…the wind in my fur….

20170527_112426 (2)Westie General: My fear is that my sons will never understand me… Hao! Bark ye! We won again! [Cheers] This is good. But what is best in life?

Westie Warrior: The open field, food in my belly, sun in my face, and the wind in my hair.

Westie General: Wrong! Eddie, what is best in life?

Eddie (by way of Conan): To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their owners!

Westie General: [Cheers]…That is good.

 

(I’m in a very strange mood today, by Crom.)

February 21st, 2013

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Today is the fourth anniversary of losing our King Charles Cavalier, Barney. The days and nights and weeks and months have rolled on four years now- at once it seems a long time ago and only yesterday. A gentle rolling mystery of the workings of relentless Time- how can it seem so long ago and yet also seem just a few months ago? So much has changed and so little. It seems a particularly cruel twist of fate that in those four years we have gained and loved and lost another dog, too. With thoughts like that, Barney seems a long distant memory, lost in the tumultuous shadow of our still-intense grief over young Ben.

And yet, today, standing in the back garden where he used to love to run and play, near the sundial that marks where where we buried him, Barney seems to be only yesterday. I can see the bright glitter of his eyes and hear his bark and remember the feel of his fur under my fingers, his weight on my lap (not inconsiderable, he did go to doggy Fat Club, after all). “First rule of Fat Club, we don’t talk about Fat Club,” I used to tell him. “The second rule of Fat Club…” well, you know how that goes, and I’m sure Barney did too. I used to talk to him as if he were human and he used to look back at me with the wearisome patience only dogs have, as if they understand everything and humour their owners with a bored wag of their tail as they wait for mealtime to arrive. Barney sure did love his food. But he did beat Fat Club; he got his weight down -and even featured in our local newspaper, a moment of fame- and lived a month shy of thirteen brilliant years.

The price of loving is the weight of grieving, the currency of love our tears- I shed plenty over Barney. That last week was pretty brutal.

I do think of him often, it’d be impossible not to. Memories of him are everywhere in the house, and the garden. But the tears have dried up, I think, replaced by the fresh ones over Ben. I can think of Barney with warmth and fondness, the sadness faded, while thinking of Ben is still shards of glass twisting in my chest.

As is our tradition, we bought flowers and placed them above the spot where we buried him in our back garden the day after he died. I reserve a special hate for that day, just a week after my birthday that year, digging a hole for my dog under a bitter-grey sky that shed flakes of snow. Why is it that memory reserves a particular ability to remain vivid when it concerns such unpleasant times? It’d be so much more merciful to forget days like that.

Later, we play a disc of video footage of Barney, a time machine to priceless moments that we relive around this time of year. Suddenly he’s alive and barking, its Spring of 2009 and he’s chasing his ball as I kick it around that back garden where he rests now forever. His loud barking fills our room and our Westie, Eddie starts barking back, annoyed at the mystery of a room suddenly filled with the joyous barking of a strange dog.  In the same way as starting  a new journey and adventure with a perfect puppy named Ben helped heal the pain over Barney, the new experiences of our Westie puppy Eddie is helping us heal the pain of losing Ben. I always thought that Ben was a blessing, and the same is true of Eddie. Dogs can be the cure of sadness just as they can be the inescapable cause of sadness.

So today we remember Barney, as we will when its the anniversary of his birthday next month, and we recall birthday morning treats when we gave him a croissant to eat. Yeah, the first rule of Fat Club…

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Eddie on the run

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Slow news day, so a picture of Eddie from this morning’s walk. Bit blurry, as it’s a snap taken with my phone, but you can tell the little fella was enjoying himself. He did insist on running through mud which necessitated a bath when he got back so his good mood didn’t last long (Westies seem to despise baths/water- at least, this one does).

I’ve been ‘off the grid’ for a few days (Tron lives forever). Its birthday week, you see, in which my family has five birthdays within the space of a week, with Valentine’s day thrown in the middle just for good measure and further expense at the card shop. So its a belated Happy Birthday to me (last Wednesday) and an apology for breaking my daily postings if anybody out there is noticing (hey, I managed from Jan 1st thru to middle of Feb, so not bad).

So whats happening? Well, I’ve been progressing through season 4 of Person of Interest as I bought season 5 a few weeks back and I’m adamant that I’m not buying discs just to leave them on the shelf. I’ve been reading Carrie Fisher’s memoir The Princess Diarist (birthday present) and listening to Max Richter’s Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works (another birthday present). No doubt I’ll enlarge upon them on subsequent postings. Oh, and I’ve been wasting time shooting bad guys on Sniper Elite 4 of course. The only good Nazi is a dead… well, you know how that goes. And I pulled a 14-hour shift at work on Friday. So I’ve been tired all weekend, but it’s been a great weekend with young Eddie.

 

Eddie in the snow

p1050418-2Woke up to a little snow this morning, not much more than a dusting really, although it continued to fall up to early afternoon. It gave young Eddie his first experience of the white stuff and he relished racing around in it. Dogs are weird.

Of course, I simply had to take photos to record the event. Dog owners are weird too.

 

Eddie welcomes 2017

p1050259-2Heres a photo of our puppy, Eddie, looking rather subdued on New Years Eve, evidently miffed that he’s not getting enough treats. He’s certainly looking less the cute polar bear and more the Westie these days. He’s just over three months old now.

Now we’ve had him for awhile, we’re getting to know his character and he’s a great little guy- he’s pretty much everything we could have wished for, attentive, playful and well-behaved. He’s enjoying his first walks outside and getting to know the other dog-walkers and their dogs. Its been nice meeting  those we haven’t seen for awhile, although sadly, even though it’s been six months since we lost poor Ben, we are still meeting some people who hadn’t heard what happened. So we have to go through it all again, which brings it all rushing back.

The worse thing was going to my phone to send some messages at New Year and seeing an old sent message from Jan 31st 2015 that had.a photo of Ben on it. Seeing a picture of him unexpectedly like that was – it was like the last six months hadn’t happened and I was thrown back to late June when we lost him; at moments like that it’s as if it all happened only yesterday.

Its only at such moments that we can really appreciate how much of a boon having Eddie is. Claire and I still talk about Ben all the time (as we do our dog previous to Ben, Barney, really), but having Eddie around and keeping us busy is a welcome distraction and easing the painful reminders. Eddie could never replace Ben and indeed it’s already evident how very different in character and temperament they are, but he somehow helps us remember Ben with warmth and happiness rather than sadness. I can only imagine how awful this past Christmas would have been without a dog in the house. Christmas morning isn’t right unless you have a dog tearing open his Christmas presents…

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