Chapter 33 
(Summer of  2009):

The Brat Takes Over

I’ve given up on the Brat going home; it looks like he’s here to stay. He’s given up on bugging me to play with him. Mummy says it took her a lot longer to learn not to whine at her big brother: “David, play with me!”

Diarmuid has two nicknames now. Daddy calls him the Gangster because of his black mask.He pants so much in his bison costume in this hot weather that they also call him The Brown Panter.

All my life they called me The Little One. After the Brat came they started calling me The Big One. Now at 6 ½ months of age he’s taller than I am and weighs more and I’m back to The Little One. But I’m still the Big Sister and I can still tell him where to go. (It just doesn’t impress him much any more.) He’s even overtaking me in Countersurfing; he can get his paws over the edge. Is nothing reserved for Gráinne any more? I have to share the fish Mummy picks for me/us from the bones, the last dregs of ice cream from their dishes, everything that was mine alone before.

On the other hand, when he gets a reward for piddling outside, I get in on the act, too. I get to go on my own walk for 1 ½ hours and then on his for 40 minutes. That means more cookies for me being a good walker and I always get one when he’s a good walker, because I’m better yet. Pulling is below my dignity. Unless …

Diarmuid started Doggie School at the minimum age of 4 months, the youngest in his class. The first week he was a maniac, like I always was. The 2nd week he was one of the 2 best. By week 4 Mummy was told, “Even if it’s functioning super well between the two of you, remember: he’s going to be a BIG boy!” Now I ask you: “Gráinne was a puppy school dropout and drove everybody nuts for a year. Where is this guy’s Wheaten resistance to education? He learned to "Sit", "Gimme Five" and "Say Your Prayers" immediately and "Stay" is going remarkably well for starters. "Front" seems to be working, too. He has graduated from Puppy School and will go on to Rally-Obedience this week. Me, too. I was told last night that I have to retire from Agility. Mummy and I are sick at heart; it was our biggest joy to work together in the agility ring. Now Diarmuid will take over next spring and I will sit on the sidelines.

WheatenTessa invited us to her cottage on Harriersand, an island in the River Weser. It was Diarmuid’s first experience with BEACH! The little fool thought he could walk on water! Boy, did he skedaddle back out of the Weser fast, even before Mummy had time to panic! He hasn’t been back in water anywhere since then, although I show him at Harriersand and at Londo’s pond that it’s safe to go in up to your belly. The cottage is built up high because of possible flooding, so there is a flight of stairs up to the front door. Diarmuid isn’t allowed to do stairs yet but when Tessa’s mum Eva went down to the back cellar, Diarmuid wanted to follow her. Daddy blocked the stairs, so Diarmuid decided to fly. He left the top landing like a paraglider and crash-landed in the grass six feet below, between a big tree trunk and a stone path. Everybody panicked; Diarmuid couldn’t walk. Mummy saw her next agility star giving up his career before he started. Within 15 minutes it was clear that he was fine. What an actor.

A day later, Diarmuid was stung by a bee in the clover in our yard. Of course he couldn’t walk again. Daddy prescribed homeopathic Apis and Mummy put a cold pack on his foot after the two of them pinned him to the floor. He was fine in 10 minutes. Gráinne was never a pansy.


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