Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts .
Yesterday morning passed in a blur. This most fastidious of boys hadn't been washed in the hospital. He's given a gentle sponge bath. The test results bad - really bad. 10 litres of plasma over the weekend left the toxins unrepentant and the kidneys exhausted. There was no doubt as to the outcome. We spend half an hour with our local vet discussing options. What kindness. We head home with the boy.
Bob settles. Within an hour of coming off the drip he's faltering. It's called renal failure for a reason. His sister settles beside him. It's clearly where he wants to be. They lie like that until the senior vet comes. The third time he's been to the house for the same duty. Sophie stands on her hind legs at the gate and greets him.
And so another farewell. You'd think it would get easier but it doesn't. We know the routine. Ears stroked. Paws held. Muzzle scratched. A time to recognize his devotion and say thank you. The first injection. The vet carries him outside into the sunshine. A quick nod.The second injection. A reassuring 'What adventures beckon' from 'The Font'. A final Au Revoir from me. Six years of shared memories rush by. The vet quietly recites a verse . A small courtesy he undertakes for each of his patients at moments like this. Last time it was Beckett. This time Blake * : 'Alors ils coururent jusqu’au bas de la plaine d’herbe, sautant, riant, Puis se lavèrent dans le fleuve pour briller au soleil'.
(* And by came an angel, who had a bright key, And he opened the coffins, and
set them all free; Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing, they run And
wash in a river, and shine in the sun.)
A second after the injection Sophie lets out a howl from inside the house.
Bob now lies on the ridge alongside two other Polish Lowland Sheepdogs. Three in a row. A place of limitless views .
In the afternoon Madame Bay came to stand by his grave as did The Old Farmer, the Belgian lady, the builder, the village odd job man, the cleaning lady and the mayor. The role of dogs is understood in a French village. This wouldn't happen in Britain. Champagne is consumed.
At the end of the day what a sky. What a sunset.