By Aubrey Beardsley
Meet Howard Spring.
Human met Howard serendipitously. We weren’t looking to expand the family, it was just one of those things.
A few weeks ago, the last weekend in July, Human took the grands to collect a lovely little foster pup from Friends of the Animals in Wales – Watson, the Golden Retriever. Human got a wonderful tour of Wonky Towers (the headquarters), and met all the residents and new arrivals. Human could hear a dog barking, and one of the wonderful rescue staff lovingly joked and said, “Oh, that’s Buddy Holly … or Buddy Horror as we call him!” Always one for the underdog, Human said, “I must meet Buddy!”
So Buddy was let out into the main area and Human saw him and called him and he leapt straight into Human’s lap for a cuddle. It really was love at first sight. At least it was for Human, anyway. But they had a full car-load of people and Watson, and Buddy had just arrived, so Human had to bid farewell to Buddy and made the journey back to London.
But you may remember, from Jeff’s adventures with Georges Perec in That’s Jeffervescent, two weeks ago Human went to Wales again. And lo and behold, Buddy came back with Human as a foster, not an adoption (at that stage). And the rehabilitation began.
When he went into rescue, Buddy had lived the entire 11 months of his young life in a cage. He was an owner surrender to the rescue, and the rescue was told he had never been walked, never met another dog, and they kept him in the cage all the time because he was destructive. It seems that the couple who owned Buddy did not share an interest in dogs, and one half simply wanted him gone before he had arrived. And so he was shut away for cruel convenience in his cage. His hair was matted to his cage and as a result he is currently sporting a bit of a mohawk on his back as his sides were clipped. He is scared of a man sneezing. And sometimes he cowers defensively, expecting the worst in his head. But already this has become a rare occurrence. What a terrible start to life this poor boy has had. I can’t believe he’s as well-adjusted as he is. And so, immediately on hearing his story, we wanted to help him.
But we all knew poor Buddy had a long journey ahead, especially with regard to his relationship with cats. Buddy was not cat-friendly (but Howard is getting there). We have had to give him a lot of moral re-direction in this area, so to speak. So the two weeks so far have been mostly about rewiring our new pal’s brain to love cats as much as we do. And he is going in the right direction. So that’s the main thing.
So who is Howard Spring? Howard Spring is a rough-coated Parson Russell Terrier. This means he has a coat like a vintage teddy bear, or maybe like a kitchen scourer, or maybe a 19th-century horsehair mattress. In fact, Human keeps mixing him up with the white shag rugs we have on the sofa, and when he lies on one he disappears altogether. He is full of love, enthusiasm, energy, and chaos. Jeff adores him and we all think Howard’s way out! This is his spring and he is ready to blossom.
And what else has Howard told us about himself so far? Well, apart from his awkward relationship with cats, he also has no fear of heights, he loves catnip, he fits in a kitty litter box, he loves mirrors (or his own reflection), bath tubs are fascinating, memory foam pillows make him snore, he must sleep beside Human, and he likes to walk on your head in bed. He also has a five-octave range in singing. He doesn’t actually bark much at all, but if he thinks we are in danger he makes himself big with two very deep barks. But when he’s playing he squeaks and squeaks and squeaks like a dog toy.
As Human explained to me, the thing about terriers (and I am now very outnumbered!) is that the impact increases exponentially. It isn’t merely double or triple the impact. It is terrier to the power of three now! Silly hour has now become ludicrous hour. And sofa zoomies have become a high impact sport. I have even taken to jumping in Human’s lap for some of the rooftop zooms! But it really is a lot of fun.
A week is a very long time in rescue.
Working with Howard every day, the transformation is clear, and we keep reminding ourselves just how incredibly far he has come already. In fact, he has made so much progress with the kitties that it looks like Howard is staying. And that is why he is now being introduced to the world. Howard Spring is one of us.
Yes, a week is a very long time in rescue. Two weeks feel like a lifetime. And a rescue can give you the time of your life.