Sunday, 23 August 2015

Blast from the Past: Bob the Destroyer of Leads





Book #1 Hairy Harry's Car Seat
Book #2 Bob the Destroyer of Leads
Book #3 Hazel Takes Over
Book #4 Stormin' Norman


Bob, a beagle with attitude, eats through every lead purchased by his despairing owner, Will Duffy. One moment he is walking to heel, the next he is a free dog, triumphantly tearing down the road with Will chasing after him.

It's a great game for Bob until the day he breaks through lead number ten and is hit by Lawrence Taylor's car as he runs across the road, leaving Bob is left unconscious and his back leg broken. Will has to ask Lawrence for a lift to the vets, and endure the man's scolding all the way there. Even worse, Will discovers Lawrence is a dog trainer!

Bob ends up in a cast and is forced to wear the cone of shame. Of course, Lawrence thinks all Bob and Will need are dog training classes, except Bob hasn't met a trainer yet he couldn't break. Is Lawrence man enough for the job?

Excerpt: 
Bob endlessly circled Will Duffy’s legs, his excitement visible in his fiercely wagging tail and impatient bark. Trying not to lose his patience, Will managed to grab the beagle’s collar on the fourth attempt and clipped on his lead.

“Just wait a minute, Bob. I’m nearly there.” Will patted his pocket. No keys. Where were his keys? He looked in the wooden bowl on the windowsill by the front door, but the keys weren’t there. Bob barked even louder when Will walked away from him. “I’m coming. Just give me a minute. Where the hell are they…oh thank God.” Will had a habit of walking out without his keys. Fortunately Mrs Jones next door had a spare set, but it was getting embarrassing to have to knock on her door and admit he’d locked himself out—again.

The keys were on the kitchen counter, along with his mobile phone and the letter he needed to post. Of course, he’d put them all together earlier on, so he wouldn’t forget them.

Finally ready, Will gathered up the lead. He didn’t have to go far as the park was across the road. He’d walk up to the post box, then cross the road by the traffic lights.

Bob was dancing from paw to paw by his feet as Will locked his door, and the second Will opened the gate, he was off. 

“To heel, Bob,” Will said sternly, keeping him by his side. He was not being dragged down the road like that woman with her two Staffies. Every morning, Will opened the curtains of the front room and watched her being hauled along the pavement by her two powerful dogs in their desperation to reach the park. From the time Will acquired Bob he swore blind he was not going to make the same mistakes. Eighteen months on, and the Gods of Rock laughed at Will over their cornflakes.

Will shortened the lead in a vain attempt to make his dog walk neatly to heel, but the beagle had other ideas. “Heel, Bob.”
Bob spared his owner a glance as if to say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding?’ and carried on tugging at the lead.

Thanks to Bob’s enthusiasm they reached the post box in record time. Will posted the birthday card to his mum’s best friend—three days early rather than two days late as in previous years—and headed towards the traffic lights.

Will pressed the button, and encouraged Bob to sit at the roadside. To his surprise, the beagle did place his bottom on the pavement—for about five seconds.

“Good boy, Bob,” Will praised. The dog stood up and he commanded, “Sit.”

Bob ignored Will and turned to look at the man standing next to them and then he spotted the large German shepherd on the other side of the man. The dog sat placidly, waiting for instructions to move. 

Will gritted his teeth, and hung onto a wriggling, whining Bob who was desperate to greet the bigger dog. “Bob, sit down,” he said sharply.

His dog totally ignored him. Will prayed for the lights to change to red so he could cross the road.

“See he’s still not behavin’,” the man said. He looked smug as his dog sat calmly, ignoring Bob’s antics. 

Will resisted the urge to punch the man on the nose. “He’s getting better.”

“Did you take him to that trainer I told you about.”

“Yes.”

“Didn’t work, then?”

“Obviously,” Will said sourly. 

“Must be a bad breed. Beagles are always high-strung. You want a proper dog.”

A proper dog? What the fuck was a beagle if it wasn’t a proper dog?

Thankfully the lights turned red and the green man appeared. Will crossed the road and headed into the park, away from the judgemental prick, and let Bob off the lead as soon as he could. He’d got that right at least. Despite all the warnings that beagles could never be let off the lead, Bob behaved very well in the park, reserving his bad behaviour for the rest of the time.

Will watched as Bob sniffed at the bushes and peed on most of them, admiring the dog’s endless capacity to mark his territory. He kept an eye on the time as he had to go to work. 

“Come on, Bobster. I’ve got to get to work.”

Bob ignored him as usual until Will stuck his hand in his pocket and rustled the treat bag, then slowly, pointedly telling Will he was coming on his own terms and not at Will’s command, he made his way over and sat at Will’s feet, nuzzling Will’s hand for the treat. 

“Good boy.” Will clipped the lead on and fed him.“Time to go before they yell at me again for being late.”

He led the way, Bob calmer than before, exiting the park closer to their home. Will waited for the traffic to clear, seeing a gap in the lane closest to him after the snot-green car when he felt a tug on the lead. He looked down to see Bob pulling frantically, the dog’s attention locked on Mrs Jones’ cat further down the road.

“Not now, Bob. I’ve got to get to work. You can chase the cat later.”

He tugged on the lead to grab Bob’s attention and found himself holding a broken lead.

“Oh fuck, not again.” Will made a grab for Bob but the dog eluded his grasp and ran after the cat. The feline, who had been sitting on a low brick wall minding its own business, spotted Bob running towards it and stood, hackles up and fur puffed out. Bob didn’t slow his progress and the cat shot across the road with Bob in hot pursuit.

“Bob! Bob! Come back!” Will charged after his errant dog.

The cat managed to avoid two cars, then Will heard a loud screech of brakes and a thump he knew would live in his nightmares forever as Bob collided with the snot-green car. Traffic came to a halt as he ran to where his dog was slumped against the kerb.

“Oh my God, Bob? Bobster, are you all right?”

Will dropped to his knees beside the still dog. Bob was unconscious, blood trickled out of his nose. He felt a wave of nausea as he saw that one of Bob’s hind legs was bent at an awkward angle, and there were patches of bare skin and blood where his fur had disappeared. Will placed his hand on Bob’s heart, reassured to feel a steady thump. He thanked Freddie, Ozzy, and every God he could think of, that Bob was still alive.







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