We are expecting visitors in the next week or so and Billy is going to be so excited with all these people staying here! He just loves visitors. Shadow on the other hand will retire to the laundry and grumble at anyone who has the temerity to use the toilet.
Toilet visits here are fraught with problems. There is little privacy when a visitor wants to use our one and only toilet, which is located in the laundry on the porch outside the back door. It is wise for visitors to announce their intentions to us so that we can take the necessary actions to safeguard their visit to the loo.
When a visitor needs to use the "facilities" we have to de-Billy the laundry first. This is harder than it sounds. Billy likes nothing better than to accompany those visiting the loo and offering any form of assistance they might (or even might not) want. Putting his head in their lap and looking up at them with mournful eyes, while they are seated is his favourite way of helping out, meaning that one rises with a patch of wet drool on one's bare legs. He then leans against you while you try to wipe this off and "adjust your clothing". Billy has been known to knock people sideways during this delicate procedure. Luckily no-one has landed in the actual toilet bowl, although I did come perilously close one time (Don't ask! I don't want to talk about it.).
Lately he has developed a new strategy that is only slightly more acceptable than his head on the lap technique. Billy now sits down beside whoever is unfortunate enough to be using the facilities and looks for all the world like he's planning on behaving himself. As soon as you are lulled into a false sense of security Billy begins his new line of attack. He slowly stands, still not looking at you, and backs up. Before you know it you are up close and personal with Billy's back end, his tail wagging somewhere around your knees if you are lucky, somewhere around your face if you are not. The first worrying thought is that Billy is preparing to back up with a view to sitting on your lap while you are a captive audience. You can rest easy on this score. Billy has never yet actually sat on someone's lap while they are visiting our toilet. No, what Billy wants is that special spot at the base of his tail scratched. If you refuse to participate in this favourite pastime of Billy's he believes you haven't had enough encouragement and begins to back up closer and closer until you are leaning back as far as the cistern will let you. Occasionally Billy will look over his shoulder with a "What's wrong back there? Why isn't anything happening base of tail wise?" look on his face.
I've tried pushing his rump out of the way, I've tried ignoring him, I've tried rousing on him. Nothing works. Billy continues to live in hope. Why don't I put him out when I enter the laundry you ask? Because I am such a sucker for a pair of big sad eyes that promise to stay right where they are, along with the rest of the dog, on the floor over near the washing machine and far, far away from the toilet. Sometimes he actually does stay put leading me to hope that that will happen again next time. It rarely does.
Once you survived whichever stratagem Billy has chose and you have redressed yourself it's time to wash your hands. You have to negotiate the distance from one end of the laundry to the other - a total of about three feet. This is much harder than it sounds because Billy is there with you all the way. Exchanging pleasantries and doing a lot more leaning as you try to move those few vital feet to the sink. Giving Billy a pat and telling him he's a good boy (an out and out lie, but by this time you are desperate to wash you hands and get out of there!) will only result in Billy dropping to the floor in front of you and exposing large areas of tummy to be rubbed. For such a huge dog he always manages to perform this little feat with surprising agility, meaning that he is on the floor in no time flat, taking up all the available space including where your feet are at the moment. This results in the toiletee once again being in grave danger of falling over. The bright side of this you quickly see is that you have plenty of soft, squishy St Bernard to land on when you do reach the floor. The downside you only discover when you land. Billy is ever helpful (it's the St Bernard Way!) and is more than happy to give you some welcoming licks as you land with a thud, and lots of drool to be going on with. As you struggle to regain your feet, you realise that Billy is using his front paws to bat at you in an attempt to pull you back down for some reason. Then it dawns on you - you haven't patted his tummy and this is his subtle way of telling you so.
So you give his tummy a rub, climb back on to your feet and finally gain the longed for laundry sink. You are able to wash your hands and leave the laundry with only a few pawing motions from the supine Billy making you buckle at the knees.
Is it any wonder we rush out to de-Billy the laundry before visitors enter?
And what is Shadow doing all this time? She is lying on her bed, glaring at the visitor and grumbling about this invasion of her personal territory as I mentioned earlier. She is blames the toilet user for all this mayhem and offers no sympathy what so ever. Shadow expects bad behaviour from Billy at all times so she tends to blame those who actually supply Billy with the means to behave badly, rather than Billy himself. She leaves visitors in no doubt that they should show some self control and wait until they get home to relieve themselves - regardless of how many days they are visiting here!!
Now, who else would like to come to Spring Rock for a visit??