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Fruitcake
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26-07-2021, 09:22 AM
1

Patch Part 1

When I was twenty-one, my divorced uncle remarried, at which point I gained a new aunt and two instant young (female) cousins, all of whom had been brought up around dogs. Boxer dogs to be precise.

A few months after the wedding, my youngest cousin persuaded my uncle to let her have a dog.
The Kennel Club, for reasons that make absolutely no sense to me, didn’t allow white Boxer dogs to be used for show purposes, and many were killed as pups in an attempt to wipe the white genes out of the breed.
A few breeders sold them off cheap as long as the buyer agreed in writing not to breed from them. As a result, my uncle bought a white male Boxer pup with a brown patch over half of his face for his youngest daughter, for fifteen quid. The dog was of course named Patch.

When he arrived, Patch was a white ball of fluff. To be fair to my cousin, she did all the things she promised she would do, including pooper scooping, house training, cleaning up “accidents”, feeding him, taking him for walks, and administering medications as required.

When he was about one, Patch developed wet eczema and needed ointment to be applied to his affected areas. As soon as the tube and plastic gloves appeared, he would bolt and hide. I occasionally had the privilege of watching my cousin chase after him as he raced around the living room until cornered, at which point a gloved finger would be used to rub the medication into his skin.
On one of these occasions, and to my eternal shame, I committed an unforgivable sin. I broke the unwritten law and betrayed the close, nay, the sacred bond that exists between cousins.

… I laughed.

I was punished for this act of betrayal. I was punished severely. Oh, how my cousin extracted her revenge, and I unreservedly deserved it.
One of the places she had to apply this gel was around Patch’s scrotum. I think she had been learning about the human body and procreation in Biology lessons at school. First of all, she asked me about a male dog’s anatomy, then went on to the subject of human male anatomy. Without mentioning the words “penis” or “erection”, but using hand gestures, she asked how “it” got from here (hand pointing down at an angle) to here, (hand pointing up at an angle).

I was a shy, immature, twenty-two-year-old bloke, inexperienced in the ways of the world, and completely ill-equipped to deal with such questions from a precocious, pubescent, twelve-year old girl who, as I had recently been informed, had developed an inexplicable crush on me from the day we first met a year before.

If you were to describe the colour of my cheeks, it would have been somewhere between crimson and scarlet.

Nobody would ever describe my cousin as being petite, but when Patch grew up, he was huge, and rapidly became far too big and strong for this young girl to handle on a lead.
She took him to doggy obedience training classes, but he was expelled for bad behaviour. To him, it was playtime with a dozen other dogs in a field.
It quickly got to the point that apart from the odd occasion when I was visiting, my uncle was the only one capable of taking Patch for a walk.

When he was two, Patch had a heart attack and had to be carried back to my uncle’s car then rushed to a vet. He spent the rest of his life on digitalis heart tablets.
He would eat anything if tossed towards him (Patch that is, not my uncle). Although he would take his tablets like this, sometimes the small pill got lost in the folds of his massive chops, so instead the tablets were rolled up in a ball of cheese and then tossed to him like that. One gulp and they were gone.

Once whilst on holiday, the family visited Bala Lake in Wales. My uncle threw a stone into the water, and Patch decided to play fetch. He paddled out some distance then disappeared from view beneath the surface. He stayed under for so long that everyone was convinced he had had a heart attack in the cold water and was drowning. My uncle was in the process of stripping off as my cousin screamed at him to go and get her dog, when Patch resurfaced, pleased as punch to be holding the very same stone in his mouth that my uncle had thrown.

I regularly visited the family, and on one summer Saturday morning I was seated on the sofa chatting to the girls whilst sipping a lovely mug of hot chocolate my aunt had made for me.
I made the mistake of resting the mug on the arm of the sofa, only to have it tipped into my lap by Patch’s huge snout as he investigated this interesting aroma.
Did I say hot chocolate? It was very hot, and I was lucky not to have been scalded. Only quick action from my aunt who passed me a water-soaked towel prevented lasting damage to my family jewels.
That wasn’t the worst of it though. My best, white corduroy flared trouserings were ruined!
My uncle lent me a pair of his trollies so I had something dry to wear, but he is a big bloke, and I ended up looking like Charlie Chaplin with his baggy trousers.
Now it was my young cousin’s turn to laugh.

