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After they’d waited for about an hour, the doctor asked Cecilia and Josephine to come in.


‘Such a pleasure to see you, Cecilia,’ said the doctor, kissing her hand. ‘What can I do for you?’


‘My little dog is pregnant,’ she said simply.


‘I see,’ said the vet, who had a long beaked nose that made him look rather like an obnoxious, chattering parrot. ‘I can appreciate how you must feel.’


‘What d’ you mean?’ asked Cecilia.


‘Naturally you’re thinking about how difficult things will get for you. I can well imagine how extremely inconvenient it will be, to have to use a guide-dog who will soon be unable to walk properly.


‘But I don’t use my dog,’ declared Cecilia.


‘Ah yes, of course,’ replied the vet. ‘I understand – you’re a musician, you have sensitive feelings. Well then, let’s have a look at her.’ And he signaled to Josephine to follow him. She gave a vexed growl, but went along with him. She couldn’t wait to see her puppies showing up on the doctor’s computer screen.


When the doctor placed the scanning machine above Josephine’s little belly, an endless series of delightful little beeps echoed round the surgery, as if from a chorus of well-synchronized digital watches.


‘Just as I expected,’ said the vet. ‘Five healthy puppies.’


Josephine gave a joyous bark, and Cecilia waved her hands in the air excitedly.


Finally, the vet led the two friends into his office. He gave an embarrassed cough and his face set in a frown.


‘So, my dear Cecilia, what are we going to do, going forward?’ he asked.


‘What do you mean?’ asked Cecilia.


‘About the puppies. What do you want us to do? Terminate the pregnancy, or let them be born, and then arrange to have them sold off? As you know, your dog is a very valuable breed – a mastiff, and a black one too. An impressive looking dog with an amiable temperament. And of course, you are – ahem! – quite a celebrity. You should be able to get a lot of money for them.’


Then came something no one was expecting. Josephine, the calmest, least excitable dog in the world, hurled herself at the doctor with such violent force that he fell over on the floor. He shouted out, struggled to free himself – but all in vain. He couldn’t work out what had happened – but Cecilia certainly could. How dared this miserable quack talk like that, in front of a mother-to-be, about selling her babies?


‘Get this ghastly dog off me!’ the doctor was screaming. ‘Quickly, bring the tranquillizer,’ he ordered his assistant.


Cecilia heard footsteps approaching closer and closer: she could smell the nurse’s perfume as she came up to rescue her boss. She was probably holding the hypodermic needle for the injection. Cecilia jumped to her feet, and cried:


‘Stop! Anyone who dares to harm a single hair of my dog will have to do it over my dead body!’


Everyone who had rushed into the office to see what was happening suddenly stood still, frozen in shock.


‘Let’s go, Josephine,’ said Cecilia. This doctor isn’t any use to us.’


Cecilia swept out of his office with her head held high, and followed her four-legged friend out of the surgery, leaving the vet still trembling with terror. As they left they could hear him yell: ‘They should both be chained up! Put in straitjackets! I never want to see them in here again!’


The Incredible Discovery of Sebastian Montefiore
© 2015 Kedros, Athens
Abstract translated into English by John Thornley ©2016