Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The stallholder's dog

Hugo, the smooth haired dachsund, went everywhere with Cordelia, sole proprietor of All Things Bright and Beautiful.  He was quite a regular feature at Russsetshire vintage and antique fairs and was always dressed for the occasion.   As a stallholder's dog, Hugo was allowed special treatment  and access all areas,  denied to the common-or-garden labradors, whippets and terriers who visited CountryVintage Living fairs. Hugo suffered from small dog syndrome, believing himself to be at least twice as large and scary than any other dog in town. He was less than keen on sharing the space around his human's stall.  A rumbling growl would emmanate from under the table, should any other canine dare to sniff at his garden urns or galvanised baths, or even put a paw into the 12 Mile Dog Exclusion Zone.

Hugo was also the star of his very own "Dogbook" page, where his latest antics and activities would be lovingly described.  Cordelia adopted a very special style of writing for Hugo's "voice".  Hugo is "very actually quite a busy dog" and delegates the diarising of his busy social whirl to Cordelia, his willing slave.

Cordelia loved to spoil  Hugo, her "precious furbaby" and he possessed a wardrobe that would put Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen to shame.  His winter attire consisted of tailored coats of Harris tweed, naturally, created with as much care as a Savile Row tailor by Dapper Dogs.  Or a Barbour raincoat lined with softest Scottish cashmere, for inclement weather.  Summer outfits were equally flamboyant with a special blazer designed for formal wear and number of doggie T-shirts with witty slogans for dress-down days.  Hugo bore the dressing and undressing with placid good nature, recognising that he received far more treats and attention when dressed up.  His fancy dress wear was a legend - he had Superhero costumes, a Reindeer outfit for Christmas and an Easter Chick bright yellow fluffy fleece.All of which endeared him to ladies and small children and garnered him treats a-plenty.

The stallholders adored Hugo -he was the object of much fawning, petting and baby talk " how is ickle baby Hugo today" they would coo.  However, noone wanted to be on the adjacent stall - customers would be browsing but on catching sight of darling Hugo, would drop any item and move immediately to admire the tiny dog.  Many sales were lost in this way.  Cordelia, however, was quids in - her special range of handmade dog treats beautifully packed into Kilner Jars with bespoke dachshund-shaped labels - went down a storm.  And rather conveniently, Hugo would do well when purchasers proffered him a treat from the just-purchased jar. 

Once the initial bout of Hugo-worship abated, he would curl up on his custom-made dog bed - French ticking upholstery - for a lovely sleep.  He would dream of chasing rabbits and running across enormous fields, naked in his fur leading a pack of slavering hounds.  Naturally, he would catch his prey and be the hero of the hour.

At the end of every market, Hugo would be bundled into the footwell of Cordelia's over-loaded car squashed between plants, a handbag and precariously loaded stock.  He enjoyed sniffing and chewing woodwormy bits of furniture, redolent of old French chiens from centuries past!  Disappointingly, Cordelia did not share his delight in this activity, or indeed allow him free reign amongst her stock.  Sometimes, Hugo reflected, it's a dog's life!

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