When Opportunity Knocks (or, rather, calls)...

Katherine Longshore 4 Tuesday, July 12, 2011

For those of you who didn’t read Donna’s post yesterday (and if you didn’t, why not?  Go look now), you may have guessed we’re talking about pets this week.  As Donna said, pets are great for writers – companions who don’t talk (but still, amazingly, interrupt!) – and provide great comic relief.  Pets worm their way into our hearts, our blog posts, and sometimes, even our books.

I have a dog.  He’s a quintessentially English dog who lives up to the old phrase, “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.”  Because he is both (mad and English), he will lie – bellyup – in the sun when it is 113 degrees in the shade.

We got him from the RSPCA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).  They had found him alone in a too-small cage on the side of a busy country road.  In England, when you are all alone, you are “all on your todd.”  So that’s what they named him.  And it stuck.

Though he didn’t appreciate the journey (the British Airways stewardess could hear his crazed barking in the hold through the floor of the first class cabin) he did appreciate the move to California.  It’s warmer here.  And we go to the beach more often. 

He also appreciates my writing career.  And has learned to capitalize on it.  Even at the ripe old age of fourteen, he is an opportunist of the highest degree.  He can’t see very well anymore, and his hearing is definitely going.  But his sense of smell makes up for that.

My agent lives in Australia.  So telephone calls from her are a big deal.  Early this spring, I had just returned home from a massive grocery shopping trip (trying to make up for a week of dinners of grilled cheese sandwiches and naked pasta).  I had a bag in each hand (canvas of course, we’re nothing if not eco-friendly in this house), managed to kick the door shut and the phone rang.  In my purse.

So I dropped everything (literally), saw that the call came from Catherine, and took it in my office (read – bedroom with a desk in it). 

Business finished, I went about the rest of my evening, put everything away in the kitchen and got the food on the table when I heard squeaking. Todd makes this noise when he’s in distress. 

I found him in the living room.  In the middle of the floor.  Squeaking.

Right next to a Styrofoam tray.  Licked clean.

I had left one of the bags of groceries on the sofa.  And the temptation of a pound of steak proved too much for him. This is a small dog.  Twenty pounds, tops.  So a pound of steak distended his belly to drum-like proportions.  I couldn’t tell if he was squeaking because he was disgustingly full or because the steak was gone. 

Todd, unlike Donna’s Goat Puppy, was not at all sorry.


I love the posts this week. And my favorite line so far is "companions who don’t talk (but still, amazingly, interrupt!" Perfect. My golden, Cody, is a master at the tiny nudge while I'm trying to write...it's annoying until I see that 'eye-down, nose-up' look.

Anyways, great job, Donna and Katy. I've got a lot to live up to this week! Y'all set the bar high.

Look at that face!!! (And tongue!)Can't stand it. Great pictures on the posts. Reminds me of how much I love our pets--and I need reminders as since kitten has come to live with us a major piddling fest from our older cats has been in full swing (on bare legs poking out from under the covers in the dead of night...).

That is a perfect photo. So smug.

And I like that phrase, "all on your todd." I hadn't heard it before.

Anyway, he's a cutie!

We certainly love him, despite bad behaviour and misdeeds. Can't imagine life without him.

It's been fun reading (and writing) about pets this week! PB -- may the piddle fest end soon. And don't worry, I'm sure Bret has a few good dog stories up his sleeve for Friday.

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