***If you missed installment #3, click here.
To start from the beginning, click here.
FOURTH AGE…”a soldier, full of strange oaths and bearded like the bard, jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, seeking the bubble reputation even in the cannon’s mouth”…
Nick was an English Beefeater at heart,
Serve and Protect – he was there to impart
To the postman, a stranger, my mother – Beware!
“I’ll bite first – then ask questions for any who dare
Knock at the front door, or enter my yard
Will be bitten on site!” signed, Security Guard.
Whenever he saw or heard something outside,
His temperament changed from Jekyll to Hyde,
A misguided misanthropist – a seeker of thrills,
Our very own Hound of those dear Baskervilles…
The rabbits who roved in our yard were alert,
The squirrels and cats with this squirt wouldn’t flirt,
For they knew, that within lurked a phantom – a beast
Whose prime motivation was to make them deceased!
If alien beings appeared in our yard,
Niki revved up his voice box and barked very hard,
And before I could stifle his inbred depravity
He’d fly out the door, defying all but the gravity…
A heat-seeking missile, he’d be hot on their tail,
A dog on a mission who just couldn’t fail,
The unfortunate twist, though, something Niki did hate,
Every foe he pursued had rehearsed its escape.
One, I recall, missed a turn and retreated
Right under our deck, at which time it secreted
An odor so noxious, it put Nick in a funk,
He learned in that moment not to chase down a skunk…
Well…let me tell you, Niki sure got his fill,
He showed up at the back door looking forlorn and ill,
When I finally caught wind of his horrid aroma,
I swear that it nearly put me in a coma!
“Good gracious!” I gasped as I started to choke,
“You bonehead!” were the only two words that I spoke,
Poor, down-trodden Niki, now a victim of wrath,
Had an uneasy feeling that my anger spelled bath…
I explained Nick’s aversion to grooming,
But this time was different as that skunk smell was looming,
For what seemed a lifetime, I hosed him and rinsed,
I soaped him; I scrubbed him; he whined and he winced…
Don’t tell my daughters; I want this fact unknown,
In my panic I sprayed Nick with their Eau de Cologne,
But I had no more options, what else could I choose?
You might have done the same thing had you been in my shoes!
Living is learning some wise guy once said,
And I think this experience went right to Nick’s head,
From that day, he had learned, what is wrong – what is right,
And to never! Not ever! Hunt things black and white.
We spent time in the backyard where boys will run free,
Niki’d start in with taunting: “No chance catching me!”
And he’d take off like lightning with me in pursuit,
Thor chased by Igor – things just didn’t compute,
I panted and ranted; he’d zigzag and swoop,
There were time I’d lose focus and step in his poop!
I would freeze; Nick would know that our game had just ended,
He could sense from my actions, I was somehow offended…
So he held firm his ground from a fairly good distance,
Hoping I’d take the path – one of lesser resistance,
“You win! I concede! What’s a guy s’posed to do?
When his best bud plays dirty…I’ve got poo on my shoe!”
Then, off to hose I would tip-toe and wince
All the while, he would watch me, my Cockapoo prince…
Who, by the way…
Was ever alert and never stopped hopin’
That someone forgetful would leave our gate open,
An obvious invite – a chance to explore
A world mostly viewed from behind a closed door…
No second thoughts needed, his instincts alive,
Niki made his escape – start the countdown, from five…
With reckless abandon, no regard for the rules,
This intrepid explorer sought out riches and jewels,
Fearless, no care of the least consequence
Like a coureur de bois (after all, he was French!)…
He knew he’d be found out, so he didn’t waste time,
Straight to a hydrant where he stopped on a dime
And sniffed in the scent of each Tom, Dick & Harry
Then peed on it too – to make other dogs wary…
But freedom is fleeting – the posse approaching,
And Sheriff would claim he would still need more coaching,
So off to the neighbour’s where they caught him a-stoopin’
Yup, they got him red-handed; our cowboy was poopin’…
I’d take him for walks, even that was a chore,
Overlooking the fact I had two feet – not four!
He would pull me along – Hey, what could I do?
It was often the case of ” who’s walking who?”
I knew what the rush was; I was ready for war,
Territory was one thing but Nick wanted more!
I get it…
Dogs peeing and pooing is a natural defense
Of keeping their ‘neighbours’ on their side of the fence,
Nick’s need for relief bordered on the perverse,
Was his aim to lay claim to the whole universe?
Nick had the instincts of a cat, more a leopard,
And he’d mastered a bark that would scare off a shepherd,
It was his way of knowing that he’d never bungle
His chance to portend he was King of the Jungle!
Granted, his size, was no match for the ruthless
Who sensed Niki’s carriage was bogus and toothless,
My sheep in wolves’ clothing often got a good lickin’
From dogs, who knew deep down, that Nick was a chicken.
One day, for example, he confronted a Chow Chow,
A much larger hound with a much meaner bow-wow,
“Hey pal!” Niki growled, “Just get out my the way!”
“Go ahead,” said the Chow Chow “Let’s see you make my day!”
Brave Nick, like Houdini, he struggled and strained
And finally got free from his leash which restrained,
He went charging at full speed – a dangerous pace,
In a second the Chow had put Nick in his place…
Niki the Ruler of north, east, west and south
Ended up captive in the bigger dog’s mouth,
To avoid imminent death in this ugly ‘kerplunkle’,
Nick did submit, yes he quit, he cried “Uncle!”
On another occasion, one that drove Niki crazy,
Was the time he put moves on a Shih-Tzu named Daisy,
Ladies are lovers when wooed by a fellow
Who carries himself with a temperament mellow,
But Nick, as we know, lacked that je ne sais quoi,
His timing was off; (his number one flaw)…
So he never reached first base and came home with a limp
A true oxymoron, a bona fide jumbo shrimp.
And that my dear friends is a glimpse of Nick’s life,
Who lost many battles and did not gain a wife;
His bubble was burst more than I care to say,
But we must give him credit: he had earned his bouquet…
***Please note: installment 5 coming Feb. 7