Fluffy was a small, white dog, a small, white dog with a particularly fine, feathery tail - hence his name. He was owned by a couple who ran a village pub, a childless couple who regarded Fluffy as their surrogate child and treated him as such. Sad to say, the day came - as come it must for all dogs - for Fluffy to head off to that large kennel in the sky. The publican and his wife were distraught; they just could not conceive of a life without their precious Fluffy. The regulars at the pub were upset as well, Fluffy having been a favourite of them all. So the publican decided to cut off Fluffy's beautiful feathery tail and nail it up behind the bar.
When Fluffy arrived at the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter took one look and, aghast, exclaimed, "But Fluffy, what has happened to your beautiful tail?"
Fluffy explained how the publican had cut it off to act as a reminder to him, his wife and all the customers at the village pub. Saint Peter looked upset.
"You can't come into Heaven like that," he said. "You'll just have to go back and get your tail."
"But how can I do that?"
Saint Peter explained that if Fluffy walked along the lane he would come to a layby and in that layby would be a cloud.
"The driver will be there," said Saint Peter, "so all you have to do is tell him where you need to go. But you must be back here by seven o'clock in the morning! Don't forget, now!"
Sure enough, Fluffy had not been walking very long before he came to the layby. As Saint Peter had promised, there was a cloud parked up with a driver dozing on it. Fluffy climbed aboard and told the driver where he needed to go. Without a word, the driver - a taciturn sort of chap - entered the details in his sat-nav and off they set.
When they landed on the village green everywhere was dark. It was so late that even the street lights had been switched off. But that didn't deter Fluffy, who knew the village very well - and besides, dogs rely more on scent than sight. The pub, just like the rest of the village, was in darkness but Fluffy made his way unerringly to the back door, his usual entrance.
He scratched at the door. Nothing happened.
He scratched again. Still nothing happened.
Taking two paces back, he sat down, threw back his head and howled as loudly as he could. A window flew open and the publican stuck his head out.
"You're right!" he called over his shoulder to his wife. "It is Fluffy. What are you doing, Fluffy? What do you want?"
Fluffy explained how Saint Peter had said he couldn't go into Heaven without his tail.
"Could you just stick it back for me, please?"
"I can't do that now," replied the publican. "You'll have to come back tomorrow lunch time."
"Please," said Fluffy in his most pleading voice. He went on to explain that Saint peter had told him he must be back before seven o'clock.
"I can't help that," said the publican. "You've been a pub dog all your life. You know very well that I can't retail spirits after hours."