Little Dog is nothing to worry about, in fact, he’s a bit special. He is precisely one inch long, and travels with me, wherever I go, generally in my pocket, but once we’ve arrived he attains pride of place – on a table, a plate, a railing, a bowl – he’s not fussy, Little Dog, just happy to be taken out for adventures.
Suffice to say that as of yet, I’ve not made lots of friends in Bristol. I have made one friend, a lady with whom I’m now, somehow, organising a storytelling evening with, but who seems, as all the best people do, to be slightly batty. And she dislikes using the telephone, so I’m sure we’ll be fast friends.
But she’s not Little Dog.
I came to be the proud owner of Little Dog entirely by accident. One day, before I was off to London for the weekend, a lady at my work, who has children (most of the ladies at my work do) found him in one of her pouches. She showed him to me, suspecting, correctly, that he would be the sort of thing I would immediately take to. Which, of course, I did.
He’s just so very, very small. But still quite perky, in a not-overwhelming, quietly to himself kind of way. She gave him to me so I could take him to London for a weekend away. Everyone agreed that this would be the right thing to do and she assured me that her children (whom I have never met but also suspect I would be quite fond of given that, having not yet reached the age of six, they both seem to be well on their way to becoming wild eccentrics, her son in particular, as he has a fondness and knowledge of lapels that is extensive and inspiring) would not miss Little Dog in the least.
So off we went. Little Dog met my friend The Artist in the salon where we gathered to gossip and scheme, and he was very well-behaved which is more than I can say for the rest of our party. He took the Tube with me, we moved The Artist into his new studio, we went out for lunch in Islington whereupon Little Dog was spotted: a table next to us, full of people in their mid-thirties spied him and incorrectly felt he was a terrier, but upon closer inspection, realised he was not (the ears aren’t at attention). We had a nice chat with these people, who admonished me for stealing him from a child, but understood implicitly how one could simply not resist travelling with Little Dog.
He came on the work away day, with Momma Dog, who I am allowed to play with (yes, I am nearly 40 years of age, and have a full time job and the ladies at my work only serve to encourage this sort of behaviour) only when I am having A Very Bad Day. I rock back and forth and bang my head on the desk, gripped with incredulity at the stupidity of certain people, and then lo! Momma Dog appears and someone rubs my back a bit and all is much better.
I was only meant to take him for the weekend but it’s been agreed that I get so much pleasure playing with him that I should be his rightful keeper. I take the job seriously, and ensure that Little Dog has a good life, filled with adventure.
Everyone in London was smitten with him, and didn’t find it in any way odd that I now kept a tiny plastic dog in my pocket. It’s important to have a sidekick, and since The Artist, who is normally my sidekick, is either in London, or Italy, or Vienna, something had to be done.
The Mom, for reasons that are unclear, finds my new obsession with Little Dog disturbing. Which I find unusual: we are a family known for a) our love of dogs, all sizes, shapes and makes b) having wild imaginations and c) talking to ourselves, out loud, and frequently in public. I feel my new found friend, who is only half imaginary, is quite reasonable given the context. And it’s not like I take him out to the pub in Bristol, just the two of us. Because that would be frowned upon, even here, where people use unicycles as methods of commuting.
And should you doubt his superior levels of cuteness, to wit, I give you this: