My Dog Tulip (2009) Movie Script

Man: Silence, please!
Take care, sir.
My dog is an Alsatian bitch.
Her name is Tulip.
I've never owned a dog
before her.
Alsatians have a bad reputation.
They are said to bite the hand
that feeds them.
Indeed, Tulip bit my hand once,
but accidentally.
She mistook it
for a rotten apple
we were both trying to grab
One of her canines sank
into my thumb joint to the bone.
Oh, well.
We... we all make mistakes.
And she was dreadfully sorry.
She rolled over
with all her legs in the air,
and, later on, when she saw
the bandage on my hand,
she put herself in the corner,
the darkest corner
of the bedroom,
and stayed there
for the rest of the afternoon.
She could hardly do more
by way of apology,
for she'd become
so hysterically excited
at the mere hint
of being taken out for a walk
that she rushes into the kitchen
to grab the vegetables
and scatters them
all about the corridor
as if they were rose petals,
marking her ascension
to heaven.
It seems to me
both touching and strange
that she should find the world
so wonderful.
# Piddle, piddle,
seal, and sign #
# I'll smell your ass #
# you smell mine #
# human beings
are prudes and bores #
# you smell my arse #
# I'll smell yours #
Choir: # human beings
are prudes and bores #
# you smell my arse #
# I smell yours #
When children are difficult,
the cause is often traced
to their home.
And it was upon Tulip's
first home
that I blamed
her unsociable conduct.
She had originally belonged
to some working-class people
who, though fond of her
in their way,
seldom took her out.
She was too excitable.
For nearly a year,
she scarcely left the house,
but spent her time mostly alone
in a tiny backyard
while they were at work all day.
She could hardly be expected,
to learn the ways of a world
she so rarely visited.
The only training
she ever received
was an occasional thrashing
for the destruction
which her owners discovered
when they returned home.
Alsatians, in particular,
do not take kindly to beatings.
They're too intelligent
and too nervous.
It was from this life,
when she was 18 months old,
that I rescued her,
and to it that I attributed
the disturbances of her psyche.
Thereafter it was clear that
if she could have had her way,
she would never let me
out of her sight again.
While I was extremely grateful
to the gallant stranger
who had come to my rescue,
Tulip's subsequent behavior
may have caused him
to regret his kindness.
The journey home
was, however, mercifully short,
and I held high expectations
of a less-fraught stroll
along the towpath of the thames
to my flat in putney.
She was so unused to
being out in the world
that she could not differentiate
between the swollen river
lapping the towpath
and a mere puddle.
She rushed into it
and immediately sank.
I hastened to her rescue,
but I could scarcely
help laughing
at the sight of her
when I heaved her out.
She was less amused than i.
This unexpected immersion
had one useful consequence,
The coal dust in the yard
in which she had been confined
by her former owners
was washed clean away.
And so it was
that this beautiful creature
came into my life
and transformed it.
By the end
of that eventful first day,
she, too, had undergone
a metamorphosis,
from beggar maid to princess.
And it was i,
the somewhat shabby hero
of my own storybook,
who had rescued her
and won her heart.
In the journal
of general Bertrand,
Napoleon's grand marshal,
this entry occurs...
"1821, april 12.
At 10:30, the emperor passed
a large and well-formed motion."
I sympathize with the general.
However, Tulip's bowel movements
caused me even greater concern
since she has
two small canine anal glands
which Napoleon did not have.
Therefore, hers required
twofold the supervision.
These canine glands
produce a secretion
which is periodically released
by the passage of a...
general bertrand-pleasing form.
If, however,
a dog is continually...
...loose in the bowels,
the glands become congested
and can form abscesses.
It was a misty
september morning,
and I had taken Tulip out
to relieve herself,
which she was peacefully doing.
It always pleases me to see her
perform this physical act.
Her ears lie back,
her head cranes forward,
and a mild, meditative look
settles on her face.
While we were
thus harmlessly engaged,
a cyclist shot around the corner
towards us.
Since Tulip
was safely on the pavement,
I would not have noticed
this person at all
if he had not addressed me
as he flew past.
Try taking your dog
off the pavement to mess!
One should not lose
one's temper,
but the remark stung me.
To be run over by you?
Well, try minding
your own business!"
I am and all!
He bawled
over his shoulder.
What's the
bleeding street for?!
"For turds like you!"
I retorted.
"Bleeding dogs!" he screamed.
"Assholes!" I replied.
There was no more
to be said.
I had had the last word.
Nevertheless, I am able to see
other people's points of view.
I know a few things
upon which it is a positive
pleasure to tread.
Whenever I take Tulip out,
I offer her
the opportunity to drop twigs
where there are trees.
Here, amid the flotsam
and jetsam of french letters
and the swollen bodies
of drowned cats, dogs, and birds
left by the tide,
she is often moved
to open her bowels.
If not, we pass on to another
species of refuse dump.
The dead are less particular
and more charitable
than the living.
It is a charming
little cemetery.
To what better use
could such a place be put?
And are not its ghosts gladdened
that so beautiful
a young creature as Tulip
should come here for her needs,
whatever they may be?
Tulip sometimes
embarrasses me, too.
She delivered herself once
in front
of a greengrocer's shop...
and this on the way home from
a long walk on putney common,
where she had already left
as much as I supposed her
to contain.
I knew the grocer and his wife
were a surly,
disobliging couple.
Hoping that they would not
observe Tulip,
I hastened by, hissing at her
to"hurry up for god's sake!"
As I passed.
I glanced back,
intending to disown her
if she had been observed.
Tulip had just finished
and was following me.
But at that very instant,
the man and his wife flew
angrily out and caught my eye.
Useless now
to pretend ignorance.
Yet I continued on my way.
They hurled insults after me.
Woman: Here! Mister!
Look what your bleeding dog's
gone and done!
Then my conscience smote me.
True, they were horrid people,
but Tulip's gift would not help
to uplift their hearts
to a sweeter view of life.
As soon as this noble thought
occurred to me,
I retraced my steps.
"I'm sorry about my dog,"
I said.
"But if you give me
some newspaper
"or a bucket of water
and a brush,
I'll clear it up for you."
It took me some time
to swab it up,
but I was thorough.
"Well that's done,"
I said cheerfully.
It was now her turn
to pretend not to catch my eye.
"You could say 'thank you,"'
I added mildly.
Why should i?!
She retorted, with a brief,
contemptuous look.
Standing there
with my hands full,
I had an impulse to drop it all
back on the pavement.
Women are dangerous,
and I feared now
that Tulip's death cries
as she went under a bus
while dodging
some vegetable missile
would sound like music
to this one.
I restrained myself.
For as long as I could remember,
I had been searching
for an ideal friend.
But I have never really found
the person who fitted
my exacting requirements.
There was always some flaw...
too tall, too short...
too outgoing, too shy...
too insecure, too independent.
As the years passed
and the opportunities
grew fewer,
I had a mental image of the
ideal friend as a plain jug,
containing a delightful mlx
of good companionship
and intellectual stimulation,
the shape, age, and size
of which
no longer
had any importance for me.
I still felt
that if I only turned
this corner instead of that
or boarded this bus
rather than that one,
I would find the ideal friend
waiting for me
and that we would recognize
each other at once
after the exchange
of a few words.
Ah, and a further complication
was that I did not want anyone
to think
that I was pursuing them.
It was therefore necessary
to encounter the ideal friend
which is not easy
if you happen both to be moving
in the same direction.
It was with a measure
of naivet in dog affairs
that my first consultation
with a vet
was to inquire
whether she was in heat.
The question was never settled,
that is to say by him.
All he said
in a cold voice was...
have you no control
over your dog?
In the face of the evidence,
it was idle
to say anything but"no,"
to which,
still keeping his distance,
he dryly replied...
then take her out
of my surgery at once.
Another vet
had been recommended to me.
He was an ex-army man, a major.
Just have to
take them like...
having failed as I had failed
to shout her down,
the major swooped upon her,
these Alsatians,
they're all the same!
...and beat her about the body
with his bare hands.
These dashing military tactics
did not enable him
to examine her,
if that was part of his plan.
As I walked away
from this establishment,
I supposed myself to be in the
position of an undoctorable dog.
And this gloomy reflection
was succeeded by another,
which was...
"if all Alsatians are the same,
did any of them ever
receive medical attention?"
It transpired that they did,
this time
for a most important service...
to have her inoculated
against distemper.
I had made the appointment
by telephone
and had thought it politic to
apologize for Tulip in advance.
The first sight that greeted us
before we ever reached
the surgery door...
for its window looked out
upon the yard
through which we passed...
was a spaniel,
all too plainly seen within,
absolutely motionless and
with an air of deep absorption.
The dog was standing
upon the table in an empty room
with a thermometer sticking out
of its bottom, like a cigarette.
It was almost as though
he'd put it there himself.
Oh, Tulip.
If only you
were like that.
But she was not.
Can you turn her back to me
and hold her head still?
I think so.
Now just keep her head
like that.
Uh, may I give her
the injection myself?
You could show me where
to do it, and she wouldn't
mind it from me.
Oh, I say, don't hurt her.
There's really no need.
After this,
Tulip would not, could not
even enter the streets
in which her last two
experiences had taken place.
I would suddenly miss her
from my side
and, looking wildly around,
espy her far behind me.
There was no getting away
from her face.
It said both,"what?"
I then noticed that in spite of
the nourishing food I provided,
Tulip looked too thin.
The distressing word"worms"
was dropped into my ear
by a passing stranger,
and soon after,
I decided to take her along
to miss, um, uh, Canvenini
or something like that,
which was the name of the lady
vet that she kindly gave me.
