This is a photo of my dog Jamie with me in our garden in Cornwall one Sunday afternoon – if I remember correctly I was eating a Cornish Cream Tea – ie a cup of tea accompanied by Cornish clotted cream and jam on a scone. There is a huge debate in the West Country as to whether one should put the cream or the jam on the scone first – personally I opt to put the jam on first as the cream then sits nicely on top – trying to spread jam on top of cream is not easy. Jamie did not care which came first as long as he got a bit!
It still hurts and comes as a shock to realise that it is now over twenty years since I took him into the vet to perform the last service I could for him – he was teminally ill and, on the vet`s recommendation, I had him put to sleep. I stayed with him, cuddling him, until he died. The awful thing was that he had bounced into the vets, his usual ebullient self, looking around for a scrap (it was all show of course because I had had to carefully lift him out of the boot of the car on the journey there). I came out of the vets with his empty collar and lead. Coincidentally that was the day that I gave up smoking – I literally `kippered` myself when I got home and couldn`t face another cigarette after that.
He came from the Dogs & Cats Home in Plymouth, Devon. A poor scrap of a thing, very thin with very little fur on his legs and healing scabs where he had been scrapping. He soon flourished with love and good food. He was full of fun and loved everyone – except other dogs. He meant business there – he would go straight for the jugular. I put it down to his life on the streets before he was rescued and put into the Home.
My then partner and I had booked into a posh hotel in Falmouth – then along came Jamie. I phoned the hotel and asked whether we could bring a small, well-behaved dog with us. The answer was enthusiastic – yes they loved dogs and Jamie would be welcome. We went out into the town to do some shopping and, as we entered the foyer of the hotel we found out Jamie`s secret vice. There was a wedding reception under way – the line-up stood in the entrance to the dining room with the guests filing past. Fine. But, in the foyer itself stood the resident dog – a small fluffy thing who looked very superior. Jamie pulled on his lead which flew out of my partner`s hand and immediately headed for the spiffy looking mutt. Fur was everywhere as they rolled in a ball heading towards the wedding reception – fangs flashing. I had visions of them pulling off the tablecloth and the wedding cake crashing to the ground – oh my!
They were eventually separated and order was restored. No irreparable harm done to fur, flesh or folk. Red-faced we apologised to the hotel owner and explained we had only collected Jamie the day before from the Dogs` Home – gave them a rundown of his rotten life on the streets – and said we had no idea that he didn`t like other dogs. We were allowed to stay.
Tomorrow I will tell the tale of Jamie`s bath in the same hotel …
Yours aye, Anne