When I was a child, I had a springer spaniel, Robin...endlessly bouncy, demanding (and getting) long walks every day. He was my first pet, and set the bar high for those to follow. My family had always believed in big dogs and had tended to dismiss anything smaller than a spaniel as a "pretend dog" for those who weren't up to the real thing! Fast forward to the 1990s when we were looking for pets for our own growing children.
3 children plus a 2CV meant that big dogs just weren't going to be possible - so I found myself forced to adjust my ideas about what made a proper dog. Maisie, a cross breed terrier, converted me in a moment and when Hattie Gandhi wanted a dog of her own, it was easy to agree that another terrier might be just what we needed.
So Mufti came into our lives - a pedigree puppy with ears so much too big for her head in those early weeks.
Her mum had won "Best of Breed" at Crufts but on the day we collected her, the breeder said
"All you can ever ask of a dog is that she should be a good companion"
Mufti clearly heard and took this very very seriously.
While Hattie G settled into secondary school, Mufti was there to greet her with all the enthusiasm that a battered teenage ego might require.
She was such a chatty little dog - always "conversing" with us...showing her excitement and delight with yelps of pleasure when I went into the room, nearly beside herself with squeals of joy when I picked up her lead...
When Hattie G left on her Gap year expedition to Thailand, Mufti pined for days but gradually transferred her affections to me and so for the past 5 years she has been my shadow in the house, finding her way onto my knee the moment I sat down, generally keeping an eye on me, and with a loud and forthright opinion on most things.
She considered, briefly, becoming an old lady when we moved to the vicarage, but the arrival of Libby put paid to that notion and she gamely set out to teach the new puppy who was boss and how to play properly. There was never any doubt about who was top dog, despite the disparity in size. She was such a gutsy little dog...interested in everything...willing to try anything if she thought it would please me...
I guess it was when she stopped even trying to play with Libby that I knew we were nearing the end.
Thank you, Mufti, for 12 lovely years. A good companion indeed.