It is very hard to lose a close friend, perhaps one’s closest after more than fourteen years together. Alas, Emile my most faithful friend, quit the mortal coil this morning. He was elegant, stoic and dignified to the end. I don’t think he suffered, but it was time to go.
I had long feared the dreadful journey to the vet, a one way ticket from which only I would return. By the cruelest twist of fates, it was not I that had to drive Emile to the vet, but Elodie, my wife. I have not been at home but she tells it was not as bad as she had feared and we both know, really, it was the only thing to do.
I cannot deny sadness, but he had a great and long life. Born in Ince Blundell near Liverpool, the offspring of Finbar, he had a happy life life in Burgundy with forests to run through and lakes to swim in; numerous holidays abroad: Italy three times, Croatia twice and not to mention that infamous, mysterious solo trip to Verona in December 2012. And his progeny in Duplo.
Emile was definitely a survivor, twice surviving malevolent-Croatian-mosquito-carried Leishmaniasis (with thirty daily injections from me) and running on endlessly into old age. Three weeks ago a three kilometre walk had only just become enough. Not quite so endlessly in fact, because although stoic and elegant I think the end was anesthetized by an occasional apparent fog.
And then I think, as was his manner, he decided ten days ago enough was enough; he barely ate another morsel. They did of course take the labrador out of Labrador, but they could not take the labrador out of my labrador: with little more than twelve hours to the annointed hour, Emile despite his fasting, and like a condemned man, indulged in a last piece, no several pieces, of chocolate cake.
He was my first dog, the greatest of dogs and I will love his memory always. And so,
“Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince: and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. Why doth the drum come hither?” Hamlet, Act V scene ii.
Well I think the drums come hither because the king is dead. So long live the king! Over to you Duplo…