Mickey, our companion dog and writing muse, died suddenly on Saturday night. He has left a huge hole in our little family, and an even larger one in my writing. We mourn his loss still, and it’s been a very bad start to Spring and school holidays, and my own writing.
Mickey was full of dog tales, just like any other.
He was good – brilliant, in fact – at many things – he had routines in waking our daughter up each morning, he always accompanied me during school pickup and dropoff duties, he was well-known at the village coffee shop where we went early – way early – twice a week. He went to our softball and soccer games, he wore the team colours, he enforced exercise and playtime with our large lazy dog, Simon. He launched himself to chase off rowdy cockatoos who are eating our woodwork.
He was bad – very bad dog, in fact – at many things too. He was rescued as a too old dog from a pet shop window, and was highly anxious with it. No amount of training let us ever convince him that outside was always for poo and wee, not just when he could get our attention. He chased our cats, and bunnies. He brought down clothes and shoes for comfort when we left the house without him. He scratched too much, had a bald tummy, snored too much, shed too much despite promises of being hypoallergenic, and had a horrible digestive system. He was also a mastermind, could find any gap – no matter how small, and escape through it. And when somebody left a gate open, he’d bolt out into the bush behind us, to chase brush turkeys and things, and have us chase him, to visit the neighbours, sniff out new worlds. Who wouldn’t, when you consider it?
It was his propensity to bolt out into the neighbourhood that was his undoing on Saturday – on coming home finally, he was hit by a car – perhaps the only car out there on a very quiet dark residential night. It didn’t stop. We found him, and buried him. I’m sure the family’s weeping could be heard all across the valley, but our mourning became worse in the cold of Sunday where our loss became more real.
Mickey was my companion dog – he came on all my chores. And in between – he slept in his dog bed, curled up behind me, as I wrote. He was that animal – most writers can say they have one. Writing is a lonely business at best, and we circle ourselves with pets and knick-knacks to fill that emptiness.
Mickey Moo, thank you for blessing us with your presence in our lives. I will remember you always. I don’t know what to do without you.