RIP Princess 
Buried our dog today. She had cataract and glaucoma, and arthritis. The medicine had eased it a bit, but she wasn't her old self. There comes a time when all that's stopping you from letting go is your own selfishness. Today we let her go.

We tried to give her the best weekend we could. I'd combed out all the matted hair as much as she'd let me, and given her a bit of a trim. We took her out to the beach, the whole family together. I had to leave early. I turned round as I left the beach, and saw them several hundred metres away, walking off into the distance together. I like that memory. That evening, Bronwyn cooked up some best steak and gravy, and Princess wolfed it down, along with the last of the dog food.

The vet came round early today. He hung back as Princess picked up an old tennis ball and dropped it for us. One last ball. Ross came round to help out. As the vet said, "She's gone", I'm fairly sure I heard the tough old farmer give a whimper. We buried her in one of her favourite spots, beside the house, under the sign saying "Watch out, Border Collie about". Bron and Rach are off now buying something to plant there.

They say that a dog can't hear commands beyond about 70 metres. I can remember her barrelling down the hillside from at least 150 when I called out her name. She never did get the hang of herding sheep. But she'd always want to jump up on the tractor to have a ride. At night, she'd sometimes let off this eerie howl. She did it just last week. As if she was calling, calling.

Princess was born pretty much when we arrived here. A whole lifetime for a dog. A whole chapter in our lives. Both good and bad. Princess was there when we came home with Sarah in our arms. And Princess was there when the ambulance came up the drive. More than once.

A whole chapter. Where next? Much has happened, and this last year or two has seen a big turnaround for us. I think there's more for us here yet. And much that we've been able to let go.

Christmas is in full swing. Tuesday - church music get-together. Thursday - church rehearsal. Friday - band rehearsal. Saturday - Westgate parade. Sunday morning - trombone at church. Sunday evening - carol service in Henderson. My lips are turning to hardened rubber...


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