Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Goodbye, Old Friend

A very sad day today. I have lost one of my oldest and best friends in the world. She and I had been together almost continuously for the past fifteen years with nary a cross word nor even much of a difference of opinion. She was a gourmand, a world traveller, a philosopher and had a will of her own that many would have envied.

She was, of course, my dog.

Peter the Great didn’t have many good things to say but he did state that “Now I know men, I prefer dogs.” And in this he was perfectly correct.

Cherry (for that was her name) came into our lives by happenstance. We took care of her for a couple of weeks whilst her owner was away. On her return, Cherry demonstrated that independence that was to be her hallmark in life – she elected not to go back to her owner. Instead she stayed with us – for fifteen more years.

Born in Florida, of what might be kindly referred to as mixed parenthood, she fitted into our family life immediately. And, tiring of Florida (as many do) she accompanied us to The Bahamas for a few years where she roamed the beaches and swam in the ocean like a regular tourist.

She lost her sight some seven years ago but it hardly slowed her down or inhibited her hedonistic life style.

Crossing the Atlantic, she became an adopted French citizen, although never to the extent of wearing a beret or smoking Gauloise as far as we know.

Continuing her travels, she visited the French Alps, the Massif Centrale, the coast of Brittany and, when I was writing my book on the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, she walked all the beaches with me. She became an implacable hunter of moles, although never actually catching one, and the excavations in the lawn were frequent testimonies to her efforts in this respect.

A lover of good hotels (provided they had elevators – she didn’t like stairs), she was the perfect travelling companion and rode thousands of kilometres in our car.

She is sadly missed.

We are burying her at the end of the driveway so that she will be able to hear our comings and goings.

And we are planting a tree in her memory.

It will be, of course, a cherry tree.


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