Not the opening line to a 50s B-movie – or to be more friendly to any youngsters reading, not a line from a mid-post-millennial-teens meta-ironic-homage to a schlock cult horror movie of the 50s, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.
No, instead the utterance of my squeakingly delighted wife upon discovering, that “Billy” – one of our litter of seven Border Collie-German Shepherd puppies is slowly bringing his squinting attention to the outside world. “Billy” (name not changed to protect his identity but rather to ensure he doesn’t develop multiple personality disorder being that “Billy” won’t be his ultimate identity).
So why do we have seven puppies?
(Oh my God I technically own eight dogs).
Well, I don’t have to draw you a picture.
Except in fact it is vitally important to be shown a picture of canine copulation since in most cases the happy pair become entangled in something called a tie, where the male is trapped inside the female, but both are turned around facing out to protect them from predators in this most private of moments. If you are prepared for this and know, especially for their first time, that you, the owner, is encouraged to hold your procreating pooch to prevent distress, then your own distress can be assuaged.
If you didn’t know that your happy humping hounds would suddenly metamorphose into a shrieking, panting, undulating two-headed dog-beast, you might think you were in some fucked up version of Labyrinth, as directed by David Cronenberg.
This lovemaking lasts between 15 to 45 minutes. Thankfully in our case it was close to the former. That is better.
And where did our little pooch lose her virginity and to whom?
Margate, just like Tracey Emin. And to a huge white German Shepherd, just like Tr…
I suppose legally I should just walk away from that sentence.
Our dear friends Simon and Mariano are proud parents to Sven, a massive, snow-white, happy dappy German Shepherd. We had had one of those conversations along the lines of ‘imagine how beautiful their puppies would be … should we … I don’t know … well, would you keep one … yeah we’d keep one … well maybe we should …’ and then ended up taking Alba away for a dirty weekend in Margate, where Simon, Mariano & Sven currently dwell.
Sven likes the seaside. Sven likes drinking seawater. Sven likes throwing up as a result of drinking seawater. Sven is always happy.
So a delightful romantic weekend was had by all and not pinning our hopes on conception we kept our eye on our little one for a few weeks. Her behaviour remained constant, she didn’t put on any weight, her nipples appeared to swell a little, but we might just have been imagining that. Other than Giulia, our Franco-Italian Menagerie-Dweller (flatmate, we operate a small Dulwich-based commune) regularly walking up to Alba, staring at her and proclaiming in her elegant velvet-foghorn blare – “PREGNANT!” – we didn’t actually think it was going to happen. A little deflating perhaps, but as long as she’s a happy healthy little dog we’re happy. We could always try again another time.
Then the possibility of theatrical work came up. Helen had just made a marvellous Gertrude in Hamlet and was then offered the extension and tour of the show. A cast member was going to be unavailable and so the director floated the possibility and indeed viability of Helen and I going away on tour together. Nothing is ever signed and sealed in this business until you’re … well, signed and sealed, but until I’m actually on the stage no job is guaranteed. However conversations began, negotiations were entered into and it began to look a reasonably safe bet that I would be offered the role – or at least A role, and we would be spending the summer away from home.
Good thing she’s not pregnant really isn’t it, we thought.
Then came Chickengate. Chickengate was the infamous night the dog and the cat combined forces to steal and eat an entire freshly roasted chicken. Another commune-dweller, Nicky, had left a chicken overnight to cool. On a plate, underneath a plastic container.
The screenplay might look like this:
INT. Kitchen - NIGHT
Our slinky all-black feline hero MIDNIGHT leaps onto the granite worktop. She gently rubs herself against the round plastic cake-container sitting atop the freshly roasted and cooling chicken. It tilts slightly. She rubs more firmly, it tilts some more. Suddenly she freezes. She thinks she hears something. She continues. After a few more rotations there is enough of a gap for – canine co-hero ALBA leap up in one lightning-fast motion, grab a leg of the chicken sending the lid spinning into the air whilst pulling the dead chicken to the ground to be devoured bones and all by her and cat. The lid comes crashing back onto the plate as it was, like it had - never - been - moved.
In fact their joint endeavour was so successful and without evidence that the next day there was much confusion and some suspicion among the humans in the household for quite some time. Much later we realised that none of the adults nor children had stolen Nicky’s entire chicken, eaten it and then buried the bones in the back garden. Therefore – Occam’s – it had to be the pets.
Bugger. Chicken bones. We called the vet.
We don’t think she’s pregnant but she’s eaten an entire chicken and she may be. So, she can’t have an X-Ray if she’s pregnant, so just watch her OK. No, she isn’t displaying any of the symptoms we’ve read about, I mean her nipples might be a bit swollen but – oh, that means she’s ALMOST DEFINITELY pregnant does it? Oh, OK.
Wow. We had hoped and then put aside hope, and now we possibly had a job which would take us away from home for a bit. We were advised to watch her for the weekend and then bring her in on the Monday for a scan to confirm her almost-definite pregnant-ness.
Were we about to become dog-parents?...
TO BE CONTINUED.
(But - yes, obviously).