Our dog is a wag; and I don’t just mean of the tail-bending, friend-making variety. Nor, for that matter, is she a wag-tail of the nesting, chittering, chattering, swooping type that used to fly at her outside the Malcolm Street apartment – she used to look at them with disdain , she called them Mr and Mrs Wal and Willy Wagtail. No, our dog is a wag, and she most resembles her grandad Tom. They both loved words.
When we walk in the morning past the house of Bear, a big brown labrador, she says “g’day Bruin”. Further down the street she sniffs at his lamp post, and says to me, smiling, “look, the pole of bear … a polar bear”. Trotting past the home of the elderly kindly gent who always asks “how’s the little doggie?”, if she sees his crabbing boat in the driveway, she calls out “Mr Crabby” (I blush).
But best of all is if we see happy Charlie in the leafy park – tiny, blackened, poodle-ised Charlie – skipping up the path, off-lead and full of the mere bright day’s delight. Oh, happy days! A growl for a play, and a mad circle. Behind Charlie, owner Tim, and behind Tim, Charlie’s other companion, slow-moving, grass-sniffing, obdurate Bronte, old, frail … Maddy hides. Peeks at Bronte. Peeks at me. Back to Bronte, then me, then speaks … “Do you think … do you think, maybe … do you think that Bronte saw us?” I laugh, of course. Our dog is a wag!