Miss, uh, Canvenini
stood quietly in front of us,
looking down at Tulip while
I stumbled through some account
of her past and present
Then she asked...
what's her name?
I told her.
Well, Tulip,
you're a noisy girl, aren't you?
What is it all about?
Oh, how maddening,
how intolerable it was!
I found myself
suddenly yelling...
stop it, you brute!
I biffed her nose.
The blow was harder
than I intended.
I see.
Just slip the lead
through her collar.
I'll examine her
in another room.
A-are you sure
it'll be all right?
Perfectly all right.
No signs of worms.
She is in excellent
how did she behave?
Good as gold.
Did you tie her nose?
Heavens, no!
I never do that.
I knew she would be no trouble.
Well, you learn by experience,
I suppose.
But it isn't difficult
to tell a dog's character
from its face.
Tulip's a good girl.
I saw that at once.
You are the trouble.
I sat down.
She is in love with you,
so life is full of worries
for her.
In order to protect you,
she wants to be free.
So she doesn't like
people touching her.
But when you're not there,
there is nothing
for her to do.
Speak to her quietly.
In time,
she'll do anything for you.
Excuse me. Has, uh...
has she...
uh, um, um, miss canveninl...
has she ever been bitten?
Sublime woman.
My sister, Nancy,
who had no flxed abode,
became aware that I had been
looking in vain
for someone to become
Tulip's escort and caretaker,
as my office responsibilities
on most mornings
required me to abandon her
to long periods
of loneliness and boredom.
From the outset,
Tulip made it very clear
that she, not Nancy,
was mistress of the house
and had every intention
of maintaining this position.
I had naturally been worried
that Nancy, once installed,
would attempt to invade
what remained of my privacy,
but Tulip defended our territory
rather well.
The room Tulip and I occupied
was to remain
strictly out of bounds,
and any attempt by Nancy
even to approach it,
let alone knock at the door
or enter,
was greeted by a prolonged
outburst of ferocious barking.
No more was needed.
Nancy would not advance
another step,
but would call out to ask
some pointless question.
Nancy: Joe, shall I put
the kettle on?
Are you in there?
I thought I might
go up to the west end
to look at the shops,
but if it's going to rain,
then I don't suppose I will.
Days passed,
and my sister's mind got busy,
as I guessed it would,
with the problem
of obstructing my wishes.
You know,
she's a quite different dog
when you're not here.
She's quiet, she's obedient,
she does everything I tell her.
And there's none
of that terrible fuss
about me going
into your room...
when you're not in there.
I should, of course, say
how grateful I was to Nancy,
in spite of everything.
I could not imagine anyone
filling this role better.
But that role was not quite
the one Nancy had envisaged
when she came to live with us.
She saw herself
as a member of the household.
I saw her
as a dependable kennel maid.
While I was at the office,
Nancy attempted to seduce Tulip
away from me,
and I thought,
at one awful moment,
that she had almost succeeded.
I awoke in a panic to find
that Tulip was not asleep
in her usual chair in our room,
and the dreadful thought
struck me
that she had decided
to spend the night with Nancy.
The idea that
she could have rejected me
in favor of my sister
was almost too much to bear,
and I sank back into my pillow,
thinking that our life
of companionship was over
and that I was once more alone
in the world.
And then I heard
a faint, familiar noise...
the soft, melancholy noise
that Tulip makes
when she's unhappy.
She had been lured
into my sister's room
and kept there against her will,
and she immediately followed me
back to my own room.
She remained
what she always was...
my dog.
I should never have doubted her.
But now that I had been
proved wrong,
I was able to fall contentedly
into a deep and restful sleep.
I was not to have any rest
from Nancy, however.
Having failed
to win Tulip over to her side,
she was prepared to carry on
this battle to the end,
however gory that might be.
Nancy had, of course,
relied upon my inability
to stand by and watch her being
savaged without intervening.
She must therefore have taken
a quiet satisfaction
in seeing me beat off my dog,
even though every blow
fell unwillingly.
Tulip! Down!
Stop this nonsense, Tulip!
Down! Stay, Tulip!
I hardly remember for how long
these two formidable females
tussled for my custody.
It was certainly
more than a year.
And it was rather...
Alas, very few of my friends
ask me to stay with them
Those who have no pets
of their own
are a little forgetful
about inviting Tulip...
People seem to take exception
to being assaulted
whenever they cross their legs
in their own sitting rooms.
One of the last hosts to invite
us down to his country home
was a captain pugh,
who had served with me in france
in the 1914 war.
I had seen nothing of him
for a great many years,
and then he suddenly
turned up again.
He said he was farming in kent
and gave me orders
to come down and stay.
He agreeably added Tulip
to the invitation,
and so we traveled down into
kent together that very month.
