Ken Dodd's Dad's Dog Is Dead
Monday 18 March 2002
And so is mine. Or she soon will be. Sophie; Airedale Terrier; familiar
tan-and-black curly coat; inquisitive terrier face: family pet since my
Crazy dog, loved to eat flies, bumble bees, and cigarette butts. One memorable
night she ate an eighth of hash and a month's-worth of contraceptive pills
with no ill-effects. Another night drank my sister's antibiotic medicine
and could not balance on her feet for hours afterwards: stood there swaying;
then would collapse to left or right: hilarious; frightening, sad.
She had the constitution of an ox, and the loudest bark in Chislehurst.
One time she escaped, met her mother terrier, who was being walked, and
lunged straight for her, teeth bared. Yeah, you could say I identified
with Sophie; hungry, messy, fucked-up, mother-hating little beast that
she was. And now she's dead. Or soon will be.
Liver failure, apparently; dying from the inside out, same as grandpa
last summer. She's vomiting, dehydrated, canŐt stand up. She's off to
the vet's this afternoon andÉ that'll be it.
I cried: I didn't want to tell the boyfriend; he's always hated her, and
I was scared he might laugh. It's only a dog. Just a pet. Doesn't feel
like that though, does it.
Yourself? You ever had a pet that was so huggable, so fallible, so human
in its ways that when it died you sobbed your eyes out? I feel silly with
this: self-indulgent in grief, akin to the faux-grief that I felt when
Princess Diana died, when I almost enjoyed the feel of silvery tears sparkling
on my cheeks. Grief-lite, I suffered then: and this, too, I must concede,
is grief-lite. How will it be when Mum passes away, after all these years
of love and hate? Can't even begin to conceive of Dad dying; eyes fog
up, and I drag mind to sunnier things.
Those of you who've suffered a real bereavement will be laughing at my
pet-related bereavement-lite outpourings: and so you should be. But who
hasn't bit their lip as the vet slides the needle in for the last time?
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