Not that Mika has started blogging. Mika never blogs. He doesn’t write or speak. He barks from time to time. He gobbles things from the wayside which have been lying there for some time. And then he throws up if it disagrees with him. He eats grass in repentance. The ‘leaves of grass’ – Whitman would have been pleased – travel all the way through Mika’s tummy and come out at the other end. You can’t blog about such things. Wonder whether I can.
Mika is not his real name. His real name is Lucien l’honneur du pied and he’s got an ancestry considerably longer than mine. It’s a French name which I guess means ‘honour on foot’. Mika is a Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen. His mother, Emmy, used to live in the forests of Westerwald – with Mika’s breeder. Emmy was taken to her ‘husband’ in France, who did a quick one day stand with her, before snarling her away! No wonder nobody understands anything about love, real love, romantic love, in Mika’s family. In any case, Emmy came back to Westerwald with a broken heart and a full belly – the belly got fuller by the day, until Mika and his eleven brothers and sisters saw the light of day, on the same day, being twins, if you know what I mean.
Of course not twins, since there were twelve of them. Emmy had had duodecuplets, from duodecim, that’s the Latin for twelve. I’ll call it Emmy’s dozen – from a baker’s dozen to the Dirty Dozen – and twins, for fear that she might bite me if she heard me calling her darlings – what was the word? – duodecuplets.
When we went to the breeder to pick (yes, pick, which means choose, and not pick up, which you do eight weeks later, good for the ‘socialisation’, we were told, wish I had been raised that way) – let’s start all over again, when we went to the breeder to pick Mika, Mika and his eleven twins were scattered all over the grounds, only Emmy knowing where her pups were. And then Mika fell asleep in the middle of a run, so half a dozen of his twins fell asleep on top of him, in a heap, as if they’d all been shot. So the breeder put the whole lot in an enclosure, where they promptly piled up on top of each other and went back to sleep. K. was making funny squeaking noises of delight and endearment by then. She bent down to touch one of the pixies – only to find Emmy’s cold nose in the way. Emmy did not like her brood being touched or caressed or disturbed in any way. It broke my heart to see her sitting there, barklessly, when we were taking away her smallest – by way of size – in a shoebox eight weeks later. And only a fool believes that a mother’s love – even a canine mother’s – is divisible. Or that she cannot count. We’d stolen ‘honour on foot’ from Squaw Emmy in her wigwam. Stolen goods, maybe that’s why we decided to call him Mika. And I couldn’t reconcile myself to the idea of going through life calling ‘Lucien! Lucien!’ into the shrubbery, or even exploding into ‘Lucien! Come here, you son-of-a-pig!’
‘So what shall I blog about?’ I was asking Lucien, I mean Mika.
‘Hot bitches?’ Mika suggested.
We were out for our usual walk in the Rheinaue, that’s the bit of green on the Rhine which is Bonn’s saving. ‘How can I blog about hot bitches,’ I protested, ‘when I don’t even know which ones are hot?’ Mika has told me that to write ‘in heat’ is sexist and impolite.
‘Can’t you smell?’ Mika said. ‘In that case, just watch me.’ I watched him with his nose to the aft of an absolute beauty of a Bobtail, around three sizes larger than him. It took more time to remove Mika from Ms Bobtail’s stern than it has taken me to write this blog.
And then I had the pleasure of watching Mika bark away an absolutely harmless and sweet cocker spaniel who was trying to be friendly. ‘Why did you do that?’ I asked Mika.
‘Oh, she’s just a bitch. And not even hot,’ Mika said nonchalantly.
‘What d’you mean? I thought she was charming.’
‘Bollocks,’ Mika said, pausing briefly to lick the objects in question. ‘You thought the lady at the other end of the leash was a doggess, didn’t you? Ha, ha.’
And thereby hangs a tail.