I’ve written about Huckleberry before, the dog that was born when I was about seven and whose nature was so lovely that I want to replicate that by naming another dog after him. Yes, I know that doesn’t work. Doesn’t really matter, after all, I don’t really expect Ro to strangle a leopard to save someone’s life, although he’s named after my great-uncle who did just that.
Huck was the only dog I’ve known who led you where he wanted you to go. He would take your wrist in his mouth (it never hurt, he never hurt anyone) and take you there.
He was left-pawed and his father, Simon de Montfort, was right-pawed. So, Simon opened the drawing room door and Huckleberry the dining room door.
Neither of them was in the least needy or dependent. We were certainly the staff and did what was expected of us. Simon had an exaggerated sense of dignity – in his life, I never saw him empty his bowels, nor Huck, and they wouldn’t “go” when taken for a walk on a lead. Simon had a huge vocabulary – some words, if we didn’t want him to know what we were talking about, we had to say in French, then after he learned that, Spanish and finally spell them out. The biggest insult was to say “you smell”, when he would stalk out of the room in high dudgeon (what does high dudgeon mean, exactly, I wonder? Is there any other sort of dudgeon?) Once, he got shut in the downstairs loo and, when we realised and opened the door to let him out, he wouldn’t talk to any of us for the rest of the day.
The dogs would all work as a team – if one was shut in a room and couldn’t open the door, one outside would push the door open. Or, if it was latched, Huck would come and bring someone to open it.
The dogs had chair rights. My father usually managed to hang on to a place on a sofa, but the rest of us usually had to sit on the floor.
I’ve got a picture upstairs – I’ll look it out tomorrow and add it. It has a young Z in it, from when I was about 10 years old. It was taken outside, it doesn’t include any chairs.