The immortal Benji, our 18-year-old Yorkshire terrier, has failed to beat the clock.
He departed for the Elysian Fields just before Christmas, sped on his way in his own chair by a gentle vet, accompanied by floods of tears from Sheila and a lump in my throat big enough to choke a donkey.
Among many other things it meant that dogs dominated the entire holiday. Should we get another with the probability that we would predecease it for a change? Should we pay through the nose for a pedigree or re-home a pooch? We consulted all our photo-albums and decided that our Sadie was way up there with the best...
We didn’t know anything about Sadie’s antecedents except that she had something extremely hairy in the background. She was medium-sized and chased squirrels and wouldn’t know what to do if she caught one..
She had a bewildering turn of speed. I timed her once on Middleton sands on my 250cc Kawasaki and she touched 35mph.
I used to have this fantasy about our Sadie. There was a gypsy camp at dawn. A caravan door opened, a boot swung and the dog shot out with stern instructions not to come back without breakfast.
A pheasant, chicken, hedgehog, rabbit; anything would do. In the olden days before instant brekkies Sadie’s patrons were more hungry than fussy. But I fear the dog wouldn’t have cut the mustard. What she brought back was my right slipper. She was addicted to false pregnancies and lavished upon that slipper all the love of a mother for her child.
If Sadie was an old love, firmly in the young pillock class was Tink, a Jack Russell we once owned. He refused to accept her status in life and hated most other dogs, attacking sneakily from the rear and doing all sorts of damage to the enemy’s undercarriage.
He must have neutered more dogs than the resident vet at Battersea until one day when a battle-scarred Staffie took serious exception and Tink met his Waterloo. He was buried in the back garden with full military honours like the warrior he truly was.
I always remember one occasion whan the vet was stitching him up and he didn’t bat an eyelid when the needlework started. Our Sadie, on the other hand had to be tranquilised before we could even walk past the surgery.
Meanwhile do you know anyone looking for a good home for a pooch? Phone me on 01524 425022.