02 February 2019

Once upon a time... there were two dogs...

                                Inspiration to write Once upon a time... there were two dogs...  came after visiting a dog rescue centre. Although excellent conditions prevailed I worried about the dogs left behind, imagining them quietly crying Hey, it's my turn, or Please, Missus, give me a break.     
The seed was sown and two fictitious characters, Butch and Ginger, were born. One story was all I intended to write but demand for more was so encouraging a few others were penned.                    
Chapter 1

Even dogs can hope for better things

It was the way he stroked my ears through the bars that gave me the idea he fancied me rather than Ginger in the next run, though by the clamour Ginger was making it sounded as if he thought otherwise. I'd never seen him so active, galloping aimlessly round his enclosure, only stopping to issue those attention-seeking howls. The man had given him a cursory glance, then came to scrutinise me, shunning Ginger as if he was the worst captive canine he'd ever seen. And all down to the howls. I had to admit they were greatly off-putting, that's why, now I was the butt of the man's inspection, I was staying cool and not trying to win him over with silly tricks.

Somewhat experimentally I sneaked my tongue out to lick one of his fingers. It tasted kind of interesting, as if he'd been gnawing chicken legs with bare hands. I knew about chicken legs. That's why I was caged up in this unholy place; because I ate the old lady's supper when she was out. Not an adventure I ever had an urge to dwell on with all the caning and outraged bellowing that went on.

The man crouched to get a better view, then stared me straight in the eye. It was a strange thing to do to a dog and I wondered if he was being hostile. If he was, I was in trouble, but he looked genuine enough so I ignored it. If he'd a mind to offer me a home I didn't want to spoil things, especially if there was chicken in the offing. I had a vision of chicken scraps in a huge brown bowl (with mixer and gravy the way the old lady served it in the old days) until the iron gate at the end of the pens crashed open and knocked the thought away. I could hear the Gaffer pounding towards us, his hobnailed boots striking the concrete like a salvo of bullets.

'Fancy him do you, Buddy?' he yelled as he approached the man.

'How much you asking?'

'Fifty, providing you can give him a decent home. And I'll need references.'

I planted the ears back in amazement. Since when did buying a Staff need references?

Ginger's tethering chain began to rattle as he clawed that damned ear of his; he'd been plagued by dreaded mites for a while. Well, he could keep them to himself if he didn't mind, an invasion this side of getting adopted was out of the question. It wasn't every owner who could tolerate infestations, I realised that when the old woman brought me in and stridently advised the Gaffer to scrub my ears with Lysol. The mere sound of the word sent me dithering into a corner but to give the Gaffer his due he simply used drops to cure the irritation. 'So, if you can hear me, Ginger, quit showering me with your bugs.'

Chicken Fingers said, 'I really wanted a bitch.'

A bitch? He had to be joking. What use was a bitch to a bloke like him. Slurping water from the steel dish as if it was a cure-all for shock, I pinned the ears further back so as not to be distracted when I studied his face. A dog's man if ever I saw one, beefy and hard. Suddenly he bounced upright, his thighs quivering with the exertion. I followed the curve of his leg until my eye rested on his corpulent gut, and thought of all the meat it must have taken to make it grow so big.

'The wife wanted a bitch,' he said.

Dejectedly, I lay down and put my muzzle on my paws. The fantasy was over. Chicken Fingers had a wife, which meant I was doomed to stay forever with Irish Ginger and the wretch who looked after us.

Chicken Fingers stooped again and poked his hand through the bars. 'He's a fine looking animal,' he said.

I raised an eyelid.

'I'm sure the Missus will understand when she sees his funny grin.'

Scrambling to all fours, I began to pant with excitement, but I didn't run about. Good behaviour was of paramount importance if I was to be salvaged from this dump and transported to a place where a Missus cooked chicken and fed her man until he could hardly move.

