For all you out there
who might not know what a Meet and Greet is, I suppose I’d better
enlighten you. Meets and Greets are what we do in public
places (amongst other things) to show everyone what kind, sweet, gentle,
loving, uncomplicated, laid back, desirable, and, above all, modest
hounds we are.
At Meets and Greets we
take along collecting tins for the ‘pore dogz owtside’ as Discit
describes them in her e-mails, alias the Sanctuary dogs, who rely on
such generosity while waiting for some unsuspecting persons to come
along and offer them homes.
We also allow
ourselves to be stoked, tickled, fed and otherwise experimented with by
the general public. We pretend we haven’t heard the
questions before when we are asked, “Do they run fast?”, “Do they eat a
lot?”, “How long do they live?”, and “Are they allowed treats?” “Are
they retired?”, “Have they raced?”, “Are they old?”, “Do they like
cats?” and even, on occasions, “Are they dogs?”
I’m going to prepare a
list of standard questions and answers to give to John and Daff when
they next subject us to the dreaded Meet and Greet so we don’t have to
smile patronisingly every time we hear them. For instance,
to question number one, my answer would always be, “Yes, they all run
fast but nobody runs as fast as me.” About food –“No we
don’t eat a lot – would you if all you got day after day was boring old
biscuits with the occasional tin of sardines thrown in as a surprise?”
How long do we live –
well, how long do you think you will live? I intend
to go on forever. Are we allowed treats? Well,
to us, treats are like tips in restaurants; life would hold hardly any
meaning without them.
Are we retired – not
if we can help it; really smart greyhounds like me never work in the
Have we raced – yes
but only round our field, someone’s really decent lawn, or the beach.
Are we old?
Well, it’s like this – when we’re just born, we’re very young indeed,
and every day we get a little bit older, till like me, we’re in our
prime, or, like Sally, a bit over the hill, or, like some friends of
mine, really, really crumbly.
Do we like cats?
Do you out there like cats? Some of you will say you like
do; some will say you can’t stand them at any price.
Naturally, it’s just the same with us. Me – I like my friend
Gordon, but I think it’s a cheek when other cats come into our garden,
even though they don’t use it as a loo because Daff has crammed so much
stuff into it there’s nowhere to go.
Anyway, I’m telling
you this as we’ve just got back from a Meet and Greet. Daff
and her friend Auntie Cath dreamed this up at the Terrible Twins’
birthday party, and to me it was all a put up job, because Daff wanted
to go to Baytree Nurseries and John won’t usually let her go if he can
find a reason to stop her, because she always comes back with half the
garden centre (hence the reason we never get cats asking us if there’s a
toilet somewhere in the garden).
I’ve got to admit it
was less boring than some we’ve been subjected to, because being just
before Christmas at Baytree, there is a Grotto, and at weekends there is
a very long queue to see Father Christmas. Mr. Paddidog did
his usual exhibitionist thing and dressed up as Santa Paws, thinking the
queue would mistake him for the real Father Christmas, but he didn’t
have any presents for the children, so most of them preferred to stay in
the queue, even though they got very wet at times. He did
attract a lot of soppy “Ahhhs!” though.
This year we were
joined by Auntie Cath and Uncle Darren and, first of all, Fleck, and
then Flo. Vixter couldn’t be bothered coming out, which was
very sensible, as even with thick coats on, it was freezing.
We were quite near the children’s roundabout, and there was a lot of
noise. I don’t like noise; it makes me shake, which wasn’t a
bad thing, because everyone kept coming up to me and saying, “Oh, look
at the poor doggy, he must be really cold!” and giving me bits of
doughnuts. Actually, I was boiling and panting with all this
shaking, and the spit kept dropping off the end of my tongue onto a
rather nice, fluffy bed that Auntie Cath and Uncle Darren had brought
for their dogs but which they didn’t want (after I had had a word with
them) so we five shared it between us. I was warned that if
I made an issue about bed possession (which has been known in the past)
I would go straight home, so I behaved myself – well, as long as the
Morgan dogs didn’t contest ownership, there was nothing to make an issue
The real problem was
that the Morgan dogs had raced, so when people asked, they seemed
much more important than us five, even though I kept telling everyone
that smart greyhounds never race. I kept trying to draw
attention to my poorly foot, but unless John walked me round and I did
my best version of my limp, nobody realised that I was a poor cripple
and needed extra fuss. Maybe it was because I had a dirty
face; somehow I always get my dinner all over my nose and Daff had
forgotten to wash it off before we came out. I do admit that
that kind of thing can be a little off-putting.
The worst bit, though,
was the way that Mr. Paddidog fawned all over Flo.
Admittedly, she looked better in a coat, because you couldn’t see all
her embarrassing bare bits, but Mr. P. makes it so obvious that he
fancies her. I expect she thought he looked a prat in his
Santa outfit, because she ignored him quite a lot, although I suppose
they will be all over each other again the next time they get together
down the Patch.
It was a long day as
we started at 9.30 and the grown-ups didn’t start packing up till it was
getting dark. By this time, Santa Paws had gone to sleep in
his outfit, and the twins were giving John and Daff pathetic looks about
returning to the car, so we were loaded up while the tables were
dismantled and stowed away. It was lovely to snuggle down on
our beds in the big car; there were times during the day when we thought
we would never see them again.
Auntie Cath and Uncle
Darren came back to our place to help count the money.
Auntie Cath had bought a big coffee and walnut sponge cake but only the
grown-ups were allowed to have any, even though there was some left.
We all thought that was rather mean, especially as toxic Bluebell had
gone the whole day without yelling, screaming, whistling and whining,
which was a definite first for her, and reduced the tension so often
felt amongst grown-ups at times like this, and Discit had overcome her
shyness to survive a whole day without blowing a fuse.
We were, however,
allowed into the sitting room unsupervised, while the grown-ups
discussed grown-up issues round the dining table, like the open weekend
next year and whether we should have chips or paninis, or both, and
whether the stalls should be all dogs and horticulture, or whether we
could have some jewellery as well (Daff’s idea, of course – the bling
queen of south Lincolnshire).
It was a pity that
John decided to show Auntie Cath and Uncle Darren the fireplace he once
made. Auntie Cath had taken off her boots at the door, and
discovered by chance that there was a big, wet patch on the hearthrug.
I was rudely awakened from a deep sleep on the settee to be accused of
the deed because I was the only one who hadn’t done a wee since arriving
home, and everything went downhill from then, despite my protests.
So who did do a
puddle on the rug? Well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it?
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