A Star—Yeah Nah!

My dog Pearl is on heat but she’s not all-consumed by her sexual needs; she’s subtle, selective and a little bit crafty. Three out of the four male dogs, which share premises with her, are not even aware she’s currently locked away like Rapunzel, nor why.

Chop knows. He knows exactly where she is and why she’s there.

Pearl might be ‘hot’ but this summer morning is not. Outdoors it’s just five degrees—with dew on the grass and a gentle nor-east breeze—who’d believe a midsummer dawn could be this cool.

Indeed, it’s so cool I’ve allowed my canine-Rapunzel to let down her hair. She waits eagerly in the dog box while I go and get her hunting buddy. Chop can’t believe his luck, he thinks he’s getting visiting rights, while his three competitors miss out. The fact his true love is in the dog box and I am wearing hunting attire, does not register.

My dog box is a two-bay affair. Pearl is on one side and Chop on the other. Thwarted—for now—Chop is the dog version of the cocky guy across the room from a beautiful blonde. He’s trying to catch her attention, talking himself up with such fervour he must regularly lick his lips to clear the spittle from the corner of his mouth.

When we reach our destination, I release Pearl and collar her up. Chop scratches frantically at the dog box door and, when finally freed, he bounds out like a porn star ready for the big show.

By now you’re thinking I’m a tad silly (or perverted), but both Pearl and I know a little something about Chop. Flirting and foreplay are his limit. He can’t get hitched nor tie the knot.

All geared-up, we tootle off along the forest track. Everhopeful Pearl leaves a scent trail for potential mates—a pee here—a pee there.

Chop sniffs and drools, his jaw clattering with excitement, his eyes glazed. He thinks his only problem is me. Every time he attempts a quick-hitch, I look him in his good eye and raise a finger.

Just one finger—index, not middle—palm forwards, not back. That one raised finger means I am watching, and consequences could be dire if he should continue his attempts at copulation.

Into the forest and heavy cover where I cannot maintain eye-contact and Chop becomes very animated. Every time Pearl attempts to venture away to hunt, he quickly tries to shepherd her behind a tree. He repeatedly attempts to sweep her into his arms and whisk her out of sight. With one eye on her and one eye on me, he can barely see where he’s going!

Pearl has had enough and so have I. Just one word, along with the finger and Chop’s willpower wilts and his pink lipstick retracts. He follows me dejectedly, while Pearl makes good her escape and is gone with the wind.

Somewhere out there the old girl detects a sniff of pork. Perhaps a fresh trail in the metre-high rank grass or the wind-borne farts of a slumbering mob. Her tracker-trail, a red line on my receiver, steadily crosses contours and increases in length. Meanwhile, Chop begins to stress—Pearl might be doing the hard yards but he is the one puffing and whining—“Where is my love?”

Chop’s love has obviously found the source of the scent, but her quarry has heard her stealthy approach and is running for its life. The pair of them are accruing mileage—up, down, straight-lining west, circling east, crossing their tracks and mine too. Back towards the ute, up a side gully and then comms are lost.

So, I began hurrying. Chop, he knows I know where his love is. He knows magic emanates from the receiver in my hand. He’s beside himself, watching me, then bolting off in front, listening intently. She’s out there, his damsel in distress and he will save her. He’ll show us both he is worthy, just lead him in the right direction and he’ll prove himself, oh yes, he will!

Pearl’s catch is not a big pig, but it was smart and athletic and has been well and truly earned on this cool summer morn. You wouldn’t believe those facts if you’d seen Chop arrive on the scene. It’s his hero-moment. His Eugene to her Rapunzel, his Rhett to her Scarlett.

Brisket-stuck, the porcine athlete runs one last race before slowing for all time. Chop releases his hold and rises from the bloodied grass—he piddles on a pine tree and struts with bob-tail high. With one eye on Pearl and one eye on me, he’s confident that it’s him who is today’s star in every respect.

Pearl lies exhausted, her muscles a-tremble. She coughs and retches as she inadvertently swallowed and inhaled half a kilo of rank grass-seed as she sprinted for kilometre after kilometre. Her ears and her eyebrows are torn and bloodied. Her paw pads are worn bare, and one claw is broken and jutting sideways. She hurts from head to toe.

Chop struts by—“Look at me ladies, I am the star, oh yes I am.”

Pearl looks at me, brief eye contact, just a millisecond in which time we unanimously agree, “Yeah nah.”

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