Yesterday I received one of those calls I dread. Sitting with a client in the Peak District our discussions were interrupted by a message from my good lady to tell me our old dog Fen had fallen ill during the day. After driving through the twilight traffic and seeing the beginnings of a storm forming ahead of me I made it back home.
With the storm gathering outside we sat with our old dog and tried to give her some comfort. Time seems to pass slowly when your mind is full of concerns and it was a little while before I realised the skies above our home had become clearer with only an occasional cloud drifting by to cover the stars for a moment. I decided to take a stroll with Fen to see if some gentle exercise would help her discomfort and also give my good lady a much needed break after a day attending to her needs.
A short while later we found ourselves in the woodland with the ground around us illuminated by the white light from my lantern. Above us the night sky remained clear but with the surrounding trees still shedding the water from the earlier downpour, glistening shots sped down to the undergrowth rattling the foliage and carrying the sounds of heavy rainfall in an echo of the storm. We wandered slowly along the wider well trodden paths and woodland road, stopping every now and again to ensure journey was a pleasure and not an endurance for Fen. In the distance the storm clouds still lay heavy on the horizon and flashes of lightening lit the sky and landscape in spectacular and blinding flourishes.
Further along the track we reached a familiar clearing and again we stopped, this time it was to watch an etherial mist rising against the distant backdrop of the lightening and the clouds gathering the light from the town a few miles away. With our eyes feasted we moved on into the quietening trees before taking a track that would lead us back to the car and the warmth of home.
I have no idea how long my old companion will be with us, at sixteen and with her health failing she is certainly well into her last years. I remember with great fondness the exploits of her youth and the energy of a young dog happy to be taken into a pack after being rescued by a shelter because her original owner had left her tied up on a bus.
She still has her love of life I will do the best I can for her.
(my thanks to two twitter friends, Di (@di-lew) for her best wishes and also to Jocelyn (@Miss Phosphorus) for her work & inspiration in finding homes for shelter dogs)