A friend of ours asked if we could look after their dog whilst they go away for the weekend.
Now if it was up to me, seeing I’m always kind and ready to oblige, I would instantly have said “No!”
The reason being that if anything is likely to go wrong it surely will; and more often than not it will affect me.
But I was not asked and the dog duly arrived last weekend. It’s a white Labradoodle. They tell me it’s a cross between a Labrador and a poodle but I’m not sure which parent was more cross when this creature entered the world. It looks more like a big sheep with fluffy white fur everywhere including its legs. A low lying cloud more like!
And it’s called … wait for it … “Koocheekoo”.
Note the spelling. The owners insist on it. Apparently it’s registered in some kennel or other by that name and they can trace its lineage further than I can trace my family tree.
It’s pronounced “Koo … chee … koo …” You must leave a little space in-between the three syllables and change the intonation in your voice as you call his name.
Anyway … I was made to volunteer to take this ball of fluff out for a walk. As soon as we got out in the street he started bouncing and galloping as if he was fitted with springs on its legs. I tugged gently at its lead and got him close to me so he couldn’t bounce all over the place as a helium balloon.
We walked up our street and then we stopped on the edge of the sidewalk to cross the road. He stood on his back legs and tried to lick my face. I gently got him down again and waited for a gap in the traffic so we could cross.
As I looked left and right for enough space in the traffic to cross the road the stupid creature lifted his back leg and did his business on my leg.
Now why did he do that? I mean … I know I was wearing my brown corduroy trousers and a green jacket at the time. But that is no reason to mistake me for a tree.
I also had my large cowboy-type hat with the big feather on at the time. Surely that should have alerted the dim-witted dog that I was not a tree inviting him to leave his territory marking deposit.
I lifted my right leg, almost as a reflex action to see the damage done to my corduroy when, at that very instant, the dog noticed a cat some distance away and made a run for it. He caught me off-guard and off-balance … I dropped flat sideways like a felled tree. I’m sure I heard someone shout “Timber!”
I held on tight to the lead whilst the dog was pulling hard, standing on its hind legs, and barking its head off to attract the attention of every passer-by.
It was at that point, whilst lying flat on the ground, that I noticed that my nose was only inches away from another solid deposit left there by another dog.
I got up hurriedly and put my hat on. I calmed the dog down, cleaned myself a little … I’ll never wear those brown corduroys and green jacket again … and we made our way to the park.
At the park the dog bounced like a balloon at the end of the lead and barked at everything in sight. It was friendly barking … more to say “Hi … look at me … am I not beautiful?” and it had the effect of attracting several sideways glances and smiles as if to say “What is an idiot like him doing with a dog like that?”
And then disaster happened.
Somehow the tiny collar round the dog’s neck broke and the animal ran away at speed.
I stood there for a second or two totally frozen as he fled at the speed of light.
Then, more as a moral duty, or because it is the stupid thing to do, I ran feebly after him with no hope on earth of ever catching him and shouting at the top of my voice “Koo … chee … koo … … Koo … chee … koo …”
It must have been quite a sight.
A man in brown trousers and green jacket, with a feathered large hat, prancing about in the park shouting “Koocheekoo!”
I don’t know what people must have thought, but I noticed parents hurriedly packing up their picnics, gathering their children, calling their dogs and rushing to their cars. An old lady walking her small dog waved her umbrella at me menacingly to defend herself. A group of young men playing football all stopped to watch whilst their coach blew his whistle loudly and shouted “Play on! Play on!”
I eventually reached the large pond in the middle of the park totally out of breath and mentally calling the dog every expletive and unrepeatable name I could think of except Koocheekoo.
To my horror the crazy animal was swimming in the middle of the pond and upsetting the ducks, swans and other wildlife.
His immaculate white fluffy coat had turned into a soggy dirty black mess as he yapped happily at the water fowl around him
Two young men in their early twenties saw my dilemma and offered to get him. They stood by the edge of the pond and whistled at the dog throwing bread on the water they had brought with them to feed the ducks.
The dog swam towards them then seeing me he got out of the pond and ran at me standing on its hind legs to lick my face.
My lovely green jacket was covered in mud, and then, as if this was not enough, the dog stood there and shook himself violently to spray me from head to toe with dirty water off its coat.
The two men managed to use the lead I was holding to tie the dog again and then, slowly and fumingly, I walked him back home.
Should we ever meet, dear readers, please do me the great favor of never uttering the word “Koocheekoo” as it stirs in me several memories of suppressed anger and dread.