17th November 2016
你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,
On this day, way back in 1999, I said farewell to Pup. At that time, he was by far my best friend in life. I remember him so fondly and even at lunchtime when I realised today’s date, a tear formed in my eye. Back when he had to be peacefully put to sleep, my chest heaved, my body stiffened and my heart wilted. As sad as it was, I had to say goodbye. My Dad was too sad to talk at the time, he asked his partner Bernadette to call me. In a swallowed response, I said, “Okay.” I hung up and ran to my room. I lay on a road mat play area, my Dad once got me, and the loose Lego bricks dug into me. I did not feel a thing. I was numb. My closet companion had passed from life. The year 1999 was not a pleasant one. I’d hugged Pup many times since losing my Nana to that terrible disease of cancer. It had been a painful few months. And then Pup was gone too. The ever faithful and reliable Pup was no more.
The next time I saw Dad, I could see Pup’s collar, sporting the address and name of Grandad’s address. It dangled emptily from a fruit bowl. The greeny-blue fruit bowl Nana had, with a cat somehow constructed into the glass flute of the stand. A horrible yet homely design of a fruit bowl. It reflected Nana’s love for pets and animals.
The selfish side of me had fought and fretted, wishing the RSPCA would find a way to keep Pup with us. I knew it would not be so. Pup had been equal part Rottweiler, Labrador and Kangaroo amongst other parts of the dog breed world. He was never neutered and even in present day Newton-of-the-Heath (a posh part of Manchester) you can see the most recent generations of his offspring. For years, Tracy and Jimmy, had a dog called Nobby (he was neutered) live next door to Grandad and Nana’s house, later Dad’s house. It was comical to see Pup, a big dog, alongside Suzie, Nomaz and other small dogs. Pup’s mild manner was pleasing, he had a nasty lick and could leave you coated in dog-saliva. He would bound over to you, a face full of zest and vim, almost smiling and then send you flying. Any dog that could clear a six feet high fence deserves an Olympic medal, yet he was just a modest member of the Acton-clan. He’d accept all and be loved by more. Having pulled me out of Clayton Vale’s red river once and sat with me on the brook overlooking Broadhurst Park, and Broadhurst Park Allotments, we were close, as close as a boy and a dog could be. He seemed to know if I was sad and find a way to cuddle close. He’d sit on my knee at any given opportunity, which for a larger dog, could stifle my blood flow.
Pup, was more than men’s best friend. He was a boy’s best friend and he inspired me. Who or what inspires or inspired you?
再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye