Slow Dog

There is a song by Tanya Donelly’s group Belly called “Slow Dog”. I do not think I had ever appreciated how slow a dog could be until yesterday, when I saw, walking along the pavement, an exceedingly slow dog, attached to a leash one end of which was held firmly by the dog’s owner, who was walking at an equally, and arrestingly, slow pace. In fact the pair of them were so slow that at first glance I thought they were immobile, posing on the pavement in a tableau vivant, as if to illustrate the subject “Person With Dog”. On further inspection, however, it became clear that they were both walking along, but imperceptibly, imperceptibly.

I am not familiar with all the different breeds of dog in the world but in this instance I am prepared to go out on a limb and state, clearly and decisively, that the dog was a mastiff.

I passed them by and went about my business, a series of errands which took me, in turn, to a tobacconist, an ironmongery, and a post office. Coming out of the post office, I saw something across the road which defied description. Nevertheless, fresh from my triumph at identifying a mastiff, among innumerable dog types, I am going to attempt to describe it. It was indescribably nondescript. That being so, I paid it no further attention, turned on my heel, and made my way home.

When I passed the slow dog and its master, they had progressed perhaps an inch or two along the pavement.

Home, I decided to listen to the Belly record. Tanya Donelly sings that her slow dog has “see-through skin, the kind of skin you can see through”. This was not the case with the slow mastiff I saw, so she must have been singing about a different dog entirely. It would be interesting to know which one was the slower.

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