I finally finished reading Marley and Me this morning.
I'd put it aside for a few weeks after Marley's first close encounter with death: it was all too familiar.
I normally read last thing at night and I couldn't face Marley dying just before I went to sleep. This morning, instead of going to the church meeting, I had a lie-in and, as I was about to pick up and start on The Other Boleyn Girl, I spotted Marley. Plucking up my courage, I opened it and continued.
Yes, I cried. But it's so well-written, and the author explains his emotions so sensitively and unsloppily, that it's manageable. A thoroughly recommended read for dog-lovers but I suspect it would simply confirm to dog-haters what they would see as the insanity of dog-owners.
And you might be wondering why you haven't heard from Harvey for a while: he's not talking to me.
Life has been so chaotic for the last few weeks that we've not managed many walks. Now actually that suits Harvey fine as sleeping and eating is all he really wants to do, but, like a lot of old people, he has a wonderful long-term memory but no short-term. So he looks at me, and remembers romping in the woods, chasing squirrels - never coming even close - leaping off the riverbank, swimming in the sea, sniffing his way around the cliff path, and coming face to face with foxes on the tip, and he wonders why I am being so horrid and not taking him there today, NOW!
He forgets that by the time he gets to the end of the road he is panting and dragging behind me; he forgets that when we return not only can he not manage to get up the front steps, he can't get down the six steps at the back, or up the two steps that lead to the back garden and his ramp back to the house. He doesn't even remember that he has a ramp. Instead he struggles into the bushes and stands there and barks, wondering when the garden wall that he is now standing on, got to be so high from the ground (it's all of 18").