Beautiful sunny day outside as (raining in our hearts) we farewell one of the pack. Abby clocked 15 years and 4 months - a record age for any dog boynton has known - but has declined rapidly in the last week to the stage where standing, moving and now eating are becoming impossible. Nora is taking her up to the country.
She has been one of those dumb gentle yellow dogs - a rag doll offering the solace of kindness, the consolation of presence.
“This is the sort of dog you want’ observed a friend of boynton’s once, as Abby looked adoringly patiently into his eyes, all day if you want, while Doug paced the hallway anxiously.
A friend tells me he doesn’t regret making such a decision, but perhaps not making it sooner – and it certainly does seem time today when all the world is a dizzy haze. I patted her head in the sun and she gave the barest wag. This dog who once ran like a greyhound on hard sand and jumped six feet into the air after a tennis ball. This is the bare wag of good bye.
I wish she could have seen the ocean once more – as she lived her early life along the empty stretches of the ninety mile beach, a long morning run with gavo, a surf and a swim with Nora and co in the afternoons and evening. She used to bob about bravely in the breakers following Nora, or wade along the shallows sniffing regally meditatively, until returning to the towels to be a sandy sentinel to the body surfers. One of the best times I had with the threesome was walking along the rocks around Marengo near Apollo Bay. On dusk the light was so beautiful and so still and the four of us would wander silently but connected – I'd get the silent joy of dogs by the ocean – dipping in and out of rock pools, sniffing seaweed and feathers, discerning some complexity in invisible currents. There is a photo elsewhere that catches Abby in close-up, gazing out to sea, her sensory focus on something obscure in the distance. Perhaps it was eternity.
Condolences. Nothing like losing a long-term pet like that. The phrase "dumb gentle yellow dog" makes a splendidly compact yet descriptive summary of Abby's personality.
Posted by James Russell at September 28, 2003 05:55 PM
Posted by lesley at September 28, 2003 08:27 PM
Wonderfully expressed. Rest in Peace Abby.
Posted by Scott Wickstein at September 28, 2003 09:28 PM
It's a moment that sears through you doesn't it.
The last time it happened to me --with Fichte my standard poodle---I was shattered for weeks on end.
Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at September 28, 2003 10:29 PM
thanks all - your comments are appreciated.
Posted by boynton at September 28, 2003 10:49 PM
Actually - she was 15 years, 5 months and 4 days.
We have chosen a lovely spot for her and (as befitting her favourite pastime) an edible plant as a marker.
Posted by Nora at September 29, 2003 02:05 PM
Top post Boynty.
Posted by Tee at September 29, 2003 03:23 PM
"...offering the solace of kindness, the consolation of presence..."
That sums up Abby beautifully. I'll always remember her basking peacefully in the sun at Peel St. RIP.
Posted by Damien at September 30, 2003 01:26 PM
I am sorry to hear this. Oddly, I was just thinking about the dog of my childhood today (gone 20+ years now).
Posted by Anne at October 1, 2003 03:19 AM
Damien - sad to think that Peel St is gone too - but makes that particular image more memorable.
Anne - it's funny how they sometimes spring back into consciousness. A few years ago I wrote a rather long piece that chronicled all the dogs I'd known. One of the best things about such a task is the way it recovers memories, and animates them in the process.
Posted by boynton at October 1, 2003 04:10 PM
Sadly I wasn't around to say goodbye one more time to lovely old Abby. I can remember her clearly as a puppy hiding from thunderstorms down at the Woodside farm, and then later on stoicly putting up with "Little B" hanging off her lips and worse. Bye Bye Abby.
Posted by Averil at October 2, 2003 03:56 AM
I was thinking of her hiding from those Woodside storms myself, hiding in the liliies. The other day she was still seeking them out here, in the wind. I could see her curled up from where I sit. Now I'm looking at the lillies in the sun - and thinking of her gentle soul.
Posted by boynton at October 2, 2003 08:36 AM