And Muffin Makes Three!
The Poochettes have a house guest who is staying a month while her family goes on holiday to the United Kingdom and France.
Muffin and the Poochettes have been casual acquaintances – they’ve met at morning teas, and given each other doggy treats for Christmas and other significant occasions. But, until now, they haven’t spent any quality time together, so they are still finding their way around each other.
Muffin is, of course, confused and a little outraged that her family would travel without her. She thinks wherever they go she should too. Particularly when one of their first destinations is a place with the idyllic name Sea-of-Green, a delightful hamlet just outside the metropolis of London.
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Before the family had acquired Muffin, they were lucky enough to live in this picturesque part of the world for a short period of time, which has been home to the most genial and imaginative of folk, including author Roald Dahl.
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Oh, to run in the same fields as the Fantastic Mr Fox and what fun it would be to imagine Augustus Gloop drinking from Willy Wonka’s chocolate river and getting sucked up into the pipe to nearly be turned into fudge, thinks Muffin.
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But evil and unkind characters lurk not too far from the lush grasses of Sea-of-Green for, even when the family stayed there all those years ago, a nasty Mrs Sponge type told them in no uncertain terms that there was a subtle boundary that divided the area – and there were those who could, and those who could not!
The three daughters, who were all small children at the time, were told quite distinctly that they were the group who could not pat the miniature horses who grazed peacefully in paddocks, for they were not in the public domain.
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“Those are NOT Sea-of-Green horses, you know, gels, they are private property, and not for the likes of you to pat”, snorted the nasty Mrs Sponge-type.
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And this made the three little girls and their parents giggle, for surely, Mrs Sponge would have a sister, Mrs Spiker, and how funny it would be if, just like in the story, a giant enchanted peach would drop from a tree and squash them both flat.
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No, Muffin, Sea-of-Green and its surrounds would not be safe for you with no pedigree, except your adoption papers from the RSCPA, not to mention your habit of barking incessantly at creatures larger than yourself. And how would you know if you did your business inside or outside the hallowed divide between the public and private domain. What would Mrs Sponge have to say about that?
At her home away from home, Muffin is the tallest of the three Poochettes, so there is no need for her to bark at them when they are hanging around the house. Her longer legs give her easy access to the ‘best seats in the house’ – sofas and beds are just a graceful leap away! This is much to the chagrin of Poochette 1 who, although a firm believer in the Willy Wonka motto of ‘confidence is key’, is not all that good at scaling heights.
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Priding himself on his intellect, Poochette 1 often overthinks issues, and he gets himself into such a state about jumping up on a chair, he simply cannot do it. That, and the fact, that he has missed his intended target on a few occasions and fallen back on the floor.
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“Never mind,” he thinks, “I prefer the black cushion with the white bones on it that belongs to Muffin – it is comfortable and goes so well with my black and white coat.”
Muffin concedes that perhaps it is better to stay away from Sea-of-Green but what about France – and Paris? Isn’t it true that Parisians love their dogs and take them everywhere with them? It may appear that dogs have a very sophisticated life in Paris and are welcome in some shops and bars, but most parks have large signs saying “pas de chien, meme tenus en laisse” – which means, Muffin, “no dogs – even on a leash”.
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And, while it’s one thing for a Parisian to flout the rules by saying “rules do not apply to me or my dog”, I am not quite sure that this type of attitude would go down well if Muffin’s family tried it – they are very nice, but they are not Parisian! Don’t go thinking you will be able to visit the masterpieces in the Louvre – museums are strictly a dog-free zone. Post offices, bakeries, boutiques… well, that depends on the dog and the mood of the proprietor. Legally, dogs are not allowed in the open-air markets either (although pigeons are not kept out) and the thought of you chasing these pigeons might make your own family reluctant to take you when they pick up their provisions for the day.
Public transport can be tricky too – you can take small dogs in the Métro and bus if they are in a carry bag (and let’s face it, Muffin, you are not good in confined spaces), larger dogs need to be on a leash or muzzled (which, again is not a great option for you, Muffin), and if your family chose this option, they have to have buy you a ticket (child concession).
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The family could consider hiring either Taxi Dog or Taxi Animalier to chauffeur you around Paris – very comfortable for you, but I’m not too sure how they would feel viewing the sites through a crate.
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Then there’s the accommodation to consider – about half of the hotels in Paris accept pets and the price ranges from no-star (and no thanks says Muffin) to the Palace hotels (which usually have extra-special pet services)… and it’s all starting to get a bit too hard…
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So the best option is to stay with the Poochettes, who may seem aloof, but this will change once they get to know you, and will share their family and home with you… on the conditions that you go first when it’s bath time, and last when it’s treat time.