The Gaffer reached up and drew the bolt on the gate. Merciful heaven, the gate swung open and liberty loomed. Producing a leather strap from his trouser pocket, he rapidly slid it over my bonce. 'Come on, Butch. Go walkies with the nice gent.' Turning to the nice gent, he added, 'And don't let him pull you. He'd tug a bus to the ground if he was let.'

Chicken Fingers laughed and scratched the spot between my ears, making me go all gooey inside. 'Don't worry,' he said. 'I'm used to dogs.'Then he rubbed the tip of my ear, little knowing it was another of my sensitive spots. 'Things'll be fine when he's found his bed and had his first bite of grub.'

Spinning my tail to show I approved of his plan, I immediately looked up and down the gully trying to remember the way out. Ginger shoved his nose through the railings and gave a subdued bark, and I woofed at him: 'Hey, Ginger. It was my funny grin that got me placed. Now, if you really want to get out of here....

'How much for the Setter, mate?'

I shot my head round to stare at the new man in my life. He was surely not thinking of taking Ginger as well as me. Him and Missus must live in a mansion.

'Same,' Gaffer said. 'Fifty and a good home.'

'They'll have that all right. We live on a farm. Fields to run in and a barn to share.'

'Won't the wife create if you buy two dogs?'

'If she saw the mutt's downcast expression, she'd be cross if I didn't. I ask you, in all conscience how could I leave him behind?'

As if he had the sense to know what was going on, Ginger yapped wildly and started to chase his tail, taking no notice of my warning that if he didn't behave he'd be left behind; however, since he hadn't been incarcerated as long as me, I suppose he hadn't had to learn the hard way.

A similar strip of leather went over Ginger's head, stopping him in his tracks. Gaffer said to him, 'Okay, Ginger. You're off as well.'

And with that the nice gent clipped a lead on my collar and looped it through Ginger's so we couldn't help but walk as one, and we were led away, my short legs racing to match Ginger's stride. I didn't care, I'd have slid on my belly if needs be. So we vacated the squalid billet that had been our home, glad to go yet grateful for the shelter it offered when no-one else would take us in. Perhaps one day we would return but in the meantime we'd have Chicken Fingers for boss and chicken legs, if we were lucky, for our rations.


  1. Good old Chicken Fingers! I enjoyed your canine tale.

    1. Thanks, Dave. I hope the other chapters areas pleasing.

  2. Valerie, I so enjoy how you create your characters (whether they be humans, cats or dogs) and make them come alive so clearly and so believable.

    I love the dog named, Ginger, because when I was kid, my family had a German Shepard with the same name. However, she was female. And what a wonderful, loyal, and smart dog was she!

    Looking forward to reading your next chapter!

    Have a super Sunday, my friend!

    1. With me it was a ginger cat and still is. The family did have a dog so I thought I would copy the cat tale idea. I am pleased you enjoyed the first chapter.

  3. Thank heaven Ginger got to go, too!

    I really enjoyed the story

  4. Glad that both dogs were adopted by chicken fingers an will be waiting for the sequels, Valerie. We received a notice that Google+ would be ending, but neither of us use that Google feature and it was sent to the blog address we mutually use.

    1. Hi Beatrice. It is a relief to know that someone else received THE email. It has put me in a right panic with regard to matters other than Google.

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  6. I received the same email and the reason they are ending google+ is probably b/c no one used it, ha. Great start to the story!

    1. kden, it is interesting that some people got the email and others didn't.

  7. Another wonderful story Valerie, and I am looking forward to the next instalment :)

    1. Thanks for reading, Denise. I hope you enjoy this series.

  8. I believe so that dogs hope better things.

    have a wonderful weekend

  9. I received the email too and it's on my main blogger page as well. As far as I'm aware I don't use Google + but it will effect anyone who comes on your blog and comments using it, and also followers I think, but I don't know how. I assume it's followers that use the Google + gadget, but I don't.

    Lovely story btw!

    1. Glad you liked the story, Joe. As for Google plus, I and many others didn't notice the plus sign... hence the panic.

  10. Dogs are the best. And dog stories by Val are awesome. Thank you.


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