Dear everyone, we have lost Miss Dog. First of all, we lost her in the literal sense. She disappeared at about midday on Monday, and by four o’clock we realised that she was not dozing on one of her beds, or illicitly, on Dr Biswell’s or the sitting room sofa, but was nowhere to be found. During the intervening two days, we have nearly gone out of our minds. It is proverbially no fun looking for a black dog in the dark, which is more or less what happened on Monday night. Following on from which, of course, we phoned, called, contacted local radio, put an ad in the local paper, and so on and on and on and on and on, all of which of course had to take place around teaching. But in all this, there was such a sense of puzzlement: an idle dog, an unenterprising dog, could she have gone so far that she got herself lost and got onto the road? But somehow, the ground seemed to have opened and swallowed her up. What, of course, one thinks about intensively at that point is Miss Dog, possessor of the lowest pain threshold ever recorded, a yelper, howler and whiner at the slightest provocation, lying somewhere in the icy rain in unspeakable pain. The abolute horror of not knowing, the extreme anxiety of wondering whether Miss D in a ditch with a broken hip, could be reached in time. It has been an absolute nightmare, eased, I am happy – and yes, that it the word – by finding her dead this afternoon, the first point when it has been possible to institute a search by daylight. When we eventually found her, it was all rather transparent. The deer flit down the opposite side of the burn, they have a sort of deer path along there. Times without number, we have seen Miss Dog hurl herself up the steep bank on the other side, barking her head off, chasing a deer. There, at the top of that steep bank, she was lying dead. She was only six, but she must have some kind of heart weakness. Not much ever got her moving at maximum effort, except the deer, and on that particular occasion, she must have taken the hill at full speed, and something burst. She fainted at the top, collapsed, and died. We buried her in the wood this afternoon. It has been such a relief knowing what happened to her that we have almost bypassed ordinary grieving. Given the alternatives we have been thinking about, we are just so glad she died on her own ground, swiftly, without pain. And she had had the most wonderful life: she was lazy and amusing, so she was spoilt rotten. She had the most extraordinary amount of freedom, for a dog, and the only awful thing that ever happened to her was being spayed. Any other traumas were distinctly manufactured, like the time I shut the fur of the end of her tail in the car door – not the skin, let alone the bone – and she carried on as if somebody had sawed her leg off — in fact, her life was almost totally free of negative moments beyond the frightful unfairness of humans eating all the chicken … it was this, in a sense, which exacerbated the sense that she might be undergoing the most dreadful suffering with, added thereunto, a bewildered and agonizing sense that daddy ought to come and make it better . Poor little dog, it’s sad her happy life was so brief, but it must have ended swiftly and obliviously, and nothing harmed her. Once we knew she wasn’t living somewhere in agony, we were conscious, above all, that she was not in jeopardy. We could let her go, be grateful for her death. She is lying in the woods, in a sunny spot, where she was happy. It has been perhaps the most horrible 48 hours of our lives.

22 Responses to “Lost”

  1. Eleanor Says:

    Poor pup. She had a very good furry head for petting.

  2. the tropical godfather Says:

    Well, she was an exceptionally lucky dog - and a fine one. And even her dreams will have been happy. Our best love to you both.

  3. Andreas minor Says:

    The deer chase goes on, and on, and on. A fine and lazy and lucky dog indeed. She will be missed.

  4. carol Says:

    Sad news, and a horrible interval of anguish. Remember, by the time you found her, I think she’d discovered a small red cat waiting on the other side, with Views….

  5. Jane Says:

    How terribly sad.

    She was, as you say, a lucky dog.

  6. Aoife Says:

    Really sorry to hear about Dido. She was very lovable and I know the household just won’t be the same without her. But I do think she had about as good a life as any dog ever could.

  7. judith Says:

    Sad news. Annie, aged 17 and some, was killed on the road in August, late at night. We have buried her in one of her favourite spots in the garden, and scattered Poppy seeds on the grave. As if by magic, a semi-wild clone has appeared. Black, well-mannered and terrified. It is part of the household and appears regularly, on half-bent legs, for meals and to delight us.

  8. Arnold Says:

    So sorry.

  9. Nick Says:

    What a shame, poor Dido. I’m very sorry indeed: she was a lovely, lovable, irreplaceable dog. She’ll be missed. Love to the household.

  10. The German Guests Says:

    So sorry - we were looking forward to walks with her, pockets full of dog sweets to make sure she’d come back when called by us foreigners. But we are happy she didn’t have to suffer. Love from us both.

  11. The Barbadian Latinist Says:

    Very sorry to hear the news.

  12. canadian professor Says:

    Yes. If she had to be lost, then this way was the least painful, for her and for her guardians. I loved her wild welcome when the car drew up and all the bouncing thereafter, realizing that brown eyes were looking steadily at cheese from underneath the table. I like Carol’s sense that Aphra was waiting.

  13. the northern gentleman Says:

    ‘Underneath the coppice and heath, and the thin anemones
    Only the keeper sees
    That, where the ring-dove broods,
    And the badgers roll at ease,
    Miss Dog once ran through the woods.’
    Dido you are missed.

  14. Jane Says:

    Northern Gentleman, are you? Now there’s a thought.
    “‘Brother’, quod he, ‘where is now youre dwellyng,
    Another day if that I sholde yow seche?
    This yeman hym answerde in softe speche,
    ‘Brother’, quod he, fer in the north contree,
    Wher-as I hope som tym I shal thee see.’”
    I have referred to you previously as the Quiet American, a joke of quite another shape …

  15. lampy Says:

    Buttongrrrl, aka the nottingham correspondent, has posted a picture of miss dog taken on our last visit:


    she was a good dog

  16. The Canadian Professor Says:

    Did the QA wear green?

  17. the northern gentleman Says:

    As a Yankee, and therefore quite distinct from Southern gentlemen. If I remember Greene’s QA correctly he wore a white short-sleeved shirt and grey trousers. Or ‘Slacks’, as we sometimes say; perhaps to distinguish them from ‘tights’?

  18. canadian professor Says:

    I tried to open the photo, but was Forbidden.

  19. Jane Says:

    If the link supplied by Lampy doesn’t work for you (it didn’t for me) you will find the Nottingham Correspondent’s lovely photo by going to Way out West, one of Deep North’s ‘other blogs’ links, and then to ButtonGrrl in Lampy’s own ‘other blogs’ link.

  20. will Says:

    I remember years back shacked up with you both in some fearfully old and grand farmhouse B&B in Norfolk. You were shortly to take on Dido and you would pipe up to one other across the Dining Room table (as Dido was parked, oblivious and some hundred or so miles away at her kennels, ready to leave), ‘I wonder what Dido is doing now?’. Now, I have no doubt she has Big Fat Labrador Angel Wings on.

  21. lampy Says:

    Hmm, it didn’t work for me either, did when I set it up…

    Its a mystery to me.

  22. Andy N Says:

    Very sad at a relatively young age, but the best way to go for both dog and owner.

    My sister had the same thing with a Great Dane a couple of years back. It went charging accross the fied with their other dog and only the other dog came back. They found him in the middle of the field still in Mid Stride.

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