Saying Goodbye ...

I remember ... trying to be too much in the world or, perhaps, of the world while my dog companion of so many years was dying.

I had Sandie for 15 years.  She was old for a long time and she was a soul-mate of mine.  One of the best.  I carried her on and off our beloved beaches for another year after she couldn't walk up and down the dunes or along those pathways that led to the sea.

Perhaps I kept her alive too long, I really don't know but I still remember the day the vet 'put her to sleep'.  Sandie dog wasn't ready.  Nor was I. 

I had been planning to bury her alone but I arrived at my Dad's, my dog dead in my arms, crying so hard that I couldn't speak.

Dad said, 'Oh Annie', and then he set to work, digging a massive hole, deep into the clay under his vegetable garden, while I sat there with Sandie dog in my arms.  I wrapped her up in my big old woollen jersey then Dad and I said goodbye to her.

She was my best friend ... for a very long time.

I loved this story of Denali.  So much.

Venetian Dogs ...

In Venice, there were gondolas, canals, a million tourists, some rain, one very kind woman who stopped to ask if we were lost (then gave us directions because we were).

There was affordable pizza, a gift (or two) for Miss 9, from Julie and another from me.

And there were dogs, more than adept at beating the pigeons to tourist food ...

Recollecting my Life Lived in Other Places, with a Dog

I spent years wandering within the confines of whatever worlds I found myself in, with a dog by my side ...

In Cromwell, New Zealand, Sandie-dog and I would travel through the gorge to the Arrow River, or disappear to a favourite bend on the Clutha River.  In Blenheim, we were just as likely to wander over to Anakiwa and spend hours in the cove there.

In Te Anau it was McKay Creek, on the edge of Fiordland National Park, our secret destination, with its backdrop of mountains just a kilometre away,  Or Lake Manapouri, Lake Te Anau ... a chocolate box selection.  

In Dunedin, it was a case of mood leading us to whichever beach - we had a huge number of choices.  Long Beach was a favourite, even though it took us off the peninsula where we lived and back up the other side, then over a hill.  On the peninsula, we were careful not to bother the sea lions found lounging on those rugged beaches, and other times, there were penguins.  But Sandie was a dog of great wisdom, with an overwhelming passion for water.  She would even swim amongst ducks, caring only for the swim, willing to share with anything else that was out there.

Dogs are succour for the soul, companions of the heart ...

It's quite difficult not having one yet.  I've been 10 years lonely.

Note: all but the Anakiwa photograph were taken by my lovely friend, and talented photographer, David Wall.