Friday, 11 July 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

Govan is hoaching with dogs. Through all the ages and through all its fortunes - fair and foul - the dugs haven't forsaken Govan. There are dogs in matted coats, shaggy or smooth, and dogs lovingly groomed, and dogs that wear the latest doggo fashion. Some dogs mind their own business and others make it their business to get involved with the human race. They roam through its streets today, friendly rascals or forbidding four legged territorial guardians, scavenging for a bite of whatever they can get.

This afternoon is warm, though dull, and I am leaning on a wall by the pillar box at Govan Cross waiting for a friend. A girl, aged about twenty, has been dashing to and fro and I've half noticed her, but now she runs to two women standing outside the job centre. They are staff members, come outside for a break and they're chatting from time to time as they draw on their cigarettes. The girl is very upset and tearfully asks them if they have seen a wee dog.
"Ah left it tied up o'er there", and she points to a railing. Her voice is rising to panic level, so much so that one of the women puts her arm round the girl's shoulder and says firmly that she's not to worry, she will help, but the girl breaks down sobbing. She left the wee dog over there, she says, and it's just a puppy and she only got it, and she went into an interview at the job centre at ten past twelve and she just got out and now her wee dog's away.
The clock on the Pearce Institute says ten to two.

The woman is tall, tanned and slim. Her long dark hair swishes as she walks with the girl to the front door of the job centre. She is reassuring her and calls to the security man, asking if he has seen the wee dog. And it turns out that he has. A boy and a lassie just took it away, no ten minutes ago.
"Tied up at that railin'?"
He seeks confirmation that it's the right pup.
"Aye," she wails forlornly,
"No ten minutes ago," he says again, shaking his head woefully. "'E hud oan a yella jersey."
I take it he's referring to the dog thief and not the dug, bearing in mind the fashion for doggy dressing that's now in vogue.

Now the girl covers her eyes with her hands and bows her head and stands very still. She is a slight girl, with long hair in a plait and wears a flowery tunic, jeans and little flat shoes. The woman says she should call the police and report it and then she withdraws, back to finish her cigarette before returning to work.

Whilst this doggy drama unfolds before me, a couple leads a happy trio of curly dogs to the pillar box where I stand. They are docile, friendly creatures, gently wagging their tails, all from the same litter, two black and one golden.
He is a streetwise sort, in denim jacket and striped t-shirt, pair of jeans and nae messin'. She is rock star glamorous, blonde, military style jacket and boots. She lets the dogs off the leads and sends them up over the wall to roam about the raised beds of weeds, Greggs paper bags and stamped in dirt.
A girl standing close by, admires the dogs,
"Whit kin' a dogs are they?" she asks the owner, but at the reply she cocks her head and narrows her eyes, the corners of her mouth turned down.
"Is that right? Labradors?" she says disbelievingly, "Is that a labrador? Ye sure?"
"Naw," the woman repeats, "they're labradoodles, it's a cross between a labrador an' . ."
"a poodle!" the girl says, enlightened.

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