now we are five

Hiya, it is I, Bruce. I thought I would take the time today to say something about numbers

Once there were just three of us in this household: that is, yours truly . . .

. . . Kate (who moves slowly, with a stick) . . . .

. . . and Tom (who moves quickly, with a camera)

The three of us got along just fine. SNACKS and WALKS were in plentiful supply. I went running with Tom, and swimming with Kate. At the weekends, I got to see my friend Scout, and Mairi, our next door neighbour, would occasionally reward me with a POTATO.

Then BOB appeared. Three became four. Life’s steady rhythms were, for a while, disrupted, but they eventually settled down. BOB is by no means a dog of a reflective and philosophic disposition like myself – quite the opposite, in fact. But it turns out that BOB is very good company, and he is often entertaining. I became used to BOB.

But then, earlier this year, this guy turned up. His name is BRAN, and now we are five: two humans and three dogs. At first the BRAN was small. He wanted to chew my ears, snuggle up to me, and hang out with me in my bed. Now the BRAN is large. He still wants to chew my ears, snuggle up to me, and hang out with me in my bed. But whether the BRAN is small or large, ear chewing, dog snuggling, and bed sharing are not activities that suit my inclinations.

Tom and Kate spend a lot of time with BRAN, training him with a recall whistle, and teaching him to SIT and to LIE DOWN. BRAN receives many small meaty SNACKS (which are cruelly denied me) and is often told he is a GOOD BOY. Really? Speaking confidentially, I am not at all convinced that all the delicious meaty SNACKS which BRAN consumes are terribly well-deserved: for can BRAN go ROUND AND ROUND or OVER THERE as I can? Does he have a surprisingly large vocabulary which enables him to distinguish between a MALLARD and an ARTICHOKE in a line-up of rubber toys? Can he perform the deft and surprising manoeuvre that is known in this household as SWEET MOVES? I think not. But I suppose I can say that in both his smaller and larger incarnations, BRAN is much better behaved and less boisterous than BOB was in his younger years. We must all be thankful for small mercies.

Having five of us in the household has meant making some adjustments.

Whether indoors or out, three dogs is definitely a lot more dog than one.

Now that the dogs outnumber the humans around here, Kate and Tom have told me that no more further additions of a BOB or BRAN-like nature are currently planned. This is, I think good news. And I know that however many of us there are in this household, that I am, and shall remain, the dog original.

See you soon, love Bruce x