On a warm July afternoon, I walked in through our front door with a small brown and white dog cradled in my arms. An hour later she had decided that this was the perfect billet.
In the blink of an eye I am walking out through our front door with the same small brown and white dog cradled in my arms. An hour later she was sleeping her final sleep.
Fourteen and a half years and eight hundred miles separate those two front doors. Fourteen and a half years for that small brown and white dog to give us so much joy and happiness.
She ruled us; a paw of iron wrapped in brown and white fur. She ruled with compassion and humour. She made us laugh, even when we should have been doing anything but laugh. She was a thief and constantly looking for food. Waiting for the opportunity to snaffle an unguarded cup cake or biscuit. To get her nose in the milk jug. Or the waste bin.
She loved the waste bin. Left alone with the waste bin securely behind doors secured with a bungee I came home to find the cupboard doors off their hinges and a delighted Purdey – feeling very pleased with herself – examining the contents of the bin now neatly spread across the floor. I scolded for two minutes and cuddled her for ten. That was the system.
She may be gone, but she will always be with us. Like most pet owners, we have photographs of her. Thousands of photographs. But they won’t be how it works; they are just the aide memoires.
Deep, dark holes have been ripped out of our hearts, but, given time, those icy voids will become receptacles for all the memories accumulated over the years, melting the ice and the pain. The process has already started and in time our friends will know that it is time to assume the rictus grin and try and pay attention. One of us will be about to tell another Purdey story.
And that is how it should be.