Yesterday, the temperature soared into the forties (centigrade). I was coping okay. Too hot to make printing ink work down in the studio, I battened down, working on my novel, regularly cringing as the violent winds bludgeoned the gum trees towering above the cottage. I was, however, concerned for my ageing loyal mate. Poor Finn, my ten-year-old Wolfhound/Bull Mastiff cross, wasn’t doing as well. Time for the air conditioner. Watching his breathing gradually go from short, sharp panting to the regular, even rise and fall of his chest while he slept, I wondered how much longer we will have together. For his breed/s and size, and with hips buggered since puppy-hood, he’s doing well, considering. Still eager to go for rambles, especially down along the Glenelg River, he ranges ahead, the leader of a pack of two. He inevitably veers off at the two sandy beaches for a drink and paw-cooling. Dogs smile, of course they do. His pleasure is evident while we’re out, but, he pays for it later, his disintegrating hip joints unable to sustain the effort of carrying his 46 kilos too far, for too long.
How will I cope when he’s gone? I accept that in the not too distant future, he will embark on his last journey. If love alone was the elixir of life, my raggle-taggle, scruffy boy would live forever.
Before Christmas my daughter-in-law asked me to ‘do something’ with sheets of paw prints of her friend’s now deceased dog, a loyal and much-loved member of the family. Suggestions were vague – perhaps a bunch of flowers, something she can keep and display. Uninspired by the bouquet idea, I was in a quandary. What would I like as a commemoration of a dear mate?
There had been no printmaking for more than a week – oh, woe – so, incorporating a linocut was top of the list to include. A photograph of the dog, Dakota, duly provided, I set to work.
I had fun doing the small project, the recipient was thrilled, and a devoted pooch was memorialised in a creative and, I considered, fitting way. Not wishing to tempt fate, I won’t be starting a book for Finn anytime soon. Later…