A short story about a long dog

By James Clarke

Herr Kaiser von der Strafzettel, a glossy dachshund with a pedigree almost as long as himself, came down the hallway. His fat, pink belly made a squeaky noise as he dragged it along the cool floor tiles.

Kaizer looked at his dish and then at Roland. Roland was making himself some toast. Then Kaiser looked at his dish again. Instead of the customary dish of liver – which was sometimes in paté form and even spread on buttered toast – there was just a little lump of pale meat.

“Vot!” said Kaiser. “No liffer?” Then he looked at his auxiliary dish. “Und no schteak! Und verr iss mein melk?”

(Dear reader, I am not asking you to believe that Herr Kaiser von der Strafzettel actually articulated these words, but I am told that dachshund owners can interpret exactly what their dogs are saying simply by looking at them.)

Roland was clearly uncomfortable as he buttered his own toast. He told his dog: “I am doing this for your sake, Kaiser. I have entered you for the Pet Slimmer of the Year award. You are obscenely overweight and your veins must be solid cholesterol.”

“Und vat do I get out of zis competischun, ja?”

“Well, for a start you will get slim and healthy and your stomach will not drag along the ground.”

“I see!” (Herr Kaiser said this with all the sarcasm that a dachshund can muster which is quite a considerable amount.) “Und vat do you get out of zis, ja?”

“Well, um… I get a holiday in Mauritius.”

“Und I get put into kennels?”

“Well, you can hardly stay here on your own.”

“Vat ist zis stuff in mein bowl?”

“It’s low calorie rabbit, the favourite food of your Bavarian ancestors… Your ancestors were thin enough to crawl down rabbit holes – you are so fat you couldn’t even crawl down a train tunnel.

“And look here Kaiser, according to this dog food company, 30 percent of dachshunds have obesity problems which can lead to painful and even life-threatening illnesses – arthritis, disc problems, ruptures of joint ligaments, heart…”?

“Giff me mein liffer und I vill decide vich disease I vant. Und take a peepinlooken at yourself! Vot if I entered you for a competischun and cut off your food zupply. Vot vould you say, ja? Vell? Vot?”

“I have no intention of cutting off your food. I have to take you to the vet for a regular check to see that you are properly nourished…”

“Senk guttness for zat!” said Kaiser rolling his eyes in exaggerated fashion.

“And no more titbits at the table, I’m afraid,” said Roland as he spread liver pate, quite thickly, on his toast – a thoughtless thing to have done under the circumstances.

As Roland raised a piece of toast to his mouth, Kaiser gave an involuntary whine and raised his big brown eyes in a beseeching manner exposing lots of white beneath. It is a singular talent that dachshunds have.

And so it was that man and his best friend sat on the kitchen floor and shared liver paté on hot buttered toast and Roland never mentioned Mauritius again.

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