at him, all the while looking up at me with liquid amber eyes that say What?! goes a long way in lessening my ire. It's so hard to be cross with him; even the time he ate the whole leg of lamb I had to admit it was my fault for leaving it where he could get it. But that's another story!