Thursday, December 29

mad dog

She gave birth to a small stuffed bear, which she protected with extraordinary savagery from predators like Victoria and myself. When she wasn't crouched snarling over it, she was drooling over it and cuddling it, and then would suddenly rampage around the house screaming... The worst was Christmas... Toto in a frenzy because somehow her stuffed bear of a baby had vanished and she decided that she had delivered herself of all the presents under the Christmas tree, and crouched, snarling among them—this meant that no one could approach the tree without being threatened—a mad dog is a mad dog, however charming to look at and sweet her nature, and her shows of teeth, saliva dripping from her muzzle, were terrifying among the pink and gold and silver and scarlet packages—when she went on one of her looping, screaming runs, we tried to gather up the presents, but either she would be back before we'd done, or if we shut her out she would patrol the hall screaming—so when it came down to it there was nothing we could do but leave them under the tree and let her embed herself. Eventually the stuffed bear was found on a high shelf in the kitchen and was placed on the floor some way from the presents. Toto ran to it, buried her face in it, licked it, stroked it and rolled it about, then carried it gently down to the basement, and put it to bed—and so, apart from sudden rushes upstairs to check briefly on her other family, under the tree, and other rushes through the flap and screaming circuits of the garden—which led to a petition from some of the neighbours asking us to confine her to the house, her garden screams were too distressing, and set their own dogs off—the situation held through to Boxing Day... In the New Year we got canine Prozac from the vet.

-- Simon Gray, in "Wish You Were Here" Granta 91