Doggy December - Day 20 - Tennis Treats
Sapphire has been going to tennis coaching all this year and apart from a couple of rained-out days, it has been enjoyable and interesting for both her and me.
She gets to learn how to serve properly (I never did: mine looks like a drooping tulip that just lobs over the net. Fools people though), work out what side to move to when your doubles partner is serving and just why tennis skirts are utterly ridiculous and absolutely nobody wore one this year (thank god for leggings and shorts: if only I'd been brave enough to wear those in the eighties).
Still, it must be said that my eyes aren't always on the tennis court.
Even the best parents in the world (not me) or the most attentive (still not me) aren't going to be utterly fascinated by seeing their child - on court four, so the furthest away from the bench seats - hit practice forehand volleys or hold their 'just about to throw the ball up' pre-serve pose for approval and correction by the coach.
No. Some will play with their mobiles, or read, or sneak out for coffee.
I however, play with the dogs who are there.
Like Scilly, the gentle little lassie lady of tennis coach Dan. She's twelve and has wonky hips that see her swaying like a seasick sufferer as she passes along all four courts and the kids playing on them. Fuzzy yellow balls are flying in all directions and yet - despite her partial blindness and increasing deafness - I have never ever seen one hit her. She must be part-whale and have a sonar for dodging drop shots and mis-hits.
Then we have the appropriately named Mini, who would be lucky to weigh around three kilograms and has only just worn 'The Collar of Shame' when she recently got neutered. She seems to spend most of her life on her back legs as she jumps up and nearly pops an eye out in her efforts to greet every human and dog she meets.
Mini's utter joyfulness is also expressed in her frantically whipping tail - what ISN'T there to be mind-blowingly EXCITED about is her attitude and I secretly envy her for it.
This fluffy white fella rocks up most weeks as well, but he merely endures my welcome pat before re-acquainting himself with Scilly, who in turn merely endures his welcome. Still he's clearly got good self esteem and swaggers (not an easy thing to do with a manicured tail like that) off to his owner who sits on the furthest park bench, as if to say, "I know she wants me; it's just that she doesn't know it yet."
On rarer occasions there's a chap I call Hughie, a sort of honeyed German Shepherd cross who gallops in, off his lead, enroute through the parkland and golf course with his serious power-walker owner striding away in the distance.
Hughie dashes in, his feet skidding on the smooth cement with patches of sand blown off the courts on it, has a quick dive into my crotchular area for a sniff before I've even registered his presence and then he's off, running into towards Ms Lycra Legs, now over by the clubhouse.
I almost managed to give him a pat once, but just as my fingers almost - nearly - just about - touched his ears he sprinted away. And I'm sure he was laughing, looking exactly like this dog:
Well he was certainly laughing when he turned back, piddled on the front hubcap of my car and then made his final escape.