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As I’m only at home twice a year, I depend upon The Mom’s weekly reports to keep me up to date as to the goings on at her house. Usually I get a fairly balanced, if Mom-centric view: a bit of gossip about the neighbours, news of L’il Sis, Crazy D and Other Brother, a side note on the Outdoor Pets and a few lines about the weather.

However, more recently, all The Mom’s been talking about are the dogs. Every time I speak to her there seem to be more dogs added to the family ‘pack’. I knew, in fact, I think we all knew, that in the post-Poochie world, The Mom would be at loose ends, and in need of some canine companionship. What no one could’ve foreseen was that she’d start collecting dogs.

The Thanksgiving dinner she hosted recently, was, to hear her tell it, a dog-party to which a few humans were invited, more as a measure of crowd control than anything else. In fact, when she told me about the guest-list, I do believe she started by listing off all the dogs that would be in attendance.

I must say, it’s getting out of control. And I am beginning to fear that, since I do not have a dog to bring with me when I visit, that my days at her house are numbered. Well, they’re numbered anyhow, since I have only a static number of holidays, but I am starting to think that unless I can rustle up a dog, as some kind of twisted hostess gift, that I’ll not be invited back.

The Mom thrills when she’s able to list off more hounds than humans. And she delights in regaling me with tales (tails?) of what said dogs have got up to over the course of a dinner.

It’s interesting, because when we were kids, she hated mayhem and chaos at dinner. Loathed it. All The Mom wanted was for us to sit at the dinner table, remain seated throughout the course of the meal, and not stab anyone (there was a game I vaguely recall that involved table mats and fork-stabbing). She wanted to have a Nice, Civilised Dinner. Now, it would seem, she rather misses mayhem and chaos, and since we are now, for the most part, able to remain seated and have a semi-reasonable conversation over the course of a meal, that The Mom’s got a bit bored.

You can tell. During a more ‘formal’ dining occasion, there will be a moment, when she looks around for one of the dogs, and will report back, though this is unnecessary, as we can all see the dog in question, about what the dog is doing.

“Oh, look at The Pig!” she’ll cry. “Look at the face!”

And we’ll all look to see The Pig rolling her eyes and looking as unimpressed as possible.

Or Elvis will have a lot of drool hanging out of his mouth and The Mom will shout at someone to wipe it up.

Come to think of it, I think The Mom’s not actually desperate for canine companionship, per say, rather, I think these dogs are surrogate grandchildren. Since The Mom isn’t terribly keen on actual human grandchildren, she’s collecting a pack of dogs to see her through her dotage. And in fairness to her experience of having children, perhaps a pack of wild hounds is much closer to her idea of human grandchildren anyhow.

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