We never had a dog

Sunday 2nd October 

In all the years of growing up we never had a dog, Grandma would have never countenanced such a thing I am sure, and growing up, maybe sensing this, I never asked for one.  It therefore came as a surprise when my mother once told me about her dog, a spaniel I believe it was, and the long walks she would take it on as a young teenager, long-long walks for hours on end, and how happy she had been, just walking with this dog. Now, I had great difficulty in imagining my mother being young or happy, she had worn her misery like a cloak for so long that her actually admitting to a period of happiness, even if she was only twelve or thirteen at the time, came as something of a shock to me.  Could it have been the dog, the freedom that the dog gave her, the excuse to escape the house, to walk and walk, as she described it; and the dog was not only an excuse, a reason to walk, but also an integral part of her happiness, the key maybe to temporarily lifting her spirits, because by the time she had me, they had surely descended again.

Well I never had a dog, and even after Grandma, when it was just my mother and I alone in that house we never had a dog either.  My mother had started collecting cats, all sorts of waifs and strays, and they say that you are either a cat or a dog person. I have become a cat person too, my little Puddy-tat would be most put out I imagine if I were ever to get a dog.

Because of our lifestyle, spending long holidays each summer in Italy, it was quite impractical to have had any pets, let alone such a dependent creature as a dog, but I know that Edward really loved dogs. There were always dogs in his home when he was growing up, and he and his first wife had dogs too.  Whenever we visited friends with a dog, Edward would spend hours stroking and petting them; I tended to keep my distance, and was always a bit wary, especially of the larger breeds.  And keeping my distance I have continued, which is a pity as I think that on the whole they are far more faithful friends than cats can ever be.  My Puddy-tat wouldn’t hang around for long if I weren’t there to feed her I am sure.

I have decided that when Puddy-tat takes her leave I may well get a small dog, a shih-tzu maybe or a small terrier, but I am not all sure how we will get along; as I said we never had a dog.