The arrival of all the Christmas cards from long lost friends is with every year that passes, increasingly sad. News of death, and of appalling illness visited on those you love is always heart breaking.
But this morning through the post came a card from one of my best friends in Essex......She has a new dog!
After my husband died my dog walking friends took me in hand and coped with tears. long silences, the occasional outburst and all the other signs of bereavement.
There were four women and five dogs....all different shapes and sizes. Crispin is the last of that generation, all the others are now happy memories...
Jen has always had dogs but with the death of her last one came the determination never to put herself through the trauma of losing one again...She has kept to it for a few years but the new dog has now arrived and its made me ridiculously happy to get its photo along with the Christmas card.
Jen was a history teacher and has a weird way of giving her dogs names.
The first one I knew was Win, a lovely old mongrel who lived till she was around 15. Her name was Winston Spencer Churchill, always shortened to Win unless she was in trouble when she got all three shouted very loudly!
The next dog was also a bitch. She was a gloriously elegant long legged Vymarana, all long ears and blue eyes...and great fun! Her name was Otto Von Bismark...shortened to Ottoline...She and Crispin were great friends as young dogs...he got wet and flushed out the game that she picked up delicately....they made a great team.
The new dog, a large golden puppy which could be either sex and possibly a labrador...has another good name. She is called Sigismunde Lonestart.....or Ziggy for short!
I am beaming all over my face this morning....A dog brings so much to us...and now I can stop worrying for my friends dogless state....Life is complete again!