Love on the move

2012-12-12 00:00

BISCUIT might not be an entirely appropriate name. Her colour may be consistent with a “Tennis” or a “Marie” but, compared with her, these treats are far too plain and one dimensional. She rather reminds me of the rock cakes my mum used to make us. Round, rich, full of character and enough to bring a smile to even the most grumpy face. Pretty, too. Charleen thought so as well and so when the spring flush delivered its promise of love and the beautiful Biscuit showed physical signs of romance, a suitable suitor was sought. Jasper had impressive credentials. He was a Parson Russell Terrier (a show variety of the Jack Russell), boasted a fancy registration and lived in an up-market gated estate in Howick.

So one fine spring morning, Charleen and Biscuit arrived on his doorstep. It was love at first sight and after a brief introduction their relationship rapidly progressed beyond the platonic. There was one problem, though. The naïve and inexperienced Jasper kept falling over backwards. The two women orchestrating the manoeuvre tried a multitude of tricks to assist, involving steps of various heights and back supports of different designs. But they eventually conceded that their futile efforts were only serving to confuse and complicate. When they finally accepted defeat, they poured a cup of tea and sat down to discuss the alternatives, deciding, after much debate, that Jasper would accompany his new-found girlfriend back to the farm. Perhaps there, in an uncomplicated and serene farmyard environment, Mother Nature would wave her magic wand. And if she didn’t, then at least there was plenty of masculine assistance to coach him in the art of courtship.

His bags were packed and the happy couple were bundled into the back seat of the silver twin cab. Biscuit assumed her customary position, her front legs on the middle console, a picture of concentration, ears pricked as she enjoyed the vista through the front windows. Love was now a secondary interest and Charleen momentarily forgot about the visiting suitor as she made her way down the Tweedie on-ramp and onto the N3.

It was only when they drew abreast of the Midmar wall that she noticed a change in the demeanour of her pretty little charge occupying the commanding position on her left side. The alert and attentive posture was replaced by a confused and unsteady stance, her ears hung limply down and a somewhat unfocused glaze occupied her usually animated visage. And in her rear-view mirror, the driver spied that Jasper, his back cushioned by the lush rear-seat support and his face a picture of concentration and confusion (with what could be considered a smile occupying the gap where his teeth usually reside), had finally mastered the technique.

Charleen now had a dilemma. While she acknowledged that they had finally achieved what they set out to do, she had hoped that it would have been a bit more discreet and not nearly as public. She also understood that this was unlikely to be a 20-second romance. She had heard of dogs that had locked for hours. She couldn’t stop on the highway. It would be exceedingly embarrassing to sit in a cooped-up little space trying to ignore the activities on the back seat. And what if someone stopped to offer assistance? Would she survive the skandaal?

So she continued her journey, making sure that she did not exceed the speed limit. Imagine if she was pulled over by the cops? Would they buy her story? “Sorry, officer, I thought they were only holding paws”, just did not sound too convincing. Going up the incline from Cedara to Townhill, she was careful not to fall foul of the speed cameras. She wondered if they would have captured the finer details. And on the long down slope into town, she was hoping that she would not be overtaken by anyone in a larger vehicle (particularly someone she knew). They would have had grandstand seats. What about a Greyhound full of Japanese tourists? What would it do for international relations?

It was roughly three-and-a-half months later and I had just completed vaccinating eight beautiful little Marie biscuit-coloured puppies.

“So when did the saga end?” I asked Charleen, hoping for a dramatic denouement.

“We were taking a short cut through Maritzburg on the way to the farm. After a while, I noticed that Biscuit had relinquished her vantage point and was sitting demurely next to Jasper on the back seat. Nothing spectacular, just a rosy glow, a bemused smile and a contented look.”

That, I am sure, is enough.

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