It began when he never wanted to go very far on our walks together. In fact he got to sitting on the park bench with our next door neighbour and I would run round the cricket pitch with her Jan.
We were told to always keep to the perimeter and not to soil the grass or wellieWally the grounds man would chase us off.
‘Her next door’ was a pleasant over-weight chatty widow who I know he liked and do you know what, I quite liked Jan.
“I want you to stay next door with Jan for a few days next week while I go into hospital”. I must have looked at him in alarm because he quickly added “you like Jan, don’t you Sidney?” He obviously didn’t seem to understand my alarm, it would be the first time we would be apart. Ever.
Hospital was that smart building we walk past on the way to the park, it had electric sliding doors that Jan told me could suddenly close and cut off the head of someone as small as me.
We said our farewells at the fearsome sliding doors.
Everybody wore face masks and had to sanitise hands as well as having their temperature checked.
I couldn’t go in with him so I was taken home with Jan.
I knew he hadn't got Covid, damn it, we can all smell that and Jan told me that Skipper, the spaniel we sometimes met on our run, had told her he had the ability to smell cancer, well, he was some stuck up spaniel with the Border Control and he said it wasn’t that.
Next door were very lax about closing the front door so Jan and I could easily wander down the road and around the corner to the Hospital.
I missed him dreadfully so the very next day I went to the hospital and sat out side the sliding glass doors.
People came and went with that rigmarole of a temperature checking and hand sanitising before they were allowed in.
One young man, who I could smell had Covid, I noticed didn’t use the hand sanitiser but he was still let in. I began to bark at the sight of this indiscretion but nobody took any notice of me apart from I suppose it must’ve been a nurse who came out dressed in, do they call them scrubs and gave me a bowl of water patting my head and told me I was a good boy. I barked "he's got Covid". She didn't understand
It wasn’t long before another Covid carrier was allowed in I barked again I danced around again nobody took any notice except that the receptionist came out and told me that he’ll be out in a minute.
Two days later I was still there and I did notice if I stood and lifted my paw people came running out, I suppose it made me look pathetic so they patted my head and tickled my chin give me a bowl of water, I even got a Bonio. I was told good boy good boy he’ll be out soon and took a photo of me.
On the third day The nurse in scrubs, who I now didn't like at all, pushed him out in a wheelchair.
I was delirious, I ran round barking, I jumped onto his lap, jumped off, we cuddled each other, I bit his toes, I wagged my tail. People took photos.
The nurse I didn't like pushed him all the way home.
"This is Sonia'" he said "she’s going to look after us".
"But what about her Next Door" I barked.
Somebody from the BBC came knocking on the door and offered an exclusive. I didn't understand.
I'll never under stand why dogs are never understood. We’d soon track and trace Covid and nip it in the bud.
by Keith Windsor
Keith is a retired engineer living in West Sussex, reinventing himself as an artist and writer.