This morning, I walked Jumble down the road and into our field. Lumpily ‘iced’ with pungent dung, it is a feast of the senses for my dog: He rushes over the dun-coloured frosting of this agricultural cake, nose and tongue busy in wafts and bites of rapturous delight. Given half a chance, he’d be rolling ecstatically in it! And, for all that the smell is on the strong side for me (and could, in all probability, wake the Grim Reaper’s latest scythees), I love to watch Jumbs’ questing black and grey form, see his pleasure, his touching abandon; I adore the fact that, at almost fourteen, he retains his joy in life – that his tail is perky and waggy, and he is happy.
A month ago, I thought he was doomed; now, he seems better than he has in ages – alert, responsive, eager to be patted, stroked, talked to; liking, on our walks, to look back and be sure that I am still there, that what he is doing is all right in my eyes, that communication with Own Goddess remains.
And I, touched and relieved beyond measure that this precious animal has been spared for a few more months, or even years, delight in his company, laugh at his more outrageous antics and think to myself, ‘Enjoy your cowpats, Jumbs! They’re unlikely to do you any harm and you clearly see them as a gourmet experience! Just don’t be offended if I refuse to join in…’