Yesterday, I went to Kyneton for a little day trip with Carsten (husband) and Olive (whippet). It was rather chilly - eight degrees on arrival - so skinny little Olive was clad in her doggy coat. I made it myself with crocheted granny squares, a dose of humour and a whole lot of love. I think Olive looks gorgeous in it - like a retro hipster dog. Carsten thinks otherwise. For some reason, he’s embarrassed by walking a whippet that looks like she’s blown across a grandmother’s sofa and come off the other end, tangled in the cushion covers. He even thinks Olive is embarrassed by her coat.
On arriving in Piper Street, we got out of the car beside a pretty cottage with a picket fence. I inhaled the crisp frosty air and the scent of freshly brewed cafe coffee, smiled dreamily at the blue-stone church in the distance, then leapt in fright as a border collie slammed himself against the inside of the picket fence, snapping, snarling and frothing at the mouth. Olive, a typical whippet of kind but cowardly heart, suddenly leapt at the outer side of the fence and became a snapping, snarling monster herself. I definitely saw whites of eyes and glistening fangs. I might even have seen raised hackles if they weren’t covered in fetching little granny squares of pink, purple and crimson hue. Until that moment, Olive had never ever shown any inclination to fight it out with another dog. In the fight or flight department, whippets are equipped to flee. Up to 40 km per hour if necessary.
‘See?’ said Carsten. ‘That dog made fun of Olive’s daggy coat and she had to pretend to be tough to overcome her embarrassment.’
I peeled Olive off the fence and walked along the footpath. I was soon stopped by the delighted cooing of an elderly woman. ‘Huh!’ I thought. ‘Now here’s a person who knows a well-dressed dog when she sees one!’
‘What a sweet little thing,’ said the woman. ‘Is she a rescue dog?’
Rescue dog?!! What was she implying?
Carsten was smirking in the background and I had to admit that, maybe, Olive did look she was down and out, wearing an old rug that she’d found out the back of an op shop. Perhaps I needed to knit her some fingerless gloves for her four paws and carry her dog treats around in a tattered brown paper bag to complete the image.
We continued on our walk, me frowning, Carsten giggling, until suddenly, we were yelled at by a policewoman. ‘Hey you!’ she shouted from the window of the police van.
‘This is it,’ mumbled Carsten. ‘We’re about to be arrested for cruelty to animals or defiling the beautiful streets of Kyneton with a disastrously dressed dog. We’ll be thrown into jail. We’ll be disgraced on national television!’
I was silently praying that it wouldn’t go beyond an on-the-spot fine.
But no! The tide had turned. The policewoman wanted to know if I had made Olive’s coat. She said it was fabulous and wished she had the same for her two whippets. We had a lovely discussion about our pampered pooches, hollered across the street, while the traffic banked up behind the police van.
From that moment on, Olive was a star. Wherever we walked in Kyneton, we stopped traffic, drew smiles and compliments and had our photo taken. Rebecca de Podolinsky, local jewellery maker, has even popped Olive on her Instagram site. (See below)
My precious Olive was the belle of the ball … or at least, the talk of the town … and mostly in a good way … I think …
Anyway, I was chuffed, Carsten was miffed and Olive was just Olive - a skinny little whippet who wanted nothing more than to keep warm and not be teased by the tough dogs around town.