“By my reckoning we’ve got about 60 seconds,” Andy glances around nervously.
“Make sure you’ve got everything, and then we’ll make a dash for the front door,” I grab my bag, and get ready to run.
“Three, two, one … go!”
We jump from the car, sprint for the front door, I slip the key into the lock, turn it, and the door opens.
We made it.
“Damn. I’ve left my phone in the car.”
It was a rookie error. I cautiously look out the front door. All is quiet.
“I think we’re okay,” I whisper. “I’m going for it.”
I run back to the car, open the door, and grab the phone.
Then I hear it. The excited whimper that precedes the storm.
I turn to see a black blur streaking along the path. It clears the garden gate in an Olympian leap and crashes into me like a cartoon Tasmanian Devil. Paws pummel me, I’m headbutted, and a long tongue slaps at my face, seeking out my lips to try to slip me the tongue.
Not for the first nor last time, I’ve been Bill’d.
Bill is one of the neighbours’ dogs, a young and boisterous border collie who seems to have modelled himself on Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Bill is lovely, friendly, and wants to be a good sheepdog. But he simply can’t keep his excitement under control.
Whenever he hears another human voice which isn’t his owners, he goes into a frenzy and launches an all-out assault of love. The postman gets Bill’d on a daily basis. Luckily, he’s known Bill since puppyhood, and is an old hand at warding off his advances. But Bill can resort to ingenious new tactics every now and again. On one occasion, he didn’t initially launch a full-on assault. Instead, he jumped into the post van whilst the mail was being pushed through the letterbox, then launched his attack from inside the van when P the Postie returned to his car, thinking he’d avoided being Bill’d.
Bill is like a canine version of Cato from The Pink Panther movies.
Andy is less tolerant of Bill’s assaults than me, but that’s because she’s had any number of freshly-put-on blouses and jumpers smeared by Bill’s muddy paws after an enthusiastic greeting. I don’t mind the physical assault, it’s impossible not to laugh when you’re being Bill’d, but I’m not so keen on his habit of trying to slip the tongue. The first time he did it, I wasn’t ready, and, for a millisecond, his tongue successfully slipped between my lips.
I still feel a bit queasy whenever I remember it, especially as Andy has just told me a story about her dropping off the compost with A and C, our neighbours, to see Copper (one of two small terriers) vomiting on the utility room floor.
Guess who lapped it all up?
(Note: The photo of the dog assaulting Andy is of Bonnie, Bill’s sibling. It’s too dangerous to take a photo of Bill during one his attacks.)