One minute of desperate hope, the next plunged into despair. I look at him and remember him as a beautiful, healthy, perky puppy, running around with his siblings, jumping up to catch his father’s ears or trying to nudge his way to his mother to suckle.
Then I remember bringing him home with Helen, his sister, in a carton box, getting them out of the car and introducing them to my household help. The look of wonder and smiling faces of my staff and the look of wonder and questioning on the faces of the puppies.
I remember their first few days of exploring the house, of trying to housebreak them, but they were still too young to understand; of feeding them and getting them used to their sleeping areas; where the water was and acclimatising them to the dogs already there, Cookie and Frisky.
I remember when they first saw the cats and took them for granted that these were among the normal sights in this new home. Their favourite place was right at my feet, sleeping between the sofa and the coffee table.
I remember when they started growing, but were still too little to climb up on my bed. The two of them standing there, whining and jumping up and down trying to climb up on the bed. I remember the first time, it was Troy, being bigger in size, managing to finally claw his way up on my bed. His triumph and elation, jumping all over me, licking my hands and face. It was not long before Helen followed suit.
I remember when Petra first came. It was Troy with his big heart and generous spirit who welcomed her in. Helen, probably out of jealousy, reserved judgement and kept to herself.
- The games Troy played with Petra were hilarious. It took some time but finally Helen joined in. She realised, if you cannot beat them, join them.
I remember my amazement at how quickly they grew. It seemed to me that with every breath they took they grew bigger and taller: three golden beauties, happy, frisky, playful, healthy furbabies.
I remember their first vaccines, their first deworming and when they were old enough, I remember getting them all fixed. They were operated on all within the week. Petra was the one who gave me most trouble. She suffered some post operative bleeding and had to be very carefully monitored and medicated. Troy and Helen breezed through it.
I remember when they grew to full size and were still indoors, I got each one a bed of his/her own, but their favourite was my bed. It was winter and it was the warmest one I remember, with three huge furbabies keeping me warm all night. They took over and I had to try to find some space for me. Troy’s favourite place was sleeping across my feet, while Petra slept on my pillows and Helen curled up stuck to my back.
I remember the first time I realised that they thought Frisky was the ring leader. He was standing at the top of the stairs and all three of them waiting on the stairs for him to allow them up. I was amazed because they all towered over him, but I guess since their childhood they saw him as the boss and that did not change with time.
- I remember the first time I saw them drinking from the water cooler and how impressed I was by their ability to use it to dispense water when they wanted to drink.
- I remember the rapport they developed with the cats, especially Pixie. How every time I wanted to keep something out of their reach by putting it up somewhere high, Pixie would obligingly jump up and throw it down to them.
- I lost four reading glasses, one mobile telephone and two iPads this way – not counting the number of cords they nibbled through, the edges they gnawed off the coffee table and the material they chewed off the two sofas.
I remember my embarrassment when a lady came to demonstrate a new vacuum cleaner and stumbled on a bone buried behind the cushions, or when they decided to have a dip in the middle of a garden party and kept shaking the water off onto my guests. Yet they all took these in good spirit because of the love these dogs showed one and all.
I remember their games all over the garden, their splashing in the pool, their running around in the sun, their coats glinting reddish gold, their happy barks.
- I remember their gentleness in taking in Millie and Max one year later and how they initiated them to the house and garden. Troy started playing with them while Helen and Petra mothered them.
I stopped here because I started crying remembering all that and not knowing if I will be coming back with him or with his body.