It would seem that I have become the owner of a little black dog. In fact I am reluctant to use the word owner - I don't want to own this dog. I don't even want this dog visiting my property - but turn up it does, and bark and bark and bark until my head is full of dog and I have no choice but to let it in the house for a time.
This dog has hung around my house once or twice before, and usually by ignoring it - or taking it on a walk until it's exhausted - it seems to prefer to go and find a more hospitable owner. I last saw this dog more than twelve months ago, previous to that around 3 years earlier, and so when I managed to 'lose' it back then, I was pretty confident it wouldn't be dumb enough to find it's way back to me.
But it was. And it has. And that dog is, frankly, a pain in the head as well as the ass. There have been days when I have actually welcomed that dog - it's familiar and warm after all, even if it's kind of smelly and never quite fits properly tucked in beside me. Occasionally it snarls at me, even bares it's teeth and I realise that this dog, though small and seemingly insignificant is still right there, pawing at me for attention that I don't want to give it.
The problem with this little black dog is that I don't actually know if it's fully grown or not. I don't know if it's a basically healthy dog that might, with some care and attention, turn into something I don't mind keeping around at all - or if it in fact it's going to turn out to be a burden - always sick, always wanting attention, and a total drain not only on me but on my family and friends (and that's my suspicion).
Most of the time I ignore it. I can keep myself busy, my brain occupied, and my work and family life, social and spiritual lives full and interesting - but that dog! That dog is right there on the other side of the door, pawing to get in. And it's not like I can rehome it - that's the thing about little black dogs - no one actually wants them, save a few that seem to rather enjoy having such a troublesome creature as their faithful friend.
Today that dog is following me around (turns out there's truth in the expression ''dogged by something''!). Its behaving quite well by keeping it's distance, but I know it's there - a little shadow on my path, threatening to jump on me, or cut me off, or have me tangled in the long long lead I prefer to keep it on.
So what do I do about this dog?