From A Dithtanthe!
India was snoozing peacefully in her crate, warmed by a handy shaft of autumnal sunshine shining through the kitchen window. She heard, but tried to ignore, the pad, pad, pad of Labrador paws progressing from the kitchen door across the stone-tiled floor. Eventually the padding stopped and a shadow fell across her face.
“Erm” the shadow ventured.
“What?” India asked, crossly, with her eyes tightly shut.
“I don’t like to worry you…” Rohan (the owner of the shadow) began.
“But you’re going to, aren’t you? Why is it that, when anyone says ‘I don’t want to worry you…’, ‘worry you’ is exactly what they do?” India grumbled, still with her eyes firmly shut.
“Only…it’th Mom” Rohan explained. India jumped up, fully awake immediately.
“What about her? What’s happened?” She asked, looking alarmed, and then, “what have you done?” She asked, suspiciously.
“Me? Nothing!” Rohan was full of indignation.
“Then what’s the matter?”
“It’th jutht…the’th wandering around the yard, talking to herthelf” Rohan looked pleased to have got that off his mind, but also concerned.
India frowned more deeply still and thought about this for a moment.
“Come on, we’d better go an see what’s happening” She announced.
Rohan padded after her, out into the yard, only too pleased to have shifted responsibility for this problem onto his older playmate.
Once out in the yard, Mom could be seen at the far end, one arm outstretched, talking quite loudly.
“Perhaps she’s talking to the goats, or maybe the sheep?” India suggested as she sat and observed.
Rohan plonked himself down beside her and listened for a while.
“It doethn’t thound like thomething you would thay to the goatth” He commented.
“No, you’re right” India nodded, much to Rohan’s amazement, “it doesn’t.” She thought for a while, before, “You know, I think I’ve seen this before”
“What happened?” Rohan asked, “did they have to go to the Vet’th?” He suggested, gloomily.
“Of course not!” India snapped, “people don’t go to the Vet’s”
“There were loadth of people there when I went latht time” Rohan pointed out.
“Yes, but they would have been there with their animals. People don’t go to the Vet’s, they go to a Doctor”
“What’th the differenth?” Rohan asked, reasonably. India thought, furiously, about this for a while. Eventually,
“You don’t have to pay at a Doctor’s” She said, delighted to have thought of a difference.
“Why do you have to pay at a Vet’th?”
“Well, that’s obvious!” India snorted, “we’re clearly very valuable, so it’s very expensive to make sure we stay well”
“And they’re not valuable?” Rohan nodded toward Mom, in the distance, still talking to her outstretched hand.
India looked at him for a while, and then shrugged (which is very difficult for a dog to do).
“Anyway,” She said, “I’ve seen this before”
“Tho, what happened?”
“Well, nothing really. It stopped after a bit. It’s something to do with that thing she’s got in her hand”
Rohan and India peered into the distance. Dogs’ eyesight isn’t anywhere near as sensitive as their sense of smell, but they could just about make out the dim outline of something in Mom’ hand.
“What ith it?”
“Well, it’s that thing she sometimes stares at. You know, it lights up every now and then and sometimes makes a noise. Whenever she looks at it, she either gets cross, and says a rude word, or sometimes she laughs”
“Oh, yeth. Flynn’th got one ath well”
“That’s right! Packham, who was here before me, he used to say that it was something they could use to see and talk to people who were a long way away”
“Like Flynn’th telethcope?” Rohan suggested.
“Well, no, not exactly” India frowned with the effort of thinking. “You can’t talk to people through a telescope”
“Otherwithe you could talk to the Man in the Moon” Rohan grinned.
“There isn’t a Man in the Moon” India snapped.
“There ith!” Rohan said, indignantly, “I’ve theen hith fathe!”
“Fathe? Oh, face!” India chuckled, “it’s not a face”
“Lookth like one” Rohan said, grumpily.
“It’s not a face! It’s other things like…like…mountains!” India dredged that up from something Flynn had told her ages ago.
“Don’t be thilly!” Rohan giggled and rolled on the floor, ”how would you get thomething ath big ath a mountain on thomething ath tiny ath the Moon?”
“It’s not tiny, it’s…oh, never mind!” India shook her head, despairingly, “Anyway, if Packham was right, she’s talking to someone who is a long way away”
“Ith that why the’s thouting?”
“I suppose so” India conceded.
“Do you think we thould go and thee if the’th alright?”
“Yes, that would be a good plan” India nodded, and set off across the yard, with Rohan in hot pursuit.
“Oh, and here are our dogs here at TURN!” Mom announced to the thing in her hand, “hello lovely boy and lovely girl!” She scratched Rohan’s head with one hand whilst the other pointed the thing at the two dogs.
“Who did the thay that to?” Rohan asked, rolling over to get his tummy tickled.
“No idea!” India admitted, bustling in to get her chest rubbed.
“Are you thure the won’t have to go to the Vet’th?”
“Shush! I’m listening” India cocked her head to one side and listened intently. “Ah, now I think I know!” She smiled and looked very superior.
“What?” Rohan looked perplexed.
“She’s not just talking to one person, she’s talking to lots of them! She’s doing it so that they don’t all have to come here to see us”
“Aww!” Rohan complained, “how can I lick them and get cuddleth if they’re not here?”
“Not everyone wants to be licked by you!” India said, sharply.
“Yeth, they do” Rohan said, confidently.
“Well, anyway, it’s not a very big place, so if everyone came to see us, at the same time, there wouldn’t be room for everyone, would there?”
“Humph!” Rohan grumbled.
“Well, would there?” India raised one eyebrow.
“Thuppothe not” Rohan conceded, testily.
“So, this is a way for lots of people to get to see TURN and all of us here”
“Through that thing?”
“Yes” India nodded.
“Tho, if I licked that thing, I’d be licking loadth of people?”
“Erm, yes, I suppose so” India agreed, uncertainly.
“Right, I’m going to lick it!” Rohan bounded over toward Mom.
“Rohan!” India shouted, “Don’t! You’ll get in such trouble!”
“Rohan! Down!” Mom commanded, and Rohan dropped to his paws instantly. “What’s the matter with you, you great soft licky thing?” She said in a softer tone.
“I told you!” India shook her head, sadly, as Rohan made his way back to her.
“Didn’t get in trouble though, did I?” He said, with a smirk.
“You didn’t lick it, either” India pointed out.
“I’ll get it when the’th not looking, later” Rohan grinned.
“You’re impossible!” India frowned.
“Thank you!” Rohan smiled, broadly.
“It’s not a compliment!”
“Come on, let’th go and lick a few duckth” Rohan bounded away across the yard.
“They don’t want to be licked…oh, I give up!” India sighed, as she lolloped after him.
Don’t forget, you can buy the first book of ‘Waggy Dog Tales’, featuring Packham and India, and help support TURN Education. Just follow this link and read the instructions on the pinned post.