Now, there are many things I could be accused of. Being slightly animal crackers is definitely one of them. However, I am not blind to my animal's faults. So as much as I adore our puppy, I know full well that he is a wolf in Spaniel's clothing, and given half a chance would scoff my chickens for a laugh. So you can imagine my horror when the little demon worked out how to open the back door when the girls were free ranging yesterday.
I was first alerted to something being amiss by a desperately squawking Betsy. Mind you, Betsy often loudly complains if any of the other hens get too close, so I didn't run immediately. It took a moment for me to realise that I was hearing that squawk a little too well. Getting up from the sofa, I saw that the back door was open and the dog was outside. Oh buttocks.
The chooks were nowhere to be seen, but offended chuntering was coming from the coop. I still couldn't see the puppy. Rounding the corner of the house, I heard a commotion coming from the garage and discovered a desperately flapping Gladys trying to achieve higher ground while a jubilant puppy yapped and jumped below her. The pup, being only 14 weeks old, is not great at following commands so my 'No! Leave it!' fell on floppy but deaf ears. In the end, I snagged the furry terrorist by the collar and hauled him in to the house. Shutting him in, I dashed back to Gladys's aid.
I found her perched on top of the fridge freezer, preening her tail in a most aggrieved manner. At first she resisted my attempts to rescue her, and squawked loudly at me instead. I imagine I was being royally told off for bringing the chicken worrier in to the house, and was probably getting a few chicken expletives thrown in for good measure. Eventually I coaxed the frazzled frizzle in to my arms and began the trek across the lawn to the Palace. At exactly that moment, the demon pup escaped again and began charging towards us in a frenzy of clumsy baby dog legs and gnashing needle teeth.
There was nothing else for it. Going purely on instinct, I stood in the middle of my garden, in full view of all of my neighbours, and barked and growled at the puppy. This strange behaviour brought him up short, and he stared at me in fascinated horror. Even Gladys considered me in a careful manner, as if appeasing a person who has just broken out of a mental asylum. Now that the chicken was safe and the dog had stopped in it's tracks, I realised I could probably...stop.
No harm was done to chicken or puppy, but I can't say the same for my local reputation.