Supervising kidnapped doggies at Freddy’s Farm is rewarding work, so sez Checkers. Until his three paws are turned upside down by a gorgeous ex-racing greyhound. Fourlegs love is cruel. Cast out, broken-hearted, and surrounded by enemies, he’s gotta snifz out who his besties really are
A particularly exhausting time in Westley Piddle, that undistinguished town on the Thameslick between Bisham and Cock Marsh. Exhausting, coz Spring is up and causing trouble.
Lyk, hiding important marker posts behind sprouting green shoots. Lyk, making branches leaf-heavy and hiding all thems pooping spots. Spring is working hard to make even the most decents of fourlegs curl up, snout buried in butt, and submit.
That daft hot ball in the sky is bouncing its way up and letting fourlegs know noshing time’s arrived –
‘nother day, ‘nother noshing opportunity
Chuckles Chippy cod special today, fellas
Eyeballs on that bin wotz tipped over, lyk, ‘round back of Mackers
Let the day’s noshing festivities begin. Exhausting!
Checkers, the Johnston Bull Terrier wot supervises new fourlegs guests at Freddy’s Farm stretches out all three legs, splaying furry paws and sighing in luxury.
Ah, so good to be alive and hungry he growls to no one in particular.
Speak for yorself a bark from one of the cages answers back.
I am, so shut it, Scroggy he answers the Redbone Coonhound.
Checkers, known as ThreeLegs to the intimates, has a mind to go treat that dumb muttwit to some earflap chewing for interrupting his morning thinkings. Trouble is, today’s most valuable appropriated guest at Freddy’s Farm is Scroggy. ThreeLegs risks a right kicking from Freddy, the purply red-sniffing boss of Freddy’s Farm.
Instead, he stops his thinkings and starts his daily lurchings. Single front leg pitches forward in tent pole fashion, the two hind legs raising up the rest of him in a seesaw motion until he’s fully standing. He often wonders wot life might be lyk with a reversed 2-1 leg layout. Lyk 1-2, instead. Corss, then he might stand bold chested and intimidating in front of the caged fourlegs with his two sticks out front, solid support underneath that broad chest and fine head piece. Absolutely better. And a lot easier to play role of head guest gnasher and enforcer.
Nah he thinks, as he always does immediately after thens I only gets me one rear toe. Can’t cock a leg with one rear toe. Nah, not good at all Checkers me old darlin’
Now that he’s up on his pins ThreeLegs hobbles from his favorite spot in the yard and into the barn where all the guests are kept, caged and accommodated.
Top of the mornin’ all me guests and inbreds he shakes a wide snout at the rows of fourlegs, each in its own cage. Peering at thems closely with small eyeballs shiny as black pebbles another fine day to bask in the joy of me efficashos company
Fours reply in a sullen mutter.
Say wot? ThreeLegs questions, a nasty edge beneath the bonhomie – wot can turn him right nasty. And right fast, too. Woe betide the unfortunate muttwit to appreciate that before ThreeLegs has noshed his brekkers.
Ah said mornin’ all, me little darlin’s?
Morning all they all mutter a touch less sullenly – just enough to prevent any chewing of earflaps.
Yessirees. Another basking opportunity to impress me – if yer all wants brekkers and t’keep holds of yor plum bobs stopping at the entrance to the bitches cage at the far end of the barn. Cocking a leg he impresses thems with a mighty and authoritarian squirt.
The most important reason to keep hold of two back pins.
Better out than in ladies shaking earflaps before wedging his snout through the bars, sniffing at the ladies.
Nothing lyk some sporting eightleggers to get the day off to that ‘ealthy start he pushes open the spring-loaded door and steps in. A diminutive King Charles Spaniel squints up at him, trembling.
Ello Veronica, me delightful, if yu will allow… ThreeLegs hobbles ‘round behind her, not caring a dog-damn if the little lady is allowable or not.
Βία, pronounced Veeyah, the racing greyhound, thinks she’s in a chasing dream. But her eyeballs are wide open. The world is racing past in a sniffy blur of colour just lyk it does at the track. But she’s not running today.
Corss not, yer silly tart she shakes herself remembering she’s chained in the back of a growling roundlegs yu got no sense for an English Derby winner, init? she growls to herself.
Not that she’s been doing much racing lately wot with her front paw ankle all blue purply-sniffy.
No worries. Beforenows she’s taken many a tumble on the track, recuperating over the space of a few squirts before returning fighting fit.
S’pect we’re off to the dog’s right now snoutz holes making a mist on the back window, dreaming of the track curving away in front of her. Back legs spasm in anticipation.
Up front two very dark sniffy hindlegs are scritching at one another.
“firstimeyouboughtadoggy,Fred” scritches a thin one, orange-sniffing of meatlegs nosh.
“Whaddyamean,Terry?” scritches the other, filling up the space and sniffing of solid red danger.
Freddy eyeballs Terry in silence, redness spilling out every which way.
Βία’s snout recognises most of the tracks ‘round abouts but she don’t recognise this track. Truth is, she can’t even eyeball the track. However, she knows it must be there coz the place is well sniffy with loads of fourlegs. But, not one healthy racing snifz among thems. Disconcerting that!
The door pops open “c’monthen,moneybags”
Βία spills out, a coiled spring released, trotting in circles, stretching and shaking herself down. Racing muscles don’t lyk resting. Butt pressed down and a long squirt in the gravel courtyard of wherever the hell she is.
A reeking sniff separates itself from the background of fourlegs colour. Turning her graceful head, eyeballs peering down the long bony barrel of her snout, and landing upon a squat and heavy fourlegs trotting her way. Except trotting is too polite coz this fourlegs is lurching along on only three pins.
“nicelynowCheckers” the sniffy red hindlegs warns, wagging its handpaw at him “thisone’smoney!”
“honestmoney” adds the orange sniffy hindlegs “paidforcash,andall,initFred?”
Is she now! Checkers hobbles right up and let’s his snout introduce itself all over her blue steel fur ‘ello petal
Βία lets him lurch ‘round abouts her, sniffing away down at the nether end, up to the front end, and back down again to the nether.
“Isaidnicely,Checkers,andnotouchingBeeArr” the sniffy red hindlegs scritches.
Got it Freddy ThreeLegs bumps snoutz Bee-who?
Don’t let him upsets yu, my plum purrs Checkers at Βία always scritching off lyk that with new guests
I’m not – and my private end’s off limits for unsupervised breeding
Ooh, better get me permit sorted gurgles Checkers and lest I forget me manners, me name’s Checkers raising his snout conspiratorially known as ThreeLegs to all me besties
And I s’pose yor the big dog of the yard, right? Βία eyeballs him disdainfully, a sudden urge to lunge at his thick muscled throat. Sniffing danger, and being a bit of a survivor, ThreeLegs backs out of biting range. His snout holes dribbling lust.
Where’s the track? Βία continues, dismissing ThreeLegs as a dumb hired paw.
The wot, puddings?
ThreeLegs hops from back legs to front leg to back legs, unused to a female addressing him without a shred of fear. Worse still, he ain’t gotta clue wot she’s gaffing about.
Racecourse, yer muttwit!
Oh that! understanding emerges alongside his big grin right this way, princess he hobbles off towards the barn and the ladies quarters chop chop
A moment’s pause and Βία reluctantly follows.