The Story Of The Awesome Dog

On the weekend there was a story on the radio about the Australian War Memorial holding a day-long event to honour the contributions made by animals over the years in the Australian military (here’s a link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-23/tribute-to-animals-serving-in-australian-war-effort/5277992). This got Laetitia and I talking, as we’re animal lovers, you could say, and while it seems to be a truism that it is cruel to include animals in a conflict they know nothing about, it is also true that if they are highly trained and do their job well they do have a contribution to make, and the unfairness of it all – if that’s the right word – only highlights the truly heroic things some of these animals have done over the years.

And we said we would take in a war veteran dog if there ever was a war veteran dog needing a home, and we taunted the pair of our own dogs about their lack of resourcefulness and practicality in comparison to a dog who has recently had a highly responsible job to do in a dangerous place with bullets flying around. We often taunt the dogs[1], challenging them to pay their own way and questioning why they don’t show a bit of ambition and go and beg on the street. The YouTube video of Domino singing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ2ltdtI9v0) is a record of what could have been a majestic canine musical career, but sadly the TV show that puts on the funny videos – allegedly funny, and yes, it’s still on television – didn’t deem this material worthy to be shown alongside brides falling into ponds and men getting hit in the balls with a swing. It would have been a contribution to the household economy, this singing act, if it had been allowed to get off the ground, but like Decca rejecting The Beatles, the producers failed to recognise Domino’s talent.

This got us thinking about adopting a former dog soldier, and our imaginations ran with the idea a bit, and we talked about this fictional animal, who I named SAS Dog, building things and remodelling and planning and organising. SAS Dog would construct an extra storey on top of the kennel and make other modifications as well. SAS Dog would dig in the backyard – behaviour we see evidence of too often from our pair – but in this case it would be to irrigate the veggie gardens. In short, SAS Dog would be awesome.

In my mind a sort of plot emerged. Initially SAS Dog would think Dom and Lil were losers who are incapable of doing anything useful and they wouldn’t know how to relate to their new gruff housemate either. The first chapter of the story would be about the clash of cultures and then they would all somehow learn that they had something in common (food possibly?) and realise that they could in fact get on after all, albeit in a limited fashion (like SAS Dog might need his space or something). And then the second chapter would see SAS Dog getting to know the other two and asking about things they like to do and things they don’t like. They would say they didn’t like the little fluffy white yappy dog across the road, and SAS Dog would ask what they do when it barks, and they would say they bark back at it. After he told them they were lame in the extreme, they would tell him that they bark very very loudly, really make him know to watch his step, and remind him not to come anywhere near them on the other side of the road, when his owner takes him outside and he does a wee on the grass of the next door neighbour’s nature strip. “So you just bark more?” SAS Dog would ask. “He pisses on the grass, right in front of you, and you just bark a bit louder?” And SAS Dog would say he had a better idea, that he had fought the Taliban and barking didn’t get anything accomplished. And the next time the little dog was taken for a wee outside on the nature strip of the house next door a landmine would detonate.

And, well, that was the rather over the top end to the story. It was a silly ending to a story which had a silly premise and was shot through with silliness and gaps in logic. But there you go.

Is this evidence of being a writer, to create a story where no-one needs one and no-one has asked for one, and out of the least promising of material? Or is it being a writer to allow your imagination to wander off into the realms of absurdity when you really ought to be doing something else, like actually writing something? Perhaps it doesn’t indicate anything at all: it’s just evidence of being slightly unhinged.


[1] The dogs might not be capable of understanding all of the nuances of everything we say to them. There’s no good evidence either way, but we tend to think they understand quite a lot of English.

 

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Published in: on February 24, 2014 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

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