Two Hairy Brothers: 4

Letter from Bro Dyfrig BFdeB to Bro Duncan PBGV

Howton Grove Priory
,
Herefordshire

30 December 2016

Dear Cousin Dunc,

BigSis says that, if I’m good and stop chewing my sore paw, she’ll let me do the blog tomorrow. Trouble is, I haven’t many thoughts in my head other than the usual — food, sleep and walks. Can you advise?

Love and licks,

Bro Dyfrig xx

P.S. I bet Christmas in Beyond was . . . heavenly.

Letter from Bro Duncan PBGV to Bro Dyfrig BFdeB

The Heavenly Houndland
Beyond

30 December 2016

My dear Bro Dyfrig,

You’re obviously coming on by leaps and bounds, young sprog. My literary career didn’t begin until I was quite mature; but I’m sure you’ll make a good blogger in time. As to advice, well, it is the end of the year and human beans tend to get silly and sentimental, especially if they’ve had too much to drink. Perhaps you could say something about being determined to make 2017 a better year for everybody? Keep it simple and they’ll lap it up.

Your affectionate old cousin,

Duncan

Letter from Bro Dyfrig BFdeB to Bro Duncan PBGV

Howton Grove Priory
,
Herefordshire

31 December 2016

Dear Cousin Dunc,

Thank you for your advice. I lay awake in my basket all night long thinking about what I should say today — and then, pow!, it hit me. I should write about what I know best. I know I think about food, sleep and walks most of the time, but I realise that I always think about them with gratitude. P’raps what human beans need is more gratitude and fewer grumbles, then they would be happier — just like you and me, in fact.

So, I thought about saying that, as 2016 comes to an end, instead of moaning and groaning about everything that went wrong and all the disappointments the old year held, we could say thank you for all the things that went right: for the times we got up and the sun was shining, and our paws weren’t sore, and our food bowls were full, and someone gave us a tummy rub or whatever the human bean equivalent is, and life was wonderful because it is life and is to be treasured, every single moment of it. And I thought I could add that even the difficult bits can be O.K. I was very sad to leave my old home in Wallingford, but the monastery isn’t too bad and BigSis and LittleSis do everything They can to make sure I’m happy.

Then I thought some more (it was a long night) and decided I could remind human beans that dogs don’t keep a score of wrongs done (we’re a bit like our Heavenly Master in that respect) and they could try to make peace with those they’ve hurt or let down and begin the New Year with joy and gladness and a dogged determination to try to be kinder and more generous to everyone. That’s much better than making resolutions about losing weight or learning Swahili, and possibly harder, too.

Finally, I thought about the advice you gave me when I was professed: to be myself, but to be my best self. The more I think about it, the more true I realise it is. I think you are the wisest dog I know, Cousin Dunc; and I will try to follow your advice in 2017.

Love and licks,

Bro Dyfrig xx

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Two Hairy Brothers: 3

Letter from Bro Dyfrig BFdeB to Bro Duncan PBGV

Howton Grove Priory
Herefordshire

Feast of St Dyfrig 2016

Dear Cousin Dunc,

Sorry I’m a bit late telling you all about my profession on 11 November, but I’ve been very busy being good and keeping the squirrels out of the garden and today’s been a bit hectic, what with being my feast-day and all that.

It was a lovely day: They chose the feast specially because St Martin was French and very brave, just like me, and shared his coat with a poor man, just as I shed mine all over Them when I get excited. Bro Eric was there to give me some fellow male support, which was nice because he thought about giving me chicken for dinner and other nice things as well. It’s very hard being the only chap in a monastery of nuns sometimes, but you understand that.

The ceremony was quite short. First of all, BigSis asked me if I were happy (yes), and whether I’d eat and sleep as taught by the Rule (yes), and occasionally obey the orders given me (definite maybe on that one: They have to obey all the time, so, you see, it pays to be a dog), and then she went on to mention something about the chicken for my dinner; so after that I kept totes quiet and just looked eager. I was then dressed in the clothing of the monastery as it says in the Rule, and got my St Benedict’s medal and leather collar; and then we had a little party. Here are some photos of the event.

First, this is me paying close attention to that mention of chicken for dinner:

Bro Dyfrig listens to the prioress

Then, here’s Bro Eric giving me some encouragement because I did have a nervous moment about what I might be letting myself in for:
buddies

And then you see the shiny new medal that shows I am a Frater Dilectissimus (Beloved Brother) of the community for ever and ever. I’ll send you one of my leather collar, but that’s less interesting than the medal, which came all the way from Monte Cassino.

Bro Dyfrig displays his St Benedict medal

Now, of course, it’s back to normal; but I think I like normal. You can’t have chicken every day, can you; but you can have kibble — and be grateful.

Love and licks,

Bro Dyfrig BFdeB

Letter from Bro Duncan PBGV to Bro Dyfrig BFdeB

The Heavenly Houndland
Beyond
14 November, 2016

My dear Bro Dyfrig,

I was very pleased to hear from you, young sprog, and know that you are now a permanent member of the community. Enjoy your feast day, but don’t forget that this is when it all begins. You’ve had the big ceremony and the chicken and the fuss-making, now you’ve got to work at being a good monastic dog, just as Human Beans have to work at marriage after they’ve had the wedding ceremony. The eating and sleeping isn’t difficult, but you’ll have to try harder to steer clear of the allurements of the guest sofa and learn how to fulfil all your duties cheerfully and more or less on time. Those famous cloth ears of yours may need a bit of attention — you’re a Fauve, not a PBGV, after all..

Brave as you are, you will have to be ready to greet everyone in a friendly fashion — you may even have to be nice to the squirrels occasionally; but not cats, definitely not cats in the enclosure. Heroic canine virtue does not stretch that far, so you can relax on that score.

Your main role will be ‘meeter and greeter’ or what St Benedict calls the porter of the monastery. Being the ‘wise old man at the door of the monastery’ is a great responsibility; but I know you’ll give it your best. Just go on being you and you won’t go far wrong. Give my love to Them.

Your devoted old cousin,

Bro Duncan PBGV

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