The two trolleys almost collided in the aisle of the supermarket.
“Is that yourself, Mary. Fit and well you’re looking.” “Ah, Bridie, and how are you. It’s been ages. How are all the childer’?”
“Oh, right as rain. Here I see you’ve got yourself a dog. Your trolley’s full of dog food.”
“Ah no, Bridie. We’re going through hard times. They’re after taking away Pat’s disability allowance. They say he didn’t turn up for his medical on time and they had to reassess his claim. He’d had his left leg amputated and the HSE wanted to check that he hadn’t grown a new one, so they stopped the money and left us short so I’m feeding him dog food. I add a few spices and a lump of garlic. He loves it, doesn’t know the difference. Well, I must be off now, get home to cook the bit of dinner.” Bridie hastened out of the shop.
For many months Mary continued to feed her unsuspecting husband with dog food, but at least she tried to vary the brands a bit. He thrived on it and it left her extra money for her one vice, fags. At first the changes were small and barely noticeable. Then one night, Pat arrived home early from the local, having being barred for barking at the barman. He seemed restless in the matrimonial bed, complaining it was too hot, and took to sleeping in the foetal position on the floor. Mary was not too concerned and put it down to the normal male ageing process. When his mother-in -law made one of her infrequent visits he bared his teeth and growled at her.
“Oh,” she roared at her daughter, “you’ll have to do something about that husband of yours. Downright unsociable he is.”
But Mary realised that something would have to be done when Mrs O’Neill, one of the neighbours complained about Pat’s behavior. When she had greeted him in the street he had dropped on all fours and began to sniff around her legs. She gave him a belt of her handbag and roared, “Get away from me you bleedy prevert.”
Reluctantly, Pat was persuaded to visit Dr Rowan, the local GP. He did a thorough examination but could find nothing physically wrong.
The months passed. Then one night a garda arrived at the door with a summons for Pat.
“A summons,” Mary clasped her hand to her chest. “What’s he after doing now?”
“Well,” the garda explained, “he was found urinating against a lamp post and is charged with indecent exposure.”
“Oh, glory be to God. What’ll the neighbours think and him a daily mass goer?”
“Oh, and that’s another thing Mrs Brown. I met the parish priest Fr Ryan and he complained that Pat had taken to lapping the water out of the holy water font outside the church.”
Now that was too much for Mary. She rang the HSE and expressed her concerns about her husband’s strange behavior. They suggested an appointment with a psychiatrist.
Ten months later Pat presented himself at the local hospital. Afterwards, the doctor took Mary aside. “A most unusual condition. I’ve never come across anything like it in all my years in the medical profession. I believe it’s called canine dystropia. Basically, your husband thinks he’s a dog. The World Health Organisation has had reports of similar cases in Transylvania.”
“Transylvania,” Mary nearly fainted. “Oh, sweet Jesus, I’m living with a werewolf.”
The months flew by, and Mary again met her friend Bridie in the supermarket.
“Ah, there you are Mary. See you must have gotten rid of the dog. How’s himself.”
“Oh, Bridie, we’re all sent our crosses to bear in this valley of tears. Poor Pat was killed only last month.”
“Oh, glory be to God. And how did he get killed?” Bridie blessed herself.
“Ah, he was sitting out in the middle of the road licking himself and a 16A bus ran over him.”