Canine Tail

I am of a Labrador build, not the whippetesque shape of yesteryear. But now, by force of circumstance, I’m on the Spaniel Regime.


My brother-in-law’s dog has come to us for two weeks R&R. Bailey has thus become my four-legged furry personal trainer, walking me about nine miles daily, zigzagging across pavements, scuttling around bushes and wandering three times round trees. We sprint down the pavement to the park, as even a spaniel with a gut like Bailey’s cannot empty it in full flight. I’ve knock 5 second off my personal best already.


As a personal trainer, Bailey has great advantages. He’s a lot cheaper than the human variety, more friendly and is always available when I need a spot of exercise. On the flip side, with a two-legged PT you don’t have to pick up his poo in plastic bags. Bailey’s gut is perhaps not his most appealing feature, particularly its flatus evacuation feature. This does have advantages, pushing down my calorie intake as I’m unable to stomach lunch with him in the room.  There is a good business opportunity to breed dogs that don’t have a gut, just osmose their food, through their paws perhaps, or spray-on protein.


I’m now aware where all the pre-peed on lampposts are, best piles of leaves, bits of dead squirrel and doggy-do bins are. Yet about of the details of Bailey himself, I am sorely lacking. A delightful lady pulled up in her Mini yesterday and said that he was a lovely spaniel. I felt knowledgeable enough to be able to answer in the affirmative. However, when she asked what kind of spaniel he was, I floundered. I confabulated that he was a cross between a King Quexalt and a Golden Gutbinder, aware that by the time she googled it, I would be long gone.


On arrival, Bailey tried to eat our cat, the chaotic charging around feline-defending adding a sustained burst of max heart rate; good for my exercise program. The solution must be to feed Bailey so much of his rabbit pellet disgusting chunks that he couldn’t fit a cat in.


On the first night Bailey declined to go to bed, lying on his back, legs in the air. I rolled him over to standing, at which point his legs sagged and he became completely boneless. I staggered to the kitchen clutching a wriggling spaniel, back complaining, Bailey happy as a …well, puppy, really.


Bailey on the whole is terrific; happy, friendly, but as I pull out the dustpan and brush again I find myself swearing that the bulk of the dog is fine, but I really must train his tail.

Alison Gardiner


About alisongardiner1

Writer of YA series of books. Broadcaster/podcaster Litopia After Dark.
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