Taylor, a mongrel
The story behind the poem
Taylor is our second Italian dog, a spinone cross like
Joules and, like him, found abandoned. I was told the whole litter
had made some sort of den on a hillside near Montefalco. He was
taken in by an Italian equivalent of the Canine Defence League and
given veterinary treatment for worms along with his brother and
sister. He was the first to recover and was taken from the vet's
compound to be fostered in a home where he had constant human
contact and affection.
Following the sad death from
cancer of our golden retriever Pascal, we were on the look-out for
another dog although our intention was to find a pure-bred spinone.
We responded to an advert which stated the puppy in question was a
spinone cross, and spoke to the foster mother. She emphasised how
sweet and well-behaved he was, explained that she could not bear to
send him to live in the municipal kennels which would otherwise be
his fate, and insisted we come and view him.
with our minds on a pedigree spinone, we went to see the puppy. The
second I saw him I was enchanted. He had the most beautiful
almond-shaped eyes and a calmness about him as if he were weighing
me up, too. He was quite unafraid, and we were able to pet him and
even introduce him to our other dogs. Needless to say, we took him
away with us.
His name in his foster home had been
'Arturo' (Italian for Arthur), which quite suited him. But we wanted
something more English-sounding and also in the tradition of the
other dogs. So we named him Taylor after the mathematician Brook
Taylor is the most delightful of dogs.
Self-styled leader of the pack and occasionally needing a firm hand
to keep him in his place, he
reminds us politely if we are at all late with mealtimes and eats
voraciously, but is not greedy and has a trim, muscular figure. He
is extremely fast. He runs with a carefree joy, teasing Joules into
When I whistle for him with my special dog whistle, he comes running
at full tilt right up to the house and screeches to a halt spraying
gravel over the walkway.
My affection for him reaches its height when he sings to accompany my
violin playing. He puts his all into that singing: muzzle aimed
right up at the ceiling, a controlled howl on a single note issuing
at such volume that he quite drowns out my playing. And yet I can
recognise an attempt in him to sing the correct notes. He makes me
laugh so much that I put down the instrument and give him a hug.
by Damaris West
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