Actually, I remembered
very little about my host,
except that he had been
an officer
who had managed to combine
great courage and efficiency
with a marked habit
of indolence.
Uh, whenever, for instance,
he had wanted
his servant or his orderly,
it had been his custom
to fire his revolver
one shot for the servant,
two for the orderly
to save himself
the exertion of shouting.
Strange fellow, what.
An odd figure...
and, as I was to discover,
set in his ways.
His whims were, indeed, to
contribute to the misfortunes
that befell us beneath his roof.
Pugh: Now, I hope
Tulip won't go after them.
They're laying rather well
at present.
I hoped not, too.
He may have been hinting that
I should put Tulip on a lead,
but how can one gauge
the intelligence of one's animal
if one never affords it
the chance to display any?
I was too late.
I apologized profusely,
but it turned out to be
not at all an important cat.
It can stay there now.
I'll have someone let it out
before night falls.
I permitted myself to be...
I permitted myself
to be amused.
Little did I think
that this cat was to take
his revenge upon us later.
Captain pugh's idleness
had only gained ground.
The problem
that troubled him the most
appeared to be whether,
for an hour or more both
before and after every meal,
it would be more rewarding
to nap on a sofa
or to undress and return to bed.
Every room, including
the bathroom and kitchen,
were furnished with a sofa.
In those rare moments
he was on his feet...
...pugh would stalk
about his farm building
shouting commands
in military fashion,
and causing great consternation
among the cows.
All right, now!
Quick! March!
Come along, then!
Come along, there!
Step lively!
Come on, then!
All right, you cows!
Stand at ease!
He then retired for the night
up the wide wooden staircase
with its low treads
to reduce leg strain.
Pugh paused to observe
that he was a light sleeper
and therefore hoped
that Tulip was a sound one.
So as to wake up
like a giant refreshed.
I had been allotted
the bedroom joining his.
And besides the bed
it contained,
I was glad,
though not surprised,
to find a comfortable sofa...
for Tulip.
In fact,
Tulip is a very quiet sleeper,
although she will usually
pay me one visit in the night
and put her nose
against my face.
Perhaps I cry out in my dreams,
or do not,
a-and she wishes to reassure
herself that I am not dead.
It was therefore
when she wakened me
at about 2:00 a.m.
I petted her and turned away.
She pulled at me
in an urgent kind of way.
What could she want?
Ah! So that was it.
She left me then,
but she did not go to her sofa.
Don't be tiresome, Tulip!
Go back to bed!
We'll visit the cat
in the morning.
Then I heard...
I fumbled for my matches.
Tulip was coming to me
from the other side of the room,
wagging her tail and gazing
at me with soft, glowing eyes
as she kissed my cheek.
Avoiding all the rugs,
she had laid her mess
on the linoleum
and as far from me
as she could get,
against pugh's
communicating door.
And, indeed,
she couldn't have helped it.
I saw at once,
when I got out of bed to look,
she couldn't have retained that
for a moment longer.
Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh! Tulip!
Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh!
Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh!
Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh!
Shh! Shh!
She had used every device
that lay in her power
to tell me something,
and I had not understood.
Alas, for the gulf
that separates man and beast.
Did she lose some confidence
in me at that moment?
I have often sadly wondered.
Poor pugh.
It was not, I fear, with
the look of a giant refreshed
that he appeared
at the breakfast table later.
He said kindly
that it was of no consequence.
But it was.
The norton was waiting
in the yard,
its engine
snickering impatiently.
Tulip was never asked again.
But here the story
finds a happy ending.
If I did forfeit any of Tulip's
confidence at that period,
I have reason to believe
that I had recovered it later,
as we shall soon see.
Dogs read the world
through their noses
and write their history
in urine.
Tulip is particularly
when she is in season.
She has two kinds
of, uh, urination...
a necessity and a social.
In necessity,
she squats squarely and abruptly
right down on her shins,
her hind legs
forming a kind of dam
against the stream
that gushes out from behind.
Her expression is complacent.
For social urination,
she seldom squats,
but balances herself
on one hind leg,
the other being cocked up
in the air.
A single drop will do.
The expression on her face
is businesslike,
as though
she were signing a check.
She attends socially
to a wide range of objects,
the commonest group being
the droppings of other animals.
Fresh horse dung having
a special attraction for her
and is always liberally sprayed.
Then she sprinkles any food
that has been thrown out...
buns, bones...
fish, bread...
unless it is food
she wishes to eat.
Dead and decaying animals
are carefully attended to.
There came a day
when she suddenly added my urine
to the other privileged objects
of her social attention.
How touched I was.
How honored I felt.
"Oh, Tulip.
Thank you," I said.
And now she always does it.
So I feel that if ever there
were differences between us...
...they're washed out now.
I feel a proper dog.
Soon after Tulip
came into my possession,
I set about finding
a husband for her.
She had had a lonely
and frustrated life hitherto.
Now she should have a full one.
