Here I am pouring out my existential angst, baring my soul, trying to express deep stuff
and all anybody cares about is the dog.
Well, let me put your minds at rest: Holly has made a miraculous recovery and is pretty much back to her usual self.
I got up early this morning and went to check on her. I was worried that the vet had missed something. Maybe she was seriously ill after all. Maybe she was dying. Oh God, the dog is going to die. At Christmas time. It will forever cast a bleak shadow over our festive cheer. Christmas is over before it has even begun.
I entered the room where Holly sleeps. She was lying inert on her bed. My breath caught in my throat. Her tail began to wag. I breathed once more. Then she remembered that she was ill. Her big golden puppy eyes looked up at me sadly. Her chin slumped on to the floor. I reached over and stroked her gently. She still looked sad yet bravely managed to roll onto her back so that I could tickle her tummy and make myself feel better.
I thought that she might need a pee so I opened the back door. She looked at me even more sadly and made no indication of any inclination to move. Oh God, she can’t pee. Her kidneys have packed in. She’s a goner for sure. I stroke her gently and explain that I am just going to make a cup of tea for me and mum. I will only be a minute.
When I return from the kitchen, mugs in hands, there is no sign of Holly. I find her upstairs on our bed, on her back, allowing Jo to make herself feel better by tickling her tummy.
“She isn’t right is she? Don’t take her for a walk. She’s not up to it. Just let her out in the garden.”
Holly spends twenty minutes helping us to feel better by tickling her tummy. In fact, every time I stop because I feel better enough, she insists that I feel even betterer and paws at me to continue.
Eventually, I get up to go downstairs.
“Wait for her. She’ll have trouble getting down the stairs.”
At which point she trots past me at some speed and I begin to suspect that she may survive Christmas after all.
She beats me to the kitchen door. As usual. She circles the kitchen table as I struggle into my wellies. As usual. I open the door and she whips out, races round the corner of the house and waits at the side gate. As usual. I assess the situation and make a unilateral decision to risk taking her for a short walk after all. To see how she is. See if she holds up.
I put the lead on and she drags me down the drive, over the road and onto the Linden field.
I let her off the lead. She races to the middle of the field and does two massive consecutive dumps. As I set about bagging up her efforts, she tears off to play with a dog she knows. They rough and tumble each other with friendly fury. Take it in turns to chase each other.
“Holly seems better” says a fellow dog walker who saw her yesterday. “Can’t believe it’s the same dog.”
Yes. Amazing powers of recovery, dogs. I think that this Christmas will have Holly, after all.
Now, back to Darkness……
You know what? I can’t be bothered. I’m just not in the mood. You will have to wait until tomorrow.
And my gift to you today?
Another hero. Another song.