Of course, we are crazy. I called Athol to let him know the sad news about our Jonty. We wept, as we still are. Athol has had a dreadful year, and I was sorry to compound it with our sad news. Earlier this year his partner of over twenty years, Paddy (David Fallon) died after a battle with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He was only 42. Since then Athol has been at a loose end, staying with friends here and there, and downsizing his dogs. He had over thirty - a mixture of pugs and French Bulldogs. He is now down to 13, having had some of the older ones put to sleep and finding homes for others. He had kept one pug puppy, a male, because he was a good one and he might consider showing again, but his heart really isn't in it. He'd tried to sell him once but had no response to the ad. Did we want him? No no no, she cried! Not another one! No more dogs! My mother and I had had conversations about this. "Don't let Michael talk you into another dog" she said.
Michael was so miserable on losing Jonty. So sad, it was awful. One foolish night this week I asked him whether he wanted another dog. Yes, came the answer as quick as quick. We discussed it. Another breed? A female? A young puppy? You all know the answer. I called Athol, who is living with a friend in Goulburn temporarily. Yes, we could have the pug. Six months old (same age as Jonty when we got him) and beautiful. We got in the car. Along the way we followed and were followed by a car with the numberplate YAO. This was Jonty's kennel name, so we took this as a message from the universe that Jonty was with us and we were doing the right thing. So we popped him in the car and drove home.
He knew how to behave in the car, slept for some of the journey. We stopped off at the Pet Barn to get him some eats and a new welcome home toy. He has never worn a collar or been on a lead before, so he has some training ahead, but he is smart. He slept in the big dog crate last night without a murmur or any bother. This morning he went out on the lead to the park, and perfomed very well.
So are we mad? Yes, no doubt about it. Another twelve to fifteen years of being responsible for a little dog. More vet bills. More heartache and worry. But more life in the house, more parks to visit, more stories to tell. We look at him and tears well up again, we miss Jonty sorely.
He is Michael's dog. Michael has to name him. At the moment his name is Youshi Majic, but goes by the name of Little Pug. It will take time for him to carve a place in our lives. He will never fill Jonty's shoes, just as Jonty didn't fill Bennie's. He will have his own shoes.