Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A very shaggy dog story

Quite often, when I am in this cousin visit, I sit down, far too late, to write the blog and say something like: ah well, the day got away from me like a wild horse. Usually this is just because I am not accustomed to the sinews of family life. I always forget what acres of time I have at home. I expand my activities to fill the hours available, which is possibly why I know quite so much about American politics, but there really are hours.

That is why I am always in awe and wonder of those of you who do the parenting.

Today, though, apart from making a chicken risotto, I did not have that much domestic or child life. The hours ran away for quite other reasons. I was concerned with two things which will have serious consequences for my actual life, and how it goes on from here.

I got one done in the morning, and it is not yet resolved. In some ways, it does not matter so much. I am adapting. I discover that, as I get older, I am not calcified into hard habit, as rumour suggests, but oddly flexible. So, one thing did not work out quite as I had planned; there shall be an alternative, there may be a swerve in direction. Perhaps it is because I am still in the early days of life without the Pigeon. Losing a Beloved can make one realise that other frets are small things indeed.

The second, which has been going on for a while, and needed a final bit of logistic, and then some patient waiting for the result, was to do with the Rescue Gent.

I really, really was not going to tell you about this. I did not want to tempt fate; I did not want to have to go into explanations should the thing fail; I did not even especially want my family to know, and have their expectations raised. But the hope grew so great in me that it kept leaking out about the edges. I could not help mentioning it here. I sent a hinting email to The Mother. The World Traveller got a telephone message, and sent one back, transports in her voice.

Part of my pathetic attempts at discretion were, I am slightly ashamed to admit, to do with a completely irrational idea about my two old girls. There was a part of me which felt as if I was committing some kind of betrayal. I know this is absurd, and empirically incorrect, but there we are; it turns out that despite my rationalist self, I cannot help a little magical thinking creeping in around the edges.

Many people, Dear Readers included, say, when an adored dog dies, that you must get another. I was convinced that was a load of buggery bollocks. There must be a pause, a grave mourning period, a time of proper and right grief. Hats must be doffed; respect must be paid. But late at night, when I was feeling particularly melancholy, I could not help wandering around the internet, looking at other dogs.

I kept coming back to the Gentleman. There are literally thousands of dogs out there which need a home. There are pleading beauties everywhere you look. But his face was the one that drew me back, time and time again. And in a particularly odd confluence of synchronicity, it turned out that his foster humans and I had a family connection, through my dear departed dad. It seemed like a sign, even though I’m never quite sure I believe in signs.

So, the application was made. Then I convinced myself that I would not be deemed suitable. I am slightly used to not being suitable, on account of not always following the path most travelled. Besides, writing gets you used to rejection. The pitch is not quite the right one, the profile is not what the publishers are looking for, the market is crying out for anything except for one. I drew on old resources and steeled myself for failure.

The vet was asked for a reference. God knows what he will say, I thought. Last time he saw me, I was sobbing in his office; face scarlet with emotion, eyes pigged with grief.

Finally, all the due diligence was done. I had sent off the last requested piece of information. I sat down and tried to think of something else. Every time my email pinged, I rushed to the computer. I never realised how much absurd email I got (missives from The Racing Post reminding me about the Ten to Follow competition, Google alerts about Kauto Star, kind offers from John Lewis for 20% off for Christmas) until I was waiting for the ONE VITAL MESSAGE.

In the end, it was a telephone call.

It was YES.

I’m afraid to say I put the telephone down and burst into tears. I like to think I believe in stoicism and putting a good face on things, but sometimes that does fail. Just then, it failed. Luckily, the Beloved Cousin and the visiting Old Friend have no fear of strong emotion. They flung their arms out in celebration. I shall always remember the moment I was told that the Rescue Gentleman should be mine, because those two great women were here to celebrate it with me.

One more absurdity, if you will kindly bear with me. (I am used to being slightly absurd, but sometimes I do feel the levels are getting near the Move to the Exit zone.) Everyone here, as you know, gets a blog name. Even the animals get blog names. It’s a nutty privacy thing. But for some reason, I am going to call the Rescue Gent by his real name. It’s such a great name, and I want you to know it.

He is a small lurcher, and his name is Stanley. My dream is that, at some stage, I shall get a friend for him, and the friend shall be christened Dr Livingstone. I cannot tell you how much pleasure this thought brings me.

