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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday 5 November '09: Tribute to a friend: Sir Tristram

Sir Tristram (TristyBoy to his friends) has reached the rich age of twelve and a half human years or eighty-four canine ones. His eyes have a bluish tinge, his muzzle is frosty and his grin is gappy. He doesn't hear so well anymore. Just recently osteoarthritis has set in and our morning walk has been halved by two kilometers. Notwithstanding, his thick black coat still gleams. He remains a handsome knight of the finest kind.

Trist is my most loyal and loving friend. When Richard passed away, he mourned his beloved master for weeks. Then he assumed the part of my dedicated protector, a role which has caused him no little anxiety. The scarring on his leg, the result of obsessive licking to which Labs are susceptible, is probably the result of that trauma. To others he is a gentle warrior, with rather a distant air for a Labrador. But then he has Galahad, doesn't he? Galahad, the life and soul of the party, is always at hand to do the necessary socialising.

In June 1997 Tristram joined our household to follow in the footsteps of our previous black Lab, Valiant. His puppyhood and youth were expensive - he left behind a trail of chewed shoes, excavated irrigation pipes and dirtied dishclothes. But Richard, quick to anger and even quicker to forgive, said, "A dog must keep his spirit. You don't want him to become staid before his time." And spirit he had, also in the ring where he won a rosette or two or three. But Trist was not really a show dog. He never managed to hide his boredom at all the endless posturing and tended to sit down firmly when he received the command, 'Stand!' .

Old friends, like Tristram and I, don't need many words anymore. When he rolls on his back in my study, I scratch his tummy and he grins a wide doggy smile and murmers, "That's it! No, there, just over there!" When I nestle against the pillows with my opened Bible at the end of the day, he strolls to the bedside and says, "Oh, okay. But if you get to do any praying, say a word for me!" He gives me a nudge or two with his nose, while I sit hammering away at the computer keys in the mid-morning and remarks, "Don't take it so seriously, girl. Remember your in-basket will always be full!" I marvel at his wisdom.

How much longer do we still have together? In Tristram's view, that is a futile human question. "We're together today, aren't we? What more matters?" And I have decided he is right.


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Oh this is sad my friend. What a pity that these things have to happen but you have so many wonderful memories of him which will last you forever.

Avril said...

Aaah!! It's so sad when they get old - our lab, Robbie, is also 12 years old (born Oct 1997) and is now an 'old man' - struggling to sit and get up again with very stiff joints. If he was human he would be using a walking stick. Also .. two years of 'puppy madness' when nothing was spared!!! Now in old age it's one day at a time .. one day at a time!

Vicki Lane said...

Like my Molly -- stone deaf but she positions herself where she can keep an eye on me.

Enjoy your time together . . . so precious.

Janet said...

Oh my! How sad that made me feel. Our border collie Holly will be 11 next month. She is also looking at us with hazy eyes, and is quite deaf! But still as lovabel as ever! I can't imagine life without her ... really I can't!

Gaelyn said...

Tristam is a gem and your tribute outstanding. How I miss my Labby boy Carson everyday.

dulcy said...

Tristram is a beautiful dog! What a nice post you've written honoring him. I should do the same for my cats.....but I'll have to do it between bouts of cleaning up cat vomit. Well.......not all the time, but if you've ever had a kitty you know what I'm talking about. Seriously, our dogs and cats become not only members of the family, but true friends. As Tristram pointed out, living in the moment each day is what matters. I hope you have a lovely day today!


Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

We had to say goodbye to our eighteen year old kitty a few months ago (after her sister passed away two years ago). Gosh, it is hard to say goodbye but I am convinced our furry family members wait us in Eternity. :)

On a side note, we have been adopted by a new kitty this past week.

Elcmae said...

What a marvellous tribute to a wonderful companion. Thanks for sharing.

Tracy said...

Trist is a grand old beautiful! Our cat Charlie is soon 10...and old boy too! :o)

Barbara Martin said...

Dogs are such faithful companions and when their time comes they let you know. As long as they remain healthy they too can live very long lives.

John W. Daniels, Jr., Th.D. said...

Hi Eleanor!

Stumbling across this today reminds me of a wonderful poem written by Jimmy Stewart that he read on the Johnny Carson show back in 1981 - about his dog Beau. I listen to it when I think of my old dog Peabody who passed away a year ago.