My aunt and her mum, (my new great aunt), had problems with money, but not the usual sort of thing. If one of them bought something for the other, then there would be an argument over repayment.
One would try to give the money to the one who had done the buying, but invariably it would be refused, and on this would go, back and forth for several minutes. It could be over something as ordinary as a bag of spuds or a round of ice creams on a day out.
One day this happened at my uncle’s place. A fiver had been produced by my great aunt and thrust at my aunt in payment for something or other. My aunt refused to take it, and her mum refused to take it back, so in the end it was a case of, “Well I’m leaving it here then”, and so it was, on the arm of the sofa with neither woman touching it.
Then Patch saw it. He sauntered by, eyeing up the bank-note as he went. Then he came back for another reconnoitre. On his third pass, he grabbed it and ran off. Cue a hue and cry, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth as Patch hurtled round the house, loving the game of chase he had instigated, followed by all the family, but it was far too late. One gulp and it was gone, never to be recovered.

On another occasion, Patch stole a pair of tights from the laundry basket and ran off with them. Cue another great game of chase around the house and out into the garden. Luckily, he didn’t eat them, but the tights were destroyed in the process.

It was never a good idea to leave food unattended anywhere, not even on the dining room table. While still a puppy, he grew big enough to stand on his hind legs and steal anything close to the edge.
It soon got to the point where it was unwise to leave food near the edge of the table even when everyone was seated.
Patch would wander by, eying up his target, then would do a U-turn and wander by again, and then on his third pass, he would strike, and that was that. Another item of people’s food, gone in one gulp. A slice of bread, a piece of cake, a hunk of beef, all fell prey to Patch’s huge maw.

There used to be a rubber factory near where my uncle and his family lived. He was walking Patch round the recreation ground next to it one day when he found a large, hard rubber skittle ball abandoned amongst the long grass and weeds. It wasn’t as big as a bowling ball, but with my short fingers, it was big enough that I could barely pick it up in one hand.
It was heavy, and if dropped on a foot it would probably break a toe-bone or two. Patch loved his new toy and would pick it up in his huge jaws before tossing it into the air and catching it again.
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Fruitcake
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26-07-2021, 09:23 AM
2

Re: Patch Part 1

Patch Part 2



My uncle’s place was on a corner plot, with a garden at the front running round the side as well. In the summer, the front door would be left open and Patch would wander in and out as he pleased.
Patch liked the Postie, and would walk along the inside of the wall whilst the Postman walked round the outside on the pavement, chatting to him as he went.
The Postie had been warned that if the front door was open, it meant the dog was somewhere in the garden, so he should stay outside and call out to my aunt who would come out and collect the post.
If the front door was closed, then it was safe to enter the garden and shove the post through the letterbox.

One fateful day, Patch was down the side of the house where the Postie couldn’t see him, so he opened the gate to come in, even though the front door was open. My aunt had seen the man pass the kitchen window, so wandered out to greet him, only to find him pinned against the family car on the driveway. Patch had his front paws on the man’s quivering shoulders, looking very pleased with himself whilst he stood nose to nose with his friend.
Unfortunately, the Postie didn’t seem quite as pleased as Patch did. No physical harm was done, but the postman never came through the gate again whilst the front door was open.

I bought my first house when I was twenty-four, and invited my uncle and family to tea not long after. Of course, Patch came as well. He tolerated me, and presumably considered me to be part of his pack because he took it upon himself to guard my house by shouting at anyone who walked by my front window.

Patch didn’t get on with my great uncle’s dog, another Boxer called Bruno. The pair once got into a fight when Bruno made an unprovoked attack. Despite being the bigger dog, Patch was always wary of the other one, so they had to be kept separated at all times.

Just after my younger cousin turned seventeen, she asked me if I wanted to “go serious” with her, so to the surprise of absolutely nobody on either side of our family, we began courting.
My uncle had a caravan and took his family away for holidays short and long, usually accompanied by my great aunt and uncle, the girls’ grandparents, in their own caravan along with their dog. Work permitting, I would sometimes spend a weekend with them, and would pitch my tent next to my uncle’s van.
On one such mini-break, my great uncle wasn’t feeling too well, so my uncle took Bruno for a walk across the fields, and I decided to tag along and stretch my legs as well.
We had only gone a short distance when we heard a scream from my aunt. On turning round, we saw her frantically waving her arms and pointing to Patch, who had taken umbrage at the sight of his dad with his arch-enemy. He had jumped out through the caravan kitchen window, and now this huge 45kg hulking great lump of white fury, with a head like a concrete block, was heading flat out, straight for the other dog.
I did the only thing I could. I rugby tackled him to the ground, then just hung on for dear life as he thrashed around, until my aunt came down with his lead and harness so I could then drag him back to his van.

Cue another pair of heavily grass-stained and ruined trouserings. Luckily, I had packed spare clothes this time.

