The Hollow Crown
Gwendolyn Gets A Dog
Gwendolyn wasn’t sure why she returned to the church on her own, it was the third time now she had been, never entering but spending her time walking the area. Jarvis after the second time figured out what area she had been walking in and picked out a more suitable outfit for walking in such an area on her own, giving her one of his older jackets to wear as hers were ‘too posh’ even though he conceded that she was dressing more for her mortal age since she had used the services of a new personal shopper.
She warmed her hands by the fire and thought about the peace she felt in the church as she moved away into the broken houses nearby. She only realised she was standing by the bed that the man had died in when she heard a whine from under the rubbish that lay in the makeshift cot. Listening carefully in case someone came up behind her, Gwendolyn shifted some of it to reveal a pair of brown eyes staring up at her, they belonged to quite frankly one of the scruffiest mutts she had seen. She remembered her Fathers hunting dogs, the only thing this thing had in common with them was the size as it slunk out from under the rubbish to stand by her, it’s tail wagging pathetically as it attempted to nudge for her hand for a head pat, all the while whining at her.
“That’s Harry’s dog, well was Harry’s… He died.” A voice broke into the silence and turning Gwendolyn saw the homeless man she had given the shelter money to, he looked better now at least he looked fed she thought.
“No one else want him?” Of course they didn’t, she thought petting the dog, he was pretty much bone as she could feel his ribs under the matted coat.
“Can’t feed him Love, we barely have enough for ourselves, that’s why Harry got so sick, couldn’t feed both but he still shared with the dog.” The homeless guy turned and walked away, calling over his shoulder, “Don’t you worry too much, the pound will get him soon or the cold will.”
Gwendolyn sighed and began to walk away but soon stopped as she realised that the dog was following her, whining gently as he trotted beside her.
“Go away” She attempted to shoo the dog away but he just licked her hand and followed her a bit more. Just as she was about to yell at the dog, a harsh winters wind swept down the alley and she realised the dog was shaking from the cold, sympathy for the animal hit her like it did when she had realised the bight of the homeless by the church. Looking at the dog she thought of the man who died and made her decision.
“Come on then if you are going to” Gwendolyn patted her leg and began walking again, occasionally petting the stray as they walked out of the alley together.
It took the promise of an extra hundred dollars on top of the cab fare for the cabbie to agree to take her and the dog back to her home but finally she walked in with her shadow trailing behind her. As Jarvis didn’t greet her by calling out, she assumed he was out for the evening so when to the kitchen and started looking though the fridge for food for the animal.
“Ah, steak…. That should do you for tonight. Little and often as you are underfed at the moment until your stomach gets used to food.” She commented as she diced up half a steak and put it on a dish, she was surprised by the speed the dog was eating his meal but just sighed and put down a bowl of water.
“I know that I said I was having difficulty sourcing large quantities of blood but takeout?” Jarvis’ voice was amused, he was standing in the doorway book in hand. “And it stinks too”
“I couldn’t leave him to starve, in the morning can you take it to a vets for a check up please?” Gwendolyn’s tone was strangely almost affectionate as she watched the dog licking clean the dish.
“I can, but its your mutt, I’m not walking it or cleaning up after it. The vet I’ll give you as they probably don’t do evening appointments unless its an emergency.” Jarvis looked at his boss with a stubborn set to his mouth. “Oh and I suggest washing it before you retire… It really does stink.”
“So would you if you had been living where I found him, do we have anything suitable for washing him?”
To say bath time for Lestrade (as Gwendolyn started to call the dog) didn’t go well, was an understatement. First off the dog wouldn’t stay in the bath tub despite Gwendolyn’s best attempts at coaxing the dog to sit in the warm water, she finally got him wet enough to shampoo but of course he decided this would be the best time to shake covering both her and the bathroom with muddy suds. After this he managed to escape and run into the hallway which became a game to the dog, his tongue lolling out of his mouth, running down the corridor then back into the bathroom with his new owner chasing him.
The new owner’s lips were set in a grim line as she wiped the shampoo bubbles from her face and set about cleaning the dog again once she got him back into the tub. Then to add insult to the list of doggy bath time crimes, during one of the escape attempts from the soaping he managed to pull his new owner straight into the tub with him so that she sat in the now filth water covered in his hair, shampoo and was of course soaked even before he started to shake over her but at least this time he didn’t attempt to run off.
Laughter from the doorway did nothing to improve Gwendolyn’s mood, Jarvis was holding onto the doorframe doubled over in laughter which became near hysterical as Lestrade joined in with soft barks as he jumped out of the tub and attempted to jump up at Jarvis.
“Well he smells better… want a hand out of the tub Boss?” He finally choked out.
Jarvis shoved the dog down whilst watching Gwendolyn’s attempts at elegantly getting herself out of the bath failed miserably and she landed back with a splash which just drew the dog’s attention so he jumped back in, thinking this was a grand game to play whilst licking her face.
“Yes, and hold him in the tub so I can rinse him please.” Came the snapped reply, it was obvious that pride was more than a bit dented.
“No chance, your mutt and you are already in the tub”