UP TO SCRATCH by Diana Cooper


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The proprietor of Animal Hotel (p. 152) now has a new sideline: running a maternity home for pregnant canines. Prompted by her good friend Hetty, an imaginative veterinarian, Cooper opens her spare rooms (and cupboards) to a Scottish Shag named Demelza, a pug named Pearl, and Miss (now Mrs.) Phillidore Stossen--a ""Great Expectant Dane"" whose whelping area is inadvertently covered with a newspaper headlined, ""Are You On the Pill?"" All this, in addition to her already bustling, overcrowded household consisting of human and animal boarders and her own personal menagerie. Of course the pregnant dogs all start whelping at the same time--when ""Pa"" (Cooper's husband) is out of town, and during a terrible snowstorm. Afterward Cooper relates, in her deadpan, chatterbox manner: ""Oh, nothing much happened here. . . . The phone went off, the electricity went off. We almost ran out of food, we had no heating to speak of and nobody could reach us. Demelza had four puppies, Pearl had four. . . and Phylidda had thirteen but two died. She's managing nine quite nicely. A tenth is with Demelza and I've got Lucky Eleven in my bra. The Finch twins came over, got stranded, went home boozed up on rum and cocoa and we found over £100 in old notes in my jumble aggi boots."" Good-natured pother for animal lovers.

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's