I have two dogs albeit one of them is dead. And although his passing was sad, so sad, it was the right time and this is not a sad post. He turned sixteen the day before and got his birthday cake from Marks and Spencer as usual. There was nothing wrong with his appetite.
Indeed towards the end he allowed himself more freedom when it came to comestibles. We had been able to leave food on any surface including low slung coffee tables because our dogs were trained not to steal. And they didn’t. But in the last few months of his life a freshly made sandwich would disappear off a side table as Daughter #1 returned to the kitchen to get her cup of tea or a bowl of doritos and spicy dip could be decimated in the TV room. It doesn’t take long to eat a sandwich or demolish a bowl of doritos and spicy dip when you’re a hungry Golden Retriever. Goldie’s are always hungry and B……. in his dotage was hungrier than most.
Around the same time Daughter #2 returning from uni slung her bag in the hallway while she rushed to the loo after a slow train, to save funds, home. Later, while looking for her iPod, she commented on the fact that everything in the bag felt wet and rather revolting. Little surprise to my motherly ear I must say but she then mentioned her half eaten Upper Crust baguette had disappeared. Evaporated save for the packaging which was wet, revolting and sported a largish hole. That evening we found B……. head thrust into handbag hunting for seconds.
I mentioned training in my first paragraph but please take this as a most liberal definition of the word. Training/obedience was not one of B…….’s fortés. His forté was being naughty.
He wasn’t naughty in a Marley sense. He never chewed toilet bowls or dragged Mr Carmichael or me through crowded streets creating havoc. He created enough on his own terms and on his own turf.
B……. liked to have a good time and particularly on walks. I think he’d have made a great explorer and I say this because he regularly demonstrated his independent and intrepid nature whilst taking the air.
Here follows some (but not nearly all) highlights and lowlights caused by his miscreant nature:
Unseating a horse rider on the Common; dragging a barbed wire fence home attached to his magnificent tail; forcing me to abandon puppy training due to an overexuberance in the mounting of other classmates; mounting an elderly blind Daschund on the Common; being caned by the elderly blind Daschund’s elderly owner (he was neutered shortly after this which made not a blind bit of difference); catching on fire (I do however blame Mr Carmichael for not noticing or putting him out); sporting three bald patches for weeks because of an afternoon’s smouldering; eating horse manure at every opportunity; rolling in cow pats at every opportunity; rolling in fox scat (the worst from my POV) at every opportunity; chasing sheep, calves, muntjacs and larger deer whenever and wherever possible; running away on walks at every opportunity and from home whenever occasion presented itself (thankfully one rescuer fed him a chicken breast while awaiting my arrival so I could always drive directly to her house after that); stealing golf balls in play; causing F……. (his well behaved brother and my one remaining dog) and me to get trapped in sinking mud by the Chess River; never coming out of water with a willing or timely demeanour; almost catching a Queen’s swan in Black Park (we never ventured there again); trying to swim to America (from Wales); living a secret life upstairs when we were all out (we only know about this because of repeat calls from the burglar alarm people and the police); having to have three ears operated on for the same thing and displaying intently recidivistic tendencies to all banned activities.
B……. responded to his name at his choice only. In fact Mr Carmichael was wont to muse that he actually thought his name was ‘bertie, Bertie, BERTIE, BERTIE’ and that, I think, is being kind.
It’s odd to think that when I chose my puppy’s name I had no idea that it would be repeated, shouted and screamed ad nauseum for sixteen years while his brother’s would hardly be heard in public.
B…….’s favourite movie was Homeward Bound, his favourite food was anything except uncooked tomatoes, his favourite song was Happy Birthday (this meant cake), his favourite time of the day, breakfast, dinner, bed time (piece of toast) and walk time and his favourite people, us.
What can I say? It was all so worth it.