Dog gone

We no longer have a dog. Bonnie’s original owner is well enough to care for her again, so on Wednesday I drove her back to London and returned to Wales that night dogless. She lived with us for exactly six months and we had anticipated looking after her for the rest of her life, but it turns out we were temporary foster parents rather than permanent adoptive parents.

My initial reaction was one of massive relief. I handed her over safe, healthy and happy. I had discharged my responsibilities. Nothing had gone wrong. The low-level but persistent worry of having a helpless dependent was over. Hours of time were now freed up daily. Why, I’ll even have the time to catch up on the Cardiff ‘book’ updates/amendments and, er, do a lot more blogging! Moreover, she is infinitely better off frollicking with all her old doggy pals and getting lots of attention from nice people on the vast, immaculate, verdant commons of Clapham and Wandsworth than skulking with me through the dangerous, hostile, litter-choked, broken-glass strewn, bleak, derisory open spaces of Splott and Tremorfa. All’s well that ends well.

And yet, and yet…I miss her. I miss her enthusiasm, her devotion, her joie de vivre, her honesty and her unequivocal congruence. I miss the way she tilted her head, wagged her tail, lifted one paw, braced her back legs, stretched out in the sun, curled up in front of the fire, sniffed the breeze, ran with the wind, panted in excitement, danced in welcome and cwtched in trust. I miss her soft fur, her warm underbelly, her rough tongue, her nuzzling snout, her beady eyes, her unerring compass and her wide vocabulary of growls, woofs, sighs and grunts. I miss our long walks through the coldest winter and warmest spring since records began. I miss the adventures, the antics, the cat chases, the afternoon naps, the evenings in the pub that became her second home, the nights in front of the telly watching for other dogs, the mealtimes when we all ate together…I even miss brushing her teeth, untangling her coat, keeping her clean and picking up her poos. Oh dear, I didn’t expect to feel like this. It is a feeling akin to bereavement; but it will pass. Da boch chi, Bonnie Bach. Ramble on, cariad, ramble on…