Yesterday was officially The Long Dog Friday at school. I took our new family member in to meet some of the kind benefactors who helped make his appearance possible.
Yes: Mr Long has arrived.
‘Badger’ to his friends, our silver dapple dachshund was introduced as a birthday present to Mrs B. It was on that date last year that the “Mr Long” epithet was first used in connection with Josh, when he collected his suit from his Vietnamese tailor. This year, giving Mrs B the good news on her birthday that Badger was on his way, seemed apt.
The new arrival has settled in well. It is easiest to describe the young pup by means of governmental slogans. Instead of “Hands, Face, Space” it is more “Pads, Paws, Claws”, although his major activities involve “Pee, Poo and Chew”. He has needle sharp teeth, claws like fish-hooks and an outlook on life that is best described in three more words: “Small Dog Syndrome”.
It is obvious to us that he is exceptionally intelligent. He has worked out how to get food out of his Kong toy and how to move tennis balls from baking trays to find treats. He retrieves thrown toys and is already helping in the garden, dead heading any flower that is within reach. And he is precocious: on the day he arrived he quickly learnt that water lilys do not hold the weight of even the smallest dachshund (the pond lifeguard was on hand to retrieve the sodden puppy as he rapidly sank).
Obviously his intelligence is boosted by the excellent home schooling he has been receiving, and while for much of the time he retains an adorable nature (i.e. when he is asleep) there are other times (when he is awake) when we would not mind being able to send him to boarding school, pay someone else to educate him and take the blame if it turns out he is not as bright as we first thought.
In the absence of such alternatives, he has instead been introduced to the family business, spending several fraught mornings in the bookshop testing Mrs B’s multi-tasking abilities. So far there have been no major disasters and we can already see that his reading age is definitely above average.
Badger is undoubtedly here for the long run.