Patch like to play with empty plastic bottles, especially lemonade bottles. He would spend hours gnawing the neck (with cap removed a-cause he would otherwise have eaten it) and squeezing the main body of them so that it made a loud noise.

Ten months after my Lovely Cousin and I started dating, I bought and moved in to a fixer upper a short distance from her home which made courting her much easier.
One day my uncle and aunt went off somewhere, so when I went to pick up my Lovely, Patch came too. My house needed a lot of work doing to it and so I became a frequent flyer at the local dump.
I knew how to show a girl a good time, so on this occasion I took my Lovely Cousin to visit the tip, along with her dog. Whilst I was unloading some amenity, someone decided it would be a good idea to come and say hello to “the Bulldog”, but the chap got one pace too close, and Patch went berserk.
The car was rocking with the ferocity of Patch’s attack on the windows, and I feared his breeze block head would push one out.
I told the chap that Patch was upset with being called a Bulldog when in fact he was a Boxer. The chap said, “yes, I can see that,” as he carefully backed away.

I had been brought up around cats, and my cousin had been brought up around dogs, so just before we got married, we made a compromise … and bought a dog of our own.

I was on nights at the time, so my uncle followed us with my aunt and older cousin in his car to a farm near the manufactory where I worked. There were two Boxer pups left in the litter. We bought one, and to my older cousin’s surprise and delight, my uncle bought the other one for her.
The pups were covered in fleas, so the owner covered their eyes then sprayed them with flea killer. As we drove to a nearby pub garden, my Lovely Cousin picked dead fleas from our puppy and threw them out the window while her sister did the same in my uncle’s car.
Afterwards, I went off to start my shift. The following morning, I went round to my uncle’s place straight from work. We weren’t sure how Patch would react, but it turned out that he had welcomed the two pups with open paws, and they gave him a new lease of life.

He had become lethargic and plodded along at his own pace when out on walks, but once the pups arrived he was much more energetic. Like the skittle ball, my uncle had a habit of Wombling when he was out, and one day he brought home an old bicycle tyre for Patch.
When the pups arrived, Patch took great delight in playing tug of war with them. He would grab one side of the tyre and just dig in, whilst the two pups would growl and yap and tug together on the opposite side. Despite all their efforts, the pair of them were never able to shift Patch.

After our honeymoon, my Lovely Cousin and our Boxer pup moved into my house with me. Patch was absolutely devoted to my uncle, and we didn’t think it was fair to separate the two, even though the dog technically belonged to my Lovely Cousin.

We lived about a seven-minute walk from my uncle and family, so we saw Patch regularly until he passed at the ripe old age of ten, which is about the average age of a large dog. He brought much joy and happiness to those that knew him, except a certain postperson.

I think everyone deserves to know a dog like Patch at some point in their lives.

Today is my Outlaws' (my Uncle and Aunt’s) forty sixth wedding anniversary. As a result, it is also the forty sixth anniversary of the day I met my Lovely Cousin and by pure chance, it is also the thirty seventh birthday of our oldest son.

There will be cake.

Some people say that nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, but I disagree.



Lovely Cousin giving Patch a drink from a Jif lemon juice squeezy bottle.



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26-07-2021, 12:45 PM
3

Re: Patch Part 1

Lovely story Fruitcake.
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26-07-2021, 02:46 PM
4

Re: Patch Part 1

You have a lovely writing style Cakecrumbs which is well-suited to that luvverly tale.



I think that I too have a way with words as I get olderer.
Two words in particular.
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26-07-2021, 07:48 PM
5

Re: Patch Part 1

Originally Posted by Zaphod ->
You have a lovely writing style Cakecrumbs which is well-suited to that luvverly tale.



I think that I too have a way with words as I get olderer.
Two words in particular.
Would that be one word from each of your heads then?
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26-07-2021, 09:48 PM
6

Re: Patch Part 1

Wonderful story me oul Fruit, you have the talent for the tale as they say.

Happy first meeting anniversary to you both, and happy birthday to your son.

Lovely photo too.
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27-07-2021, 09:07 AM
7

Re: Patch Part 1

Originally Posted by Fruitcake ->
Would that be one word from each of your heads then?
Quite possibubbly.
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27-07-2021, 10:00 AM
8

Re: Patch Part 1

I really enjoyed your story Fruitcake, thanks for sharing. You certainly do have a gift for story telling - I feel I really got to know your Patch, and wish I'd met him

Also it was good to discover the story behind your signature - you did indeed 'marry your lovely cousin'!
 

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