From this one episode in his youth, Jonty has generalised to ALL Border Collies, or really any dog of the same size with black and white colouring. He can spot them a mile off, on the other side of the street, the other side of the park. There is always an instantaneous reaction - he stiffens, hackles rise, he growls. And you know what? They don't even have to be real dogs. All this business about dogs recognising each other through smell has whiskers on it. This is purely visual. We know this to be true.
Just up the road next to Martin the Hairdresser is a gay glitzy costumier, Hello Gorgeous. In the window of this shop, at ground level, sat a stuffed Border Collie. Whenever we walk past, Jonty barrels at the window, barking maniacally, hackles raised. He goes berserk, and passers by think it hilarious. We do too. So did the proprietor, who one day tucked the dog under her arm and introduced us - the dog's name is Rachel. Jonty went ballistic.
One day, we noticed that Hello Gorgeous was closing down. We couldn't let Rachel get away from us, we've had too much fun with her. So I went in and made a successful offer on Rachel. I smuggled her home in a big black bag, hiding her from Jonty. We planned a surprise event for Jonty this weekend. As I was describing our plan to our neighbour, Debbie, she said "Kate - are you playing a practical joke on your DOG?!?" I confessed, we were. Is that pathetic?
We were out walking with him at the 4 pm walk, and I slunk home before them. I set up Jonty's dinner bowl, with Rachel sitting at it. This was the view that greeted Jonty when he raced in looking for his eats.
We had our cameras ready, and Jonty did the entirely predictable. He went completely berserk. I even used my mobile phone videocam to take some videos with sound, and he performed a treat. What you are missing here is the growling and the barking and general carryon. We laughed and laughed, but eventually took Rachel away so he could eat his dinner in peace. We shall produce her occasionally and get him used to the idea of having a little friend.... or just to tease him some more.
Isn't it sad when you are reduced to playing tricks on your Pug!