A full life naturally included
the pleasures of sex
and maternity.
And although I could not,
of course, accommodate her
little puppies in my small flat,
that was a matter to which
I would give my attention later.
Miss, uh, Canvenini,
provided me with the address
of a Mr. Blandish,
who lived in sheen and owned
a good Alsatian named max
whom he was willing to lend.
Max was then revealed
as a heavy, handsome dog
with the grave deportment
of the old family retainer.
When I was invited
into the sitting room...
show the gentleman in,
...he kept me
under close surveillance.
The house and its management
clearly belonged to him.
To have offered him any kind
of familiarity, it was plain,
would have been as shocking
a breach of etiquette
as if one had attempted
to stroke the butler.
Matches. Are there no matches
in the house?
Oh, well, never mind.
L-i think I've got some.
Thank you, max.
Uh, then, will this be
his first experience
of, um, uh
With the opposite sex?
I've been told there might be
some difficulties
unless, uh...
oh, you needn't
worry about that.
Max knows his oats,
all right.
Oh, he's been
married before, then?
He's never been churched,
it's true.
But when we were down in the
country a couple years ago,
he happened upon a stray bitch
in heat...
not at all a classy one,
and had his wicked way with her
on the spot.
He'll be delighted to repeat
the performance with Tulip,
I can assure you.
Oh, then, well, well,
it was only that...
leave it all to me.
I've got a very reliable
little book,
not that max will need
to look up anything in it.
It's all right, max.
The gentleman
has permission.
In case
you took the wrong hat.
A formal introduction
was effected a few days later.
The sound
of max's throaty rumble
as we advanced up the driveway
announced that he was on duty.
And the opening door
disclosed him planted squarely
on the threshold as before.
But no sooner had max approached
Tulip in the most affable manner
than she rounded
vigorously upon him
and drove him down the passage
into the pantry.
The blandishes took no offense.
Mr. Blandish.
"I see she is..."
quite the sweet
and proper little bitch.
I can see them get along
famously together
when her time comes.
Uh, more chuckles and winks
at Mrs."B."
I could not help wondering
from what source of knowledge
such optimism derived.
That should be between
her seventh and ninth day.
...his index finger
knowingly pointing to heaven.
The nuptials shall take place
in the back garden.
...uh, pointing at my tie.
"Well, uh, my own information
says a later day,"
I ventured to remark,
"and that the second week
might be better."
But he firmly replied
that I was mistaken
and I could safely leave matters
to his judgment.
I then suggested that they
might be exercised together
between now and then.
What a good idea!
...cried Mrs. Blandish.
But her husband was instantly
and flatly opposed.
It was Mrs. Blandish
who took max for walks
while he himself was at work.
And he would not permit her to
have any part in this business,
at any rate, in his absence.
When we left, max was again
withdrawn from hiding,
to say goodbye to Tulip.
His other wife
bit him in the shoulder,
but he won't at all mind
a few more bites
when his time
with Tulip comes.
He said this with such gusto
that I glanced again,
involuntary, at Mrs. Blandish,
who was smiling roguishly at him
with her small, even teeth.
Dear Tulip chose to come to heat
in the midst
of the most arctic winter
this chilly country had suffered
for 50 years.
But it was my first experience
of her in this condition,
and I was enchanted.
I was touched by the mysterious
process at work within her
and felt very sweet towards her.
That small, dark bud...
her vulva...
became swollen
and more noticeable
as she walked ahead of me,
and sometimes
it would set up a tickle
or some other sensation,
for she would suddenly
squat down on the road
and fall to licking it.
Tulip is still bleeding,
I'm afraid.
Oh, not to worry.
Never mind.
will be quite all right
after we leave them alone
together in the garden.
They'll get down to business
in no time.
Everything will be
quite all right.
The end of this fiasco
will already be apparent.
Max was propelled by Tulip
back into the house.
And so it was
that this marked the end
of Mr. Blandish's indulgence
and our visit.
"You bad girl," I said to Tulip
as we trudged away
through the snow.
But she was now,
when she had me back to herself,
in her most disarming mood.
And as soon as we were home,
she attempted
to bestow upon my leg
all the love
that the pusillanimous max
had been denied.
Uh, miss Canvenini informed me
that mating dogs
was not always a simple matter
and added
the belated information
that when they were
the application of a little
vaseline to the bitch
sometimes helped to excite
and define the interest,
besides acting as a lubricant.
She then put me in touch
with a Mr. Plum,
who owned a well-kept Alsatian
off putney hill.
"Now, do be serious,"
I said to Tulip.
I rang Mr. Plum's bell.
He at once emerged
and led us to the garage.
"Nice dog," I said.
"What's his name?"
Uh, chum.
...said Mr. Plum.
Mr. Plum looks at his watch.
"Perhaps Tulip would concentrate
better if we left them alone,"
suggested Mr. Plum.
