Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What do you call a donkey with only three legs?

A Wonkey.

Cute eh? Not bad considering it was from six year old Sapphire yesterday as we walked to school. As it was Monday it was her turn for the weekly 'Show and Tell', and our dog Milly was the exhibit again.

She's a bit of a pro at this now. Mills trotted into Ms Lee's reception class in term four of 2004 and won all of the kids over. Well, with the exception of Josh, who burst into tears and clambered up Ms Lee's back like a goanna on steroids.

Last year, Milly was half an hour late for her 'Sharing' session in Ms Bondarenko's room. Not because she slept in or had an accident but because she was mobbed outside in the quadrangle. Fans of her from last year, and kids that she'd raced against on the oval after school all crowded around her, fighting for a turn to take her for a spin on her lead. She handled the chattering, grabbing, crowding and mass patting with real aplomb, turning around only occasionally to see where I was. Sapphire was bursting with pride and I fancied that I could almost see a tail of her own wagging in happiness.

Yesterday Milly and Sapphire were prepared for it all. We arrived fifteen minutes early to deal with the fans - "Milly! Hey Milly's here! Come here Milly! Can I take her for a lap around the playground, Sapphire's Mum?" It was clear that she was enjoying having her ears fondled and her coat stroked because her banana-shaped tail wagged furiously. Her tongue took every opportunity it could to lick any part of a child within reach, which simultaneously repulsed-yet-delighted each recipient of her doggy kisses.

In the classroom, Sapphire took the lead and paraded her around the circle like a super model's lap dog at a pedigree show. Again there was one dissenter - Thomas, who hid behind the safety of his father's legs. His absence was made up for by three interested toddlers who were siblings of Sapphire's classmates. Twelve month old Elijah toddled over, only to be nearly bowled over by Milly's enthusiastic face licking. Unfortunately he wasn't too impressed by this and lurched back to his Mum, bawling.

Two year old Vince was psyched up for the whole shebang - patting, licking and, if Milly was excited enough, being jumped on. Milly had found her two year old soul mate - a child willing to let her lick every visible bit of skin and willing to let her rest her paws on his shoulders. This boisterous display spooked little Ellie a bit. Ten minutes after the 'Show and Tell', she crept up behind Milly and ever-so-gently touched her tail.

James was next for 'Sharing' and had brought in Hermoine, his pet rabbit. She sat rather snugly on his lap as he stroked her and answered his classmates' questions. Milly obediently sat next to Sapphire, looking for all the world as though she too was listening to the presentation. That is until halfway through when she lost interest and lay in the middle of the mat on her back with her legs in the air, waiting for a tummy scratch. Surprisingly it was Sapphire's teacher, Evelyn, who obliged. Milly licked her open-toed sandals in thanks when it was time to leave.

More mobbing ensued as we farewelled Sapphire and her class and made our way out of the classroom. This time it was the year five kids on their way to Phys Ed class. "Ooooh, isn't the doggie cute," the girls cooed, whilst the boys wanted her to chase them. "She's a really fast runner, isn't she? I've seen her in action on the oval."

This morning when I arrived with Sapphire at school, several parents approached me. Oh no, I thought - have their kids had allergic reactions? Or worse - are they coming to ask me to be on another fundraising committee? "Hi there. My Selene has been raving about your dog. What sort of breed is she? Where can I get one?"

Um, she's a Jorgi. Yes, a Jorgi. No, it's not a real breed, it's what we've made up for her. You know, if you can have LabraDoodles and Spanadors, why can't you have a Jorgi?

Sorry, there isn't a breeder. We got her from the dog sanctuary after her elderly owner died. The vet told us that his guess is that she's a cross between a Jack Russell and a Corgi. Maybe if you try lining up a couple of those, hope that romance happens and who knows, you too will have a Jorgi....??!

Happy 2nd Birthday Milly. Your love, spirit, friendship and running skills are invaluable, as is your willingness to let Sapphire hug you and sing you a lullaby; dress you in scarves and place plastic dolls in your beanbag.

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