Chats with Charlie: forever the bridesmaid

(17 June 2018) – Charlie has a new best pal for a couple of weeks. Westies can be fickle. Charlie’s best friends change as the dogs he knows come in and out of his line of vision. The most recent one he sees is always the favourite. Right now, today, at this moment, Mowgli is at the top of the list.

Mowgli is the chihuahua who’s staying with us for two weeks. We do dog sitting for Hounds on Holiday. Life with Charlie is a holiday, alright. Any dog spending even a day with him is well worn out by nightfall. Time not spent on its feet must be spent lying on the floor, napping.

It’s a lot like a human holiday. It can be so tiring that you’re glad to get back to work for a rest.

Charlie likes going for a walk with me and Mowgli. He thinks Mowgli makes him a big dog, and I suppose it’s true. When the three of us go around the block, Charlie’s on one leash and Mowgli takes up the other. They are fine with that until they get into an argument. Then the leashes can get tangled.

Charlie’s Scottish heritage gives him a very stubborn and dour attitude to life, especially when set beside Mowgli’s hot-blooded Mexican temperament.

Mowgli started things this morning. He was feeling a little larger than life and had a bit of a strut in his walk. Charlie did the wrong thing. He asked Mowgli why he was grinning like the cat who ate the canary.

“Ha!” said Mowgli. “Not a cat. Never a cat. I feel like the dog that bit the schnauzer.” Ah jeez, Charlie said to himself, I should have known better. It was on the radio this morning that Mexico beat Germany in the World Cup. I shouldn’t have asked, he thought.

He gave Mowgli the dourest of looks and said, “We don’t care about the World Cup. Scotland can’t even be bothered playing in it. We haven’t even tried for the last 20 years.”

Mowgli couldn’t contain his glee and started hopping up and down. Charlie went to the closest tree and lifted his leg. “Here’s what I think of your football,” he mumbled. “Mexico and Scotland have won the same number of World Cups, but Scotland did it without breaking a sweat.”

Mowgli followed Charlie to the same tree and lifted his own leg. “This year’s going to be different,” he said. “We’re on a winning streak already.”

Charlie just shook his head. He crouched down and looked straight into Mowgli’s eyes. “Go ahead and live in hope,” Charlie said. “Hope is for those who can’t get things done today.”

“Now you sound like the dog who can’t get the kennel built until next week,” Mowgli said. If he’d brought his cell phone with him he’d have put an LOL at the end. “We’re undefeated so far. Tied for first place in our group. The future is ours.”

Charlie walked away from the tree and glanced up at me. He stopped and turned around to face Mowgli. “You know,” he said, “there’s some in the people world sounding just like you. Even though it hasn’t happened around here in 28 years, they have this dream that one day they’ll get together and build themselves a proper kennel.”

Mowgli jumped up and down in delight. “Yes,” he said, “they came close seven years ago in Ottawa. Could have built one a couple of weeks ago in Toronto. Maybe they’ll get it done next time.”

Charlie shook his head. “Some people in his world,” Charlie nodded at me, “have an expression. Forever the bridesmaid, never the bride.”

“Mind your mouth,” Mowgli said. “Where I come from we frown on sexist sayings like that. Even if we don’t get to make the kennel ourselves, we can always tell the other dogs what’s wrong with the one they’re building.”

“I’m fed up even thinking about it,” Charlie muttered. “I’m never happy with the kennels we get. They always go badly.”

“But wasn’t the one a couple of weeks ago the worst?” Mowgli asked.

“No worse than what the American dogs did,” said Charlie. “The top dog down there wants to keep you chihuahuas out of the kennel altogether.”

Their nipping at each other was starting to get serious and their leashes were getting tangled. I tugged on them. “Come on you two,” I said. “We have a long block to get around. Stop your squabbling and start walking.”