So, my darlings, welcome a new addition to the blog. Say hello to Stanley the Lurcher, and the start of a whole new life.


No time or energy for many pictures today; just past and present and future Beloveds:

My darling Duchess and Pigeon:

28 Nov 9

28 Nov 10

Myfanwy the Pony, and Red the Mare, waiting patiently for me in Scotland, reported to have been on immaculate behaviour in my absence:

28 Nov 3

28 Nov 2

Oh, that furry face, with its slightly questing look. Luckily she adores dogs, so she shall be pleased about the New Addition.

And here he is, our lovely fellow, to be with us very, very soon:

Stanley the Dog

Stanley the Lurcher. You do see.

PS. I am so tired my eyes are actually blurred, so I cannot begin to do a proof-read, or an edit. There are almost certainly terrible blunders and typos and nonsenses. Please forgive.


  1. Love Stanley. Look at the ears. He looks perfect. Well done.

  2. This is going to be nice. Hello Stanley for real.

  3. Stanley looks a very handsome fellow. I wish you both many happy years together and I hope you get a Dr Livingstone as well. X

  4. Yea. At the beginning I had no doubts about you getting your rescue gentleman and then your slight reservation made me nervous. I have been logging on to see whether you had the yes and today it is the YES and a photo. I think I must be slightly mad but never mind I like it and Stanley looks just perfect for you. I am so pleased for you. Can't wait to see and hear more.

  5. He is a handsome fellow, our first family dog was a Lurcher, Tara. The sweetest nature and perfect companion for my sons as they grew up, and gosh was she bright.
    We have had two very darling Greyhounds since, both of whom I miss, there is something wonderful about brindle dogs.
    In January we are going to Wimbledon Greyhound Rescue at Hersham to get a new dog.
    Rescue dogs are extra special and I believe extra loyal and loving.
    Wishing you both lots of love and happiness.

  6. Hurrah! Welcome, Stanley with the quite, quite lovely ears. So thrilled for you, Tania. Can't wait to get to know him.

    And beautiful pics.

  7. Oh Tania, he is lovely. I can see why you came back to him again and again - what a look. I am trying to persuade the Vicar that we should have a dog (probably rescue) but I work away during the week and he had to give away a beauty a few years ago when he went on operations so is reluctant... I send him links to your blog almost daily! I hope you find a Livingstone too, one day.

  8. Great name, terrific hopeful ears. I have a very good feeling about this.

  9. I am RIDICULOUSLY pleased by this. It is to do with that fact that you suggested I visit Dog Island in the first place (you probably never did in reality; but over time it seemed as if you might, were we ever to meet). So I forever associate you with dogs and now you are without dog I feel as if the world is tilting on an unnatural axis. I just think this is a REALLY GOOD THING. You see? I have reverted to CAPITALS in exclamation. Stanley is good; he will be good for you. A boy! How novel. I now can not wait to hear how you and he get on. As I said: RIDICULOUSLY pleased. Lou x

  10. Oh Congratulations! He is lovely and is so obviously a Stanley - what a fabulous name. I am happy to hear this, too. I agree with Lou - it just wouldn't be right if you didn't have a dog.

  11. It seems as if he belongs with you. Lovely eyes and markings. Both our dogs are rescues and I would always adopt given how many special souls need homes. When does he arrive? Great name.

  12. Sobbing with happiness while chocking on a tangerine.

    Please od I will never meet you in real life.

    Enough emotion just reading your words.

    congratulations to the twpo of you.

    I'm sure you'll be very happy together.

    xo Jane

  13. Delighted for Stanley, delighted for you! He is a handsome chap and indeed it is a cracking name. I am a firm believer in getting a new dog never forget your departed Beloveds, but having another dog does remind you( in good ways) of them, whilst keeping you from getting too caught up in grief. Looking forward to reading more about your adventures with out hares!

  14. I knew it, you just leaked over the edges a bit too much, your feelings of betrayal are not absurd, totally normal. But I am beyond thrilled and a Lurcher to boot, I am rather partial to Lurcher's and Stanley, well I totally see. Should really go to bed now but am so pleased am pouring another glass of Perle in your and Stanley's honour.

