Home » Archive » Bitter Sweet, 1986 » Page 2

Bitter Sweet, 1986

Page 2

Gillian Barnett

Between mouthfuls, he emitted ear-splitting noise for the whole journey, no matter how long. Weekends away were murder. After numerous attempts at training, they drugged him. The highest safe dose played Bran at only a slightly slower speed. When they confessed failure to their vet he announced, “He’s too distracting, you’ll have to put him in the boot.”  This was before seat-belt harnesses for dogs were available, not that one would have impeded Bran.

“But won’t he suffocate? Get carbon monoxide poisoning?”

“Nope. Modern boots are designed to be safe. Mind you, some owners with a dog like this might welcome asphyxiation!”

Claire smiled politely but thought of the way Bran shadowed her after each call from the IVF clinic. She and Max held one another and planned to try again. Later, the dog made a fitting witness as she howled her private grief. Who could have guessed that blotchy anvil-shaped face with its tiny triangular eyes and giant ears could convey such comical concern? He made her laugh through snot and tears.

Even from the boot, Bran’s noise made their ears ring. Left untethered, he gnawed through the wires for brake, indicators and reverse lights. So Max tied a chain across the boot (no rope for those bull-terrier jaws) with a clip in the centre so the dog could sit, stand or lie. Bran soon learned to love the boot and hurled himself in whenever it opened. Even other people’s boots. Tongue waving, body vibrating, he beseeched, “Chain me up! Let’s go!”

Page 2

This edition