Wednesday, 4 January 2017
"Come", "Stay", "Ouch"
This is the dialogue between ET and his young friend just before ET gets onto the spaceship that has come to take him back home. I always find it extremely moving to witness the acute pain felt by these two beings who have bonded so deeply and are now having to part.
This morning, for the first time ever, Nel, my aged border collie, pulled back on her lead - reluctant to come with me on a short morning run in the forest where we live. She had shown her usual excitement at the start and had come with me for about half a mile. I put the lead on her now because as she is almost blind she often stops to take in smells and if I run on a little way without her, she becomes confused. So we start with the lead on until she gets into a rhythm.
Her reluctance to come with me was a shock but not really a surprise. Witnessing a dog grow old is like a kind of death by a thousand cuts. I am so grateful that she had lived this length of time - she will be fourteen in February - but a dog's life is relatively short and certainly never long enough.
Nel was adopted when she was a year old, from a dog rescue centre that thought euthanasia was going to be the only option because she was so badly traumatised. We have been running in the forest together for thirteen years. I have been blessed with every step that we've shared.
Maybe tomorrow she'll feel differently but today it feels like -
and most definitely