A Very Short Dog Story
Simon? No, but so much like him I could not resist.
My family have had lots of pets over the years.
Welcome to A Very Short Dog Story.
My family and I have had a lot of pets over the years: budgies, parrots, dogs, cats. My wife and I have been married for fifty-one years. Over forty years ago, when I was a young twenty-seven or so, I brought home a little, black Labrador puppy. I called him Simon. Much to the consternation of a cousin of mine who a few weeks later gave birth to her first child and had - I realised later- a name picked for her baby. She’d called him Simon. The result: There was a lot of confusion on one occasion when she was talking about her baby and my wife and I were talking about our dog.
Simon was a wonderful little dog.
Anyway, Simon was a wonderful little dog and would be a fitting companion to grow up with my own children, Stephen, then six, and my daughter Debbie, a little three-year old. But Simon was really my pup. And he followed me everywhere. That little dog absolutely loved me. I taught him to come, to sit, to heal, and to sit and stay. One day I got him to sit and stay and forgot all about him. I went inside and had lunch. Came out about thirty minutes later and the poor little blighter was still sitting there, shivering with cold. Hadn’t moved an inch. What a beautiful little puppy! I still feel a little guilty about that.
I went over and picked him up.
One afternoon Simon didn’t come when I called him. He lay huddled on the front veranda. He simply raised his head, cocked an ear, and looked at me. I went over and picked him up. His nose was warm and dry and he was a weight in my arms. Come to think of it, he hadn’t been his chirpy self all day, and this morning I’d noticed that he was sort of pulling his back legs along. Dragging them.
Well, you guessed it. I was stroking his head when I noticed the lump behind his ear. It was a black lump, same colour as his fur. But it wasn’t just a lump. It was a black cattle-tick’s swollen backside. The tick had buried itself right inside Simon’s neck, just a sort of half-ball, barely discernible, poked out.
A very short dog story.
I went inside, got some turps and rubbed it on the tick’s rump. It moved. I was able to grab it with a pair of tweezers. But the damage had already been done: the poison had already been released.
Now, I’d heard never heard about ticks and dogs in those days. Perhaps because I’d been raised in the U.K. Or if I had heard , I hadn’t taken any notice. Dogs and ticks don’t mix.
Well, I just knew, in my heart, that it was too late. Poor little Simon truly was on his ‘last legs.’ In fact he wasn’t on his legs at all. I doubt he could stand. I cradled him in my arms as he lay on my lap. His head was tilted towards me and he was looking me right in the face. His eyes and my eyes met and held. Our heads were very close. You know, I had no idea that the eyes of a little dog could radiate such love. He adored me.
Of course I cried. I loved the little guy.
As I gazed, that beautiful look in Simon’s eyes, suddenly faded into a glaze. Simon was gone. His life energy had departed. What I held now in my arms was not Simon but a dead puppy whose physical warmth was still there, but discernibly fading. I sat there for a long, long time as that warmth slowly drained away. And I don’t mind admitting the tears rolled down.