  15. Welcome, welcome, welcome to such a fabulous looking gentleman. One wonders if he knows that he is about to become Very Famous?

  16. How splendid. Such character in Stanley's face. Looking forward to getting to know him.

  17. I didn't even finish reading your post before I HAD to comment.

    Stanley the lurcher! Oh, how wonderful!!!!! Lurchers are such lovely dogs and so utterly thrilled that you are going to have the companionship of a pupster again. Doing the Snoopy dance in my chair (can't get up, the wolfhound is lying hard up against it). And Stanley is also the name of a good friend's adored dog - absolute character and soft as anything, so very promising. So, so chuffed for you both.

    And yes, your vet probably said that they couldn't ask for a better owner.

    Now going back to the beginning to read properly.

  18. Beautiful dog, beautiful story! So happy I'm crying. Seriously.

  19. Oh of course, how could you not take him in with that handsome face and those wonderful ears. And the family connection, what are the chances. So happy for you. I know you will bring each other much joy.

    Love his name and your plans for a companion.

  20. I am so very very happy for you. And welcome welcome Stanley to our world!

  21. Tears of joy! Exclamation marks!!! and capitals WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL!
    Dearest Stanley - welcome to blogland.

  22. He is so very handsome....and I DO love that you found him right away, while you were away. Wonderful story, beautifully told, as always! Welcome Stanley, so looking forward to your new life.

  23. My Dad's name was Stanley.

    He looks like a lot of fun your new boy and I bet he will love chasing sticks.


  24. Yes, I do see. What a lovely boy. Good luck to you both - I hope he knows how lucky he is! If not yet, he will soon find out. x

  25. Lovely photography! Your dog looks like our Gunner. ;)

  26. I can hardly bear how happy this makes me, a stranger an ocean away. BRINDLE! As if it weren't perfect enough already, he's BRINDLE!

  27. Very happy for you. Lurchers are lovely dogs. Hello Stanley!

  28. I must admit: I DO SEE. He is a most handsome and distinguished fellow indeed! Love the look in his eyes, the shape of his head and the wonderful pigmentation of his coat. I can see exactly why it had to be him!!

    So very, very happy for you. Benvenuto tra noi, Stanley!!!

    I can't wait for each future instalment.

  29. Oh my, welcome to the world of lurchering :-)
    I have had my rescue saluki/greyhound lurcher for five years now and it really is a world of wonder and marvel with the odd hairy moment. Welcome Stanley!

  30. I had NO idea "Lurcher" was a type of dog. I thought this was some sort of nickname, like "Minnie the Moocher".
    So thank you, for teaching me something new!

    And BRAVO! Nothing absurd about any of this; it is WONDERFUL news!!!

  31. Somewhere, the Duchess and the Pigeon are very touched and approving. You grieve for them everyday, and that won't go away -- but the ultimate tribute is that you have given a home to another of their kind.

    Stanley is too damned lovely for words.

    PS How on earth you could think that "a dog's life" at your house might be unsuitable defies imagination. It is heaven for dogs, and, it appears, for horses and humans too.

  32. Oh he is PERFECT. He would have captured my heart too - so much character, gorgeous eyes, and I can't help but love a dog with slightly disobedient ears (like my own girl who makes a perfect capital 'T' when she looks straight at you). I so look forward to seeing photos of Stanley enjoying his new life.

    The Duchess and the Pigeon will always be the ladies of this blog (blob?), but I'm so pleased to see the new member of the family! I can't wait to hear more about him. :)

  33. Wonderful news & an excellent name. I don't think you are being disloyal to the memory of your 2 girls; why wouldnt they wish another dog to have the lovely life they enjoyed - especially a rescue dog. Just think what you are giving him. He looks gorgeous. My choice of rescue dog will be lurcher/greyhound. Sooooo looking forward to hearing news of Stanley & your adventures together. Lots of photos please.

  34. As you know, I get very behind when in full family life, and so have naughtily not been replying to all your lovely comments. But oh, oh, this collection may be the best yet. Thank you all, so very much, for your kindness and sweetness and generosity of heart. It really does mean a lot, and touches me beyond words. x

  35. I am so, so happy to meet Stanley. I can see why you were drawn to him, and I'm sure he'll be very happy with you and the equines.


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