After 13 exuberant years, we had to say goodbye to our Mully-dog yesterday. I’m sure after all the agony that old age had recently bestowed on him – legs so stiff that he could no longer lie down or vigorously scratch his flanks, a constant attack of fleas and ticks, and hazy eyes – he was relieved to drift off into peaceful dreams, no doubt of chasing little white birds along the beaches of Betty’s Bay.
He was fiercely protective over those he considered his own (which included quite many), at one with the nature that surrounded him – even though his wild romps with the sea birds were often misunderstood as being a predatorial chase, instead of a mutual game – sweet natured, funny… in short, he was the best.
What an honour to have been part of his pack.
To quote Pablo Neruda’s A dog has died:
“His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations….
how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.
Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.”