For as long as we’ve owned him, Rubin has never actually looked like a Bichon Frise. Well, OK, maybe when he was a puppy. He looked like a Bichon Frise when he was a puppy. What’s that you say? You want to see the "Rubin as a puppy" photo AGAIN? Oh, OK, any excuse…
Everybody say, "Awww!"
Once he grew up, though, he stopped resembling any kind of pedigree creature at all, and started to look a lot like a raggedy ball of fur that likes to spend its time digging in the mud, standing belly-deep in stagnant water (yesterday) and maybe rolling around in things that are too unspeakable to mention. And that’s exactly what he is.
Because of Rubin’s love of Unspeakable Things, Terry and I do our best to keep him groomed, but sadly, that doesn’t often extend to the full-on, fluffy Bichon treatment. Because it would be a waste of time, basically. No sooner than Rubin was done being be-fluffed, Rubin would go out and find a dead bird to roll in, or a wood full of twigs to get stuck to his fluffy self, and that’s why we tend to keep his hair in what’s known as a "puppy cut". It’s also why when we take him out for walks, people always stop and ask us if he’s a poodle. (This is ironic, actually, because when I DID have a poodle, people used to stop and ask me if he was a Bichon Frise. Fluffy white dog ownership: ur doin it rong!)
Anyway, over the last few weeks, Rubin has been a little @*!#, to put it mildly. Sorry, mum. There has been barking. There has been more barking. There has been – yes! – even more barking. Sometimes the barking has come at 6am, sometimes it has come at 5am. Sometimes the barking has come at 2am, and again at 4am. Then there’s the barking that goes on ALL DAY, every time the wind blows, or someone drops a feather in the next street.
We have tried everything to work out what the night-time barking is about. He has water. He has toys. He does not appear to need to relieve himself. His routine has not changed. Our routine has not changed. We don’t think anything is disturbing him, because our night-time alarm call is not his trademark "hysterical bark", but rather his, "I’m going to bark steadily and consistently until I get to sleep in the Big Basket" bark.
Terry thinks he’s doing it because he’s jealous of Pepe and the Tortoises. (Their new album is out on Monday, by the way). I think it’s probably just the way we raised him. Maybe the wine wasn’t such a good idea:
Anyway, today it suddenly occurred to me what all of the barking meant. It meant Rubin was trying to tell us something. Either someone was stuck down a well, or… he was trying to tell us that he wanted to look like a REAL Bichon. I couldn’t be bothered going to look down all the nearby wells (or to find out if there even ARE any nearby wells – we’ll leave that one to Lassie, I think), so I decided to assume Rubin was sending us the second message.
And so I made Terry brush him, and trim his hair into a proper "Bichon" shape. (Look, I had twenty gazillon blog posts to write today, OK? Also, if Rubin is going to start hating one of us, I’d rather it was Terry). I should add here that we DO brush him regularly anyway, but this was different: rather than the usual, "brush out all of the tangles and make him look vaguely presentable" brush, this was a mammoth, "make Rubin look like a proper Bichon, even although tomorrow he will be back to usual bedraggled self" brush. It took hours. But lookit the result!
These pictures actually don’t really capture the amazing fluffball that is the R-Man right now. Seriously, that is one BIG head he has right there. But I thought I’d post them here anyway, so that tonight, when he wakes me up at 4am with his barking, I will perhaps be able to remember this moment, when he was fluffy and cute and totally silent.
Oh, and as well as spending a long, long time be-fluffing Rubin, Terry also found time to make me this as a snack:
I think I’ll keep him. And oh, what the hell, Rubin too.