He looks at his watch again.
Mrs. Plum has a cup of tea
for us in the flat.
...Mr. Plum added,
glancing at his watch.
Two cups of tea
were already poured.
I took mine up.
It was not tepid.
It was cold!
The striking thing
about Mrs. Plum's kitchen
was its cleanliness.
The kitchen was more like
a model ideal-home exhibition
than a room actually in use.
Mrs. Plum stood
in its perfect center,
holding in her arms the most
doll-like baby I ever saw.
I congratulated Mrs. Plum
on the beauty of her kitchen
and added that it was a marvel
to keep a place so clean
when it contained a dog.
And she answered
in her grave voice
that chum was not allowed
into the house
because dogs make things dirty.
Tulip was exactly
where we had left her.
I smeared her lavishly
with vaseline
and tried to hold her still
while Mr. Plum strove to guide
chum to a more accurate aim.
It was all of no use.
I realized
that our efforts to please
had turned into cruelty
and said,"we must stop."
Could it be,
as Mr. Plum suggested,
that she might relax more
if the action was transferred
to my own flat?
Tulip greeted chum
with infantile pleasure
and at once
instituted nursery games,
chasing him
or being chased by him
in and out of my flat,
scattering newspapers
like leaves in the wind.
Chum still found her attractive,
but of sexual interest
on her side, there was no sign.
Later on, we took them out
for a walk together
on putney common.
What was Tulip
trying to tell us?
Had I brought her to max
too early
and to chum too late?
Was neither dog personally
acceptable to her?
Or was her devotion to myself
all the love she needed?
Mr. Plum:
Here, chum! Good boy!
Come here, boy!
Come here, I say!
Will you do
as you're told?!
Oh, I thought chum
was going to be like that.
Well, I don't like
to blame him.
We've had some jolly good
hikes together,
but, of course,
when you're married,
you've got other people
to consider,
and it's natural that the wife
should want one's company, too.
But I had left off listening
to Mr. Plum's
sorrowful reflections.
Cutting across our path
was a curious figure
who instantly caught
my attention.
I wouldn't be surprised
if she's a barren bitch.
Too nervous and highly strung
for my liking.
Now, if it hadn't been
a sunday
and me having a young lad
with me and all,
I wouldn't have minded
unleashing one of me own
dogs on her here and now.
They'd soon find out
if she's a barren bitch or not.
Uh, t-there aren't
m-many people about.
Can't we go over
into those bushes?
N-no one
would see us there.
I'd have been pleased
to try,
but I couldn't
in front of the young lad.
Did you give her a lead
at all?
You know,
prompt her, like?
There's ways
of stimulating them up.
Uh, vaseline?
Ah. You knew about that.
I wouldn't have minded
demonstrating it
on one of me own dogs,
if it hadn't been for
the presence of the young lad.
I had by now conceived
so intense a dislike
for this sickly faced youth,
who looked as though there was
little he did not already know
about the art
of self-stimulation,
that I could hardly keep
the venom out of my gaze
and asked irritably
whether he could not be sent
for a walk by himself.
The desire to instruct
is a powerful one,
and our lecturer
could not resist it.
He accordingly sent the boy off
with one of the dogs,
and then,
after a cautious look around,
upon the remaining animal
what transpires when one exerts
a slight warming pressure
on its member.
What occurred then
requires no further
enlarging upon.
And that was the end
of my attempt
to marry Tulip that season.
I had a lot of trouble
with the local dogs...
far more than I had had
in the winter.
It became quite a puzzle
to know where to exercise Tulip
when she was in heat.
The only fault
I could find with her
was that she was apt to spread
the news of her condition
by sprinkling the doorstep
on her way in and out,
which naturally brought
all the neighboring dogs along
in a trice
to hang hopefully
about the building
for the rest of her season.
her walks became as harassed
as are the attempts
of film stars
to leave the savoy hotel
undetected by reporters.
Stealth, therefore,
was an essential preliminary
to success.
A single bark would undo us now.
Dogs would materialize
out of the very air
and come racing towards us.
Some were so small
that by no stroke of luck
could they possibly achieve
their high ambition.
And some were so old
and arthritic
that they could hardly
hobble along.
Yet all deserted hearth and home
and skirmished after us so far
that I often wondered
whether those who dropped out
ever managed to return home.
Well, then I lost my temper.
Scram! Shoo! Piss off!
I took to pelting the dauntless
creatures with sticks and clogs,
but Tulip instantly flew off
to retrieve them
and returned with sundry dogs
clinging to her bottom.
With all the intelligence
gone out of her eyes,
she would reach
a point of frenzy,
tearing my clothes or my flesh
with her teeth.
Most of our walks, therefore,
ended in bad humor.
And I was thankful to get home
safely out of reach
of our oppressors,
who, being unable to rise above
themselves in any other way,
remained where they were.
