They say a dog is a man’s best friend.
I was never a firm believer in that before my best friend died. And that best friend turned out to be my dog Ebony.
Ebony had a strange, nomadic history. She was brought by my good pal Al for his then girl friend in the late 1990’s. They split up and Ebony landed on my doorstep in 2000! Initially it was for three weeks. This turned into 13 years (on and off). In that time she had three other adopted parents: Lourda; Thecla, John, Selina and finally Mairead. But she always came back to me.
She was showing her age on the last occasion. She was now 16 years old (that’s 90+ in dog years!) She was near blind, very deaf, had a lump on her leg and could not go for long walks. Instead, I would take her out to a couple of local green spots where she could meander at her leisure un-bothered by cars. Below is a picture of just such a spot, along the Grand Canal in Dublin. She loved this because she could sniff the water rats!
Then mid-November of this year things rapidly went down hill. She became very sick and finally unable to eat. The last day she just lay in Mairead’s outhouse as if dead. The vet advised us that her life had run its course and the next day she was put out of her misery. The night before she died I had a strange dream. Ebony came to me (and Mairead whose house she died in) and nuzzled her big head into ours, saying “Thank you.”
It’s now, a week after her death and as I walk around Dublin I am constantly reminded of her presence in the places we would walk together: St Stephens Green, the Unicorn deli where she wold sit at my feet while I sipped espresso, Grafton St.
Losing Ebony has been a different experience, a different kind of grief to losing close human beings. We never had a row. She was ALWAYS happy to see me; always up for a communal adventure, be that walking to the end of the road. That, and the unconditional affection 24/7 for 365 days of the year.
A dog IS a man’s best friend, of that I now have no doubt.