Dogs are so wonderfully innocent that their gift of horribly embarrassing their owners never fails to amaze me.
A friend recently told me of her walk along the beach front whereupon her SPCA dog, Dillon, running well ahead of her, spied a pile of neatly folded clothes laid carefully on the walled edge. In a ghastly slow motion tableau, my friend could only stand transfixed in horror as Dillon cocked his leg and performed the longest pee of his whole existence.
The swimmer, an athletic lady in a bikini, saw the event unfold and was in a state of inconsolable mania as she waded furiously to the shore. My friend was jumping up and down wringing her hands, berating Dillon whilst at the same time, offering to have the lady's clothes dry cleaned, drive her home and generally do anything to appease. The lady refused all offers, gathered up her sodden heap, headed for her car and departed in her bikini, using words seldom heard in a family park.
Many years ago my Boxer had been throwing herself into the breakers and swimming back to shore multiple times. She eventually came out and before I could reach her, dashed up the shore towards very nice couple who were picnicking on a rug.
She got a glazed look in her eyes, placed her rear end in front of the picnickers and then squirted about five litres of salt water and dubious brown fluid onto the sand - in reality her time in the waves had been a high speed and very effective enema. I wanted to die. I rushed up, plastic bag at the ready and full of gasping apologies. When I got there, all that there was to see was a very small hole in the sand where the said fluid had been fired with some scientifically amazing force. It was truly awful.
Well, Lilo is right up there with the best of them.
She has this habit, you see. She is a most loving dog and places herself against people's (any people's) thighs. They stroke her head, comment on her gentle nature and dreamy expression. Suddenly there is a lightening flash, which never fails to extract a gasp from the 'stroker'. Lilo pushes her whole head where she shouldn't. It is very difficult for people to get out of this situation, as her head is sticking out of their other side and they look as if they are riding a horse backwards.
My long suffering partner, Howard, is so used to this, that I saw him having a jolly discussion with a friend (more likely than not about motorbikes), arms akimbo (as men do when chatting) and there is Lilo jammed in situ, nose out the other side and Howard seemingly oblivious, as if it is the most normal thing in the world.
Every community has a Mrs Bucket. We do too, and one who does not like dogs. That's fair enough. One day she stopped to tell me about some misdemeanour being carried out in the park. I couldn't help noticing how immaculate she looked, coiffured and manicured to within an inch of her life. (Dog walkers can seldom compete). I don't have to tell you what happened next. Yes it did. Mrs Bucket yelped and tried to do an elegant jump backwards but it failed miserably as Lilo did a little jump forward at the same time and regained pole position. Dragging her (Lilo) out of the situation I retreated, mumbling rubbish about it being a 'greyhound thing' and wishing I'd never been born.
Even at the Dog's Day Out at Omokoroa this month - there was no escape. I was queuing at the wonderful Mr Whippy van when I heard an: "Ahem, excuse me madam€¦€¦€¦.€ directed at me from behind. Yes, there was Lilo deeply planted in a gentleman's groin. There followed an embarrassed confusion of lead, ice creams, apologies and bi-lateral retreats.
The crowning glory though was the very first time it happened, when Lilo was newly adopted.
I was walking along on a lovely summer day in a little park. Under the trees, a little way off, I noticed a group of fellows leaning over the roof of a small van - they were laughing and giggling their heads off and it looked and sounded exactly like a Billy T skit, full of good natural humour and hilarity.
I somehow felt conspicuous with my lovely new hound and thought to myself -
"I am not going to get past them without some comment being tossed my way.€
Sure enough -
"You got a greyhound there, lady?€
Rather than shout explanations, I walked with trepidation to the van of comedians, hound in tow.
"Yes, I do. That's right, her name is Lilo.€
said Billy T actor-man, stroking Lilo's head,
"What you got that muzzle on for?€
"Well€, I patiently explained,
"I have only just adopted her and we have to do this in the beginning because in their past life they have been taught to chase Small White Fluffy Things and there are a lot of dogs that look like that in the park!€
As if in some kind of Noel Coward play and right on cue, Lilo - complete with muzzle, plunged her nose deep into Billy T actor-man's bits and stuck her head out the other side.
Quick as a flash came the retort from actor-man number two:
"Oh man, what you hiding in there? You got a Small White Fluffy Thing tucked in there bro?€
Much Billy T giggling erupted.
"God job you not on the track, eh bro ? - You'd be dog -tucker!€ chipped in actor-man number three.
It was all too funny for words and I left them all still giggling and so jolly glad myself that having a dog is one marvellous adventure that will take you to places you never thought you would go !!!