There was one mongrel
in my district
to whom Tulip was so devoted
that it was quite a romance.
He was a very small
and rather wooden terrier
with a mean, little face.
And I had only to
pronounce his name...
which was watney...
for her to prick up her ears
and lead me excitedly
to the public house
in which he lived.
The publican
would let the little dog out,
and Tulip would greet him
with all her prettiest
demonstrations of pleasure.
Every now and then, she would
place a paw on his back,
as though to hold him still
for contemplation.
What she saw or smelt
in this dreary, little dog
I never could understand.
During her heats, he practically
lived on our doorsteps
and, when she appeared,
clung like a barnacle
to one of her hind legs
while she patiently stood
and allowed him to do with her
as he would and could
or could not.
But when,
in the long intervals between,
she visited him in his pub,
he never found for her
more than a moment to spare.
Having ascertained,
with a sniff,
that there was nothing doing,
he would retire stiffly
to his duties behind the bar.
"Never mind, Tulip dear,"
I would say.
"It's the way of the world,
I fear."
The nicest thing for her,
therefore, it seemed to me,
would be to find her
an Alsatian watney.
"I have rented a bungalow
in Sussex for the summer.
"Owner accepts dogs.
"No need to look further
"if you are in search
of holidayaccommodation.
Joe:"i flxed up Tulip's
love affairs here in London.
"Can't possibly make it.
"None of your dogs
"could possiblybe as good
as mountjoy.
"And Mrs. Tudor-Smith
"is frightfullykeen
on the marriage.
Oh, this was Nancy's trump card.
Mountjoy belongs to some people
a little further down
witchball lane.
He is an Alsatian
of such ancient
and aristocratic ancestry
that Mrs. Tudor-Smith
has been heard to declare
that his genealogy went back
even further than her own did.
I have often seen him,
uh, just outside the gates
of badgers' holt,
where he resided.
He always seems to stand in
the classic"show dog" attitude,
as though he had invented it.
And he perpetually poses
for cameras
that he must believe
are somewhere about.
If he has ever emitted
any sound louder than a yawn,
I have not heard it...
certainly nothing so coarse
as a bark.
"Dear Nancy, I have
an urgent business matter
which might require my presence
in London over the summer."
"If you wanta second string,
"Colonel Finch says you can
have Gunner whenever you like.
We went.
Well, we're here,
aren't we?
But you've no idea
of the difficulties ahead.
You couldn't
possibly cope.
You're exaggerating.
If you can cope,
so can I!
Tulip entered her heat
on the first day of june,
and within a few days,
mon repos
was in a state of siege.
Nancy began by thinking this
rather amusing,
and she found the little
scotties and sealyhams
who came to call sweet.
She found it less amusing,
when they accumulated
and camped out all night
quarreling and whining
among the seven dwarves.
Nancy found it
less amusing still
when she tried
to take Tulip for walks
and fell into the error
I had made
of attempting
to beat off her escort,
which resulted
in a torrent of complaints
amongst the locals
that she'd been seen
in torn clothes and flesh.
Tulip, therefore,
was not taken out at all,
and all the windows
presented her
with a spectacle of a dozen
or so of her male friends
awaiting her outside.
She barked at them incessantly.
They barked back.
She would break into song.
The expensive curtains
were all in tatters.
Soon they forced their way
in at several points,
and my sister and I engaged
in ejecting dogs
of all shapes and sizes,
from dining room, sun parlor,
and even in the night
from our bedrooms.
I've never seen such
scruffy articles!
You're an absolute
Go on! Sod off!
Bugger off home!
Get back to your slums!
You're not her class.
Oh, damn and blast the dogs!
For god's sake! Joe!
Joe: Tulip had not seen much of
mountjoy during her wooing week.
The Tudor-Smiths
had thought it undesirable
that he should mlx
in such low company.
But now was
the appropriate time,
and she was pleased to see him.
And as soon
as he made his wishes clear,
she allowed him to mount her.
But for some reason, he failed
to achieve his purpose.
His stabs, it looked to me,
did not quite reach her.
After a little,
she disengaged herself
and began to flirt
in front of him.
But he had graver ends in view.
Again she stood.
This time, he appeared to
have moved further forward,
but now she gave a nervous cry
and escaped from him once more.
They tried again and again.
The same thing always happened.
It was sorrow to watch them
trying to know each other
and always failing,
until she would have no more
to do with him
and drove him away.
Who would have supposed
that mating a bitch
could be so baffling a problem?
I sent for the local vet.
Next morning,
he came and stood with me
while the animals repeated their
futile and exhausting antics.
It's the dog's fault.
His foreskin is too tight,
you know?
He can't draw her.
That's a disability
that could have been corrected
when he was a puppy.
He's a rig dog, too.
He has
an undescended testicle.
That's a serious
disqualification in mating.
Ugh! Off with you.
There was nothing now to be done
but to bundle Tulip
and convey her to mon repos.
