I’m hardly speaking to Max our miniature schnauzer.
Although I blame myself really, I shouldn’t have put him on such a strict diet.
The problem was that as he neared middle age – he was seven a fortnight ago, or 49 in human years – he was starting to look just a tad portly around the midriff.
Funny that, as they say dogs take after their owners.
Anyway, his dried rations have been cut back to try and recapture that sleek schnauzer look of yesteryear. I’ve told him that Lottie the labradoodle won’t be interested in a chubby little fur ball, but he’s taken it badly all the same.
His meanderings around the garden have turned into scavenger hunts for disgusting dirt-encrusted hide chews buried in more bountiful times.
His nose now hardly leaves the pavement on our walks as he doggedly sniffs for, then snaffling up leftovers from the bin collections.
Rather craftily, he has made two new friends in the village: Rita and Philip.
Whenever he passes their bungalow, he stops at the gate and stares intently at their door, willing them to come out. Especially Rita, for ‘tis she who is Giver Of The Treats.
When Rita appears in the driveway, Max squeals with delight – reminiscent of Sooty – of glove puppet fame – for our older readers.
He drags me up the drive, greets Rita hysterically and waits for that indescribably ecstatic moment when she produces ... The Treat.
Well, the other night I was half way through a rushed tea when I dashed upstairs to check my emails. I’d been eating a selection of German cooked meats and had saved my favourite two pieces, the ones with the little peppers in, for last.
Suddenly there was a loud clattering followed by some scrabbling from downstairs, presumably as the culprit attempted a getaway. Now, in all the years we have had Max, I can’t ever remember him stealing food from the table. Until now.
I shot downstairs to discover my coveted Bierwurst mit Pfeffer gone and a rather sheepish looking schnauzer nearby.
To give him his due, Max did look at me in a most apologetic manner with those big brown eyes. So, after a few stern words, I’ve relented and upped his rations a fraction – but not too much.
Lottie’s coming round next week and he wants to look his best.