Bring the firestorm

Bit of Motorhead for you this morning. Can’t think of anything more appropriate

If there was ever a kindred spirit for Lemmy, Tobby was probably it. Lemmy died at the tail end of last year, having undertaken a world tour that finished less than a month before he died. I mean if anybody personified that same spirit, it’d be Tobby. He too refused to take it easy and had never taken it easy one single day since being here. I mean, Amigo hops around on three legs when he’s feeling sorry for himself. Heston stops eating. Tilly pees on everybody’s beds. But Tobby? He never let me know he was out of sorts.

Last Monday, I took him for a last-ditch try. The appointment could have gone either way. If the vet said no chance, I wouldn’t have let him go on. She said she didn’t think steroids would work because the damage was neurological, but it might give him a bit of power in his muscles and give him his appetite back. In the end, it was easy to see that it made his muscles more relaxed, but heavier too. I had to help him every single time he got up. He was losing sensation in his legs and tail too. He wouldn’t eat on Tuesday, and nothing would tempt him, not beef, not turkey, not even a sausage. It was time.

The house has been so quiet since then, even with the great galumph that is Effel. Amigo has been more needy than usual. He stood in the rain with me when we buried Tobby in the garden and he wouldn’t come inside. I didn’t think Heston would care so much, but an energy has left the house and he definitely feels that. He’s been so flat and quiet. Tilly is just Tilly, although she did mark the occasion by peeing in one of the beds.

I said when Ralf died that there would always be a space for an old dog. There always will. I think it’s time to leave it until after Christmas, as there will be a few more guests than usual here. Tobby would no doubt have packed his bags and toddled off.

One thing is for sure… I miss those radar ears and those bright eyes, those nudges for attention and the endless company. He was such a typical shepherd – only really happy with a job to do or a bit of companionship. He was loyal and connected to me in ways that my other dogs just weren’t. In the night, all my other dogs move about and pick spots that are warm or comfortable, or cooler. Tobby always, without fail, lay by my bed. That’s the dog he was.


He had 19 months of good food, comfort and companionship. This is my favourite photo of him even though it’s the least posed – that’s maybe why it’s my favourite. He just looks so content. No ribs on show and handsome as he ever was.

As for the other stuff, my two remaining kittens were homed at our Portes Ouvertes this weekend. Last night was the first time since April that I have had only one lodger. Despite everything Effel is proving difficult to rehome. He is welcome to stay as long as he likes, but he has never felt like my dog. It’s a shame, because he’s beautiful, but Tilly avoids going out when he is outside, as his bouncing and racing without care are too much for her. There is a bristly tension between him and Heston. Heston has to tell him three or four times a day that he’s too much. Feff is so great with new dogs and such an arse with ones he knows better. Seeing him bump Amigo last week also makes me very conscious that I’ve still got two old giffers here, and although Tobby is no longer here to barge and bump, Amigo is now all but deaf and he needs a home where he feels safe.

This week, exams have finished and I have about a gazillion tasks to finish off that I started before the exam hibernation. The house couldn’t be dirtier what with the filthy weather we had last week, and it’s time I got out the mop and bucket.


This time next week we’ll be into December… can’t believe the year has gone so very quickly.


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