Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A Family Is Not Complete Without A Dog

A drawing Margaret made of Bill

At least that's what Margaret says. She never had any pets as she was growing up, so I blame Bill for this change of heart.

Who is Bill? Bill was our first dog, a large, black bitch (yes, that's right, Bill was female) that Margaret found while walking the hills around our house one afternoon. It was hard to say what breed she was but she seemed to have some wolfhound in her.

Margaret didn't consult me over the dog and I was rather surprised to get home one evening and find her sitting in my chair! Bessy and Margaret lover her though and while I grumbled for a while, I would never have made them get rid of her.

The only photograph we have of Bill
As it turned out, that was a wise decision because Bill was as loyal a pet as it was possible to have. Rarely was Margaret seen without the huge black beast trailing in her wake, and I was pleased to note that the dog had a protective streak when it came to Margaret. Whilst I love how independent she is, I would be a fool not to worry about her when she visits some of the less salubrious areas of Milton, or wanders for hours over the hills around our home. Knowing that she had a protector, and a large one who could appear quite frightening at times, was something of a comfort to me.

Unfortunately Bill was a member of our little family for less than thee years and despite many things that I disliked about her (not least her name) I will always cherish the memory of that dog since I owe her everything, and no, I am not being melodramatic. Following a horrific fire at our Milton mill, Bill gave her life to save Margaret's. Her remains were never discovered among the ashes so we could not even bury her, but her memory lives on with us.

Scone (behind) and Rosie (front)
We have had a dog ever since. Our current dog is Rosie, an English Toy Terrier. They are a small breed, standing at about twelve inches at the shoulder. Black and tan in colouring, they are a loyal and brave breed. Perhaps I should have bought Margaret a larger dog but I was a little tired of the entire hearth being taken up with dog!

Due to circumstances, we also have Fanny and my nephew, Malcolm,  staying with us for the foreseeable future and he had a second puppy from Rosie's litter. His dog, Scone, is slightly smaller than Rosie, since Malcolm chose the runt of the litter but he is a lovely dog and rarely have I seen a bond such as exists between Malcolm and his dog. Scone has done wonders in bringing the shy little boy out of his shell.

I still do not have much time for pets in general, I believe them to be an unnecessary distraction. However, after seeing what little Scone had done to help bring Malcolm out of his shell and indeed, Bill's sacrifice for Margaret, I wound not be without a dog. Besides, family life seems to be one big distraction, so the dogs fit right in.
Margaret's ink sketch of Bill, may she rest in peace.
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1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed Bill's storyline in your book - it came across as very endearing and brought a "softness" to the image of family life.