# Human beings
are prudes and bores #
We re-entered her taxl
and were driven back.
Dusk was now falling.
I restored her
to the ravaged back garden,
and it was while I stood
with her there
that the dog next door
emerged through what remained
of the fence.
He hung there in the failing
light... half in, half out...
his attention
flxed warily upon me.
He was a disreputable,
dirty ragamuffin.
I smiled at him.
"Well, there you are, old girl,"
I said to Tulip.
"Take it or leave it.
It's up to you."
I knew my intervention
was at an end.
Tulip gazed at me
in horror and appeal.
"Heavens," I thought.
"This is love?
These are the pleasures of sex?"
It was a full half-hour
before nature released dusty,
who instantly fled.
And it was more as though
she had been freed from
some dire situation of peril
than from the embraces of love.
The following day,
a car was summoned
to take us to the station.
When all was ready
for immediate departure,
the engine running,
the car door open,
I emerged
from the ruined bungalow
with Tulip on the lead
and ran the gauntlet of dogs
down the garden path.
They pursued us in a pack
so far down the country lanes
that I was suddenly terrified
that the more pertinacious
would gain the station
and invade the train.
The scene had the quality
of a nightmare,
but the car outstripped them all
at last,
and we got safely away.
Tulip was not a barren bitch.
Later on, when she got heavier,
I set about designing a box
for her.
I asked miss Canvenini to be
on hand in case we needed her.
But Tulip took us unawares.
She whelped five days
before her scheduled time
and was alone in my flat
when her labor began.
She was in her box.
She had understood its purpose
after all.
She was panting.
A tiny sound, like
the distant mewing of gulls,
came from the box.
I knew that Tulip was glad
that I was there.
I did not approach her.
I could not see well,
but I knew what was happening.
And I heard her tongue and teeth
at work.
She was nosing this package
out of herself,
severing the umbilical cord,
releasing the tiny creature
from its tissues,
and eating up the afterbirth.
I was in awe
of this beautiful animal.
In the midst of her life,
performing unerringly
upon herself
the delicate and complicated
business of creation,
as though directed
by some divine wisdom.
She produced eight puppies
at half-hourly intervals
and was not done
until evening fell.
When it was plain
that she had finished,
I went and kissed her.
She allowed me
to touch and lift her babies.
She had complete
confidence in me
that I would not hurt them.
It was misplaced.
As soon
as my common senses returned
and I envisaged a future
that contained
eight extra dogs...
I prepared a bucket of water
and a flour sack weighted
with such heavy objects
as I could lay my hands on.
How could I distract
proud Tulip's attention
while I carried out
my dark deed?
Suddenly, she hurried out
into the sitting room,
as though making for my terrace,
which was her customary latrine.
For the first time in her life,
she had deliberately fouled
my flat.
But I was not thinking of that
as I mopped it all up.
I was thinking
how sadly bedraggled and thin
she had appeared
in the brief glimpse
I had of her.
The bucket and flour sack
were fated not to be used
as first intended.
Though looking back now
over the years,
it might have been better
if it had been.
And as I watched upon my terrace
the unfolding of these
affectionate, helpless lives,
I hoped to put the creatures
out among adult, educated,
and prosperous people,
but my hopes were not realized.
My landlord, understandably,
had told me to get my animals or
myself out of the place at once.
The puppies went one by one
to whomsoever would take them.
How well did I do for them?
I did in the end
what I'd meant not to do.
I'd cast them to fortune.
I had flown too high.
Health and happiness
cannot be secured.
And the only way to avoid
the onus of responsibility
for the lives of animals
is never to traffic in them
at all.
I gave one puppy
to a shopkeeper friend
who offered to find him a home.
He was sold over the counter...
to whom, I never discovered.
What happened to him?
I don't know.
The owner of one said
it had been too difficult
to house-train.
The owner of another, a laborer,
and the last, a drinker,
spun a long story to account
for its disappearance.
The impulse to follow up their
small destinies soon weakened.
Hmm. Better not to know.
Whatever blunders
I may have committed
in my management
of my animal's life,
she lived on
to the great age of 161/2.
I was a bit drained in spirit
when Tulip came into my hands.
And the 15 years
she lived with me
turned into the happiest
of my life.
She entered my life
when I was quite over 50,
and she entirely transformed it.
She offered me what I had never
found in my life with humans...
constant, single-hearted,
uncritical devotion,
which is in the nature
of dogs to offer.
She placed herself
entirely under my control.
Looking at her sometimes
in her later years,
I used to think
that the ideal friend...
whom I no longer wanted,
perhaps never wanted...
would have had the mind
of my Tulip,
always at one's service
through the devotion
of a faithful
and uncritical beast.
Are not all human contacts
based upon one person's wish
to claim the affairs of another?
Everyone, it seems,
wishes everyone else
different from what they are.
Nancy: Joe!