By Helen Lacey
Yesterday I had a sad day – I lost one of my dogs. Missy had been with us for ten years. She was a tenacious and fearless Tenterfield Terrier who had the heart of a lion. As terriers do, she liked to hunt and since I live on the east coast of Australia there is always plenty of prey. But yesterday she took on a seven foot brown snake, and although she did slay her foe, also got landed with a nasty bite that ultimately took her life.
When I started writing this blog today I thought I could have a woe is me moment . . . but I don’t think I will. What I want to do is celebrate the life of my little friend. We got her as a two year old dog and as ‘grown up’ companion for our new puppy. When we brought her home her name was Sweet Pea, but my husband just couldn’t bring himself to call out that name in the back yard. So she quickly became Missy. She liked to sit on my lap on the lounge (and in the car) and wasn’t easily fooled by a tablet or any medicine disguised in a doggy treat. She once grabbed the electricity meter reader man by the trouser leg and he swung her around off the ground (all of this monitored by my neighbour who was called in by said meter reader as back up because of the ferocious dog in my yard) I did think when I heard this story that he might have meant my one hundred and forty pound Mastiff or my other Staffordshire Bull Terrier – but no, it was Missy wreaking all the havoc. Missy, we discovered as the years went by, had relentless courage and would defend her backyard in earnest. Unlike the highly strung Staffy or uber lazy Mastiff.
It’s no secret that I am an animal lover – and with horses, birds, dogs, a cat and a house cow named Ginger, my husband often jokes that one day I shall end up on the reality show Animal Hoarders. My four legged friends are a big part of my life and many of them have actually ended up in my books. There’s something precious about the loyalty of a dog, the reserved affection of a cat or the companionship of a horse. Do you have a special animal chum, past or present? Or maybe you have had a few? I had Missy in my life for ten years and that, I believe, makes me very lucky indeed.