Ashes

Dogs and Josh

Tammy is the dog on the left. She loved eating, swimming and her constant companion, Luna.

About ten years ago, during the height of a crazy property frenzy (remember those Rich Dad, Poor Dad books?), we looked at a house in Newlands. The garage had multiple wine racks that indicated that the current owner’s interest in wine went beyond a hobby. In the small front garden were two little dogs: Tammy and Luna.

‘Why are they selling?’ I asked the German property agent, who elongated the end of my name so that its sounded like ‘Lisuuh’.

‘They’re emigrating to Colombia.’ So perhaps it wasn’t just wine that interested them.

Later I said to Greg, ‘We need a competitive advantage. We’ll never get this house. Let’s offer to take the dogs.’

‘Don’t be stupid,’ he said.

‘No, come on. Who else will offer that?’

We often joke that the house cost us nothing, but those dogs were helluva expensive.

Today we had to put down Tammy. Greg carried her in his arms to the vet, who gave her an injection with green liquid in it. She looked at Greg until her eyes lost their focus, and he patted her for a while after the vet had left the room.

The three-year-old wanted to know whether we would get Tammy’s bones. ‘Only her ashes,’ I told him.

‘And what are those made of?’ he asked.

‘Ask your father.’

‘But who will take care of her now that she’s dead?’

We’ll get the ashes in a week and bury them in the garden. Yesterday (we knew we would have to put her down this morning) we went to the Company’s Garden for a walk and some sun. The three-year-old, in his batman outfit, went to the Natural History museum with his father and brother. Afterwards he burst into tears.

‘I left my cape there,’ he said. ‘It’s lost forever.’

‘No, no,’ I said. ‘We can buy another one at the hawker’s next to Cavendish Square. That’s where we got the last one.’

‘You’ll never find another one like that. They don’t have any more.’ He wept all the way home.

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