The Lovely Canines In Our Lives

Our friends’ 11 year old female black labrador collapsed the other day. They got her to the vet. But before the vet could do anything, she was gone.

Hearing that sad news, I immediately thought of her as a puppy on a 2005 Isles of Scilly holiday she’d been on with us all. Funny how on hearing such bad news one instantly recalls that sort of thing. I have photos of her on a PC in America during that trip. She was an absolute little star.

Our own 10 year old hound (half English springer spaniel/ half labrador: a “springador“) is now living with my in-laws in London. We’ve moved and traveled so much in recent years, they had him for months at a time and eventually just took him in “semi-permanently.” Although he has been twice to France on holidays with us, that is the extent of his foreign travel; he couldn’t be packed up like cargo flown back and forth repeatedly to America with us: we wouldn’t have ever subjected him to that “treatment.” (I’ve read Air France allows dogs in the cabin, but they can’t be more than 10 kilos. We have thought, hmm, maybe a strict, pre-flight diet? 😉 )

His London stay was supposed to be temporary. But now they don’t want to give him up. And they adore him so much, we can’t bring ourselves to separate him from them.

He’s a real softy in many ways, but for an older couple living alone in north London, he’s also serious security. More than once they’ve had strangers on the doorstep who might have been planning “no good” (one, we suspect, was trying to bluff his way in to steal), but just the sight of him, coupled with his bark, sent them on their way. (“I don’t know I really trust that big, black dog,” their postman has even said.) I’ve “told” him we all have our jobs in life and looking out for them is now his.

Our hound, now living in London with the in-laws. Give him a cardboard roll (in this case an empty gift wrap roll) and he's thrilled. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Our hound, now living in London with the in-laws. Give him a cardboard roll (in this case an empty gift wrap roll) and he’s thrilled. [Photo by me, 2015.]
He’s by far the most popular member of the extended family. Originally, he belonged to my brother-in-law and his family. (The first time I met him as a puppy at their house, he “sprinkled” a bit on a pair of expensive, Rome-bought, Italian-made boots of mine.) Ultimately, however, he didn’t fit well into their household that included multiple dogs. So we took him down to us in Dorset. Since then, he’s been a gem and seems to love being the only dog in a house.

Whenever he’s with us now, or we visit, he “reverts” to the years he lived with us. He’s suddenly “ours” again. He looks to us to walk him and feed him; he’ll meander into our bedroom at night and sleep on the floor; he sits at our feet in the lounge; he jumps into the car for us (a now old Volvo of ours that they took off of us) as if nothing ever changed.

They spoil him rotten, and I think my mother-in-law is secretly miffed that he hasn’t truly “transferred” his allegiance to being “theirs.” How do the minds of our canine pals genuinely work? Of course none of us will ever know for sure.

Have a good Wednesday, wherever you are. 🙂