Goodbye Nemo


Our dog, Nemo, died yesterday. Three days ago he was, we thought, fine. Turning cartwheels at food time and ferociously defending his turf. Two days ago he didn’t eat. We thought it was probably a bin raid gone bad. But by yesterday morning there was obviously something wrong, and by the end of yesterday he was gone. A stomach cancer that ruptured.