Tuesday 1 November 2011

Noble dog

I give Dusty’s ears one last stroke in the back of the van before they drive her away. My first-born, the most devoted girl you could wish for. Gone. I managed to stop myself asking what now. I suppose the deep freeze is inevitable. But at least she’s going to have an individual cremation and they’ll bring me the ashes when I’m back from Vietnam.

Dan puts his arm round my shoulders as we watch the van disappear round the corner. ‘Well done, Lize,’ he says, giving me a little squeeze. Tears are glistening in his eyes.

We go back in for a cup of tea before heading off to Canham to catch the 3.15 to Heathrow. I wish we’d thought of that yesterday. It’s just that I had everything precision-planned.

‘There are some dogs that are real personalities,’ Dan is saying. ‘Bonzo was one and Dusty was another. Digger’s an insipid dog really. His personality consists of jumping in the air with all four legs and barking.’

I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Dan, who has always mocked Dusty for being working class, while his dog, Digger, is of noble breeding. Dan, who has hitherto dismissed Dusty for being insipid, just because she lies under the table rather than be boffed by Digger.

Why do people always wait until you’re dead before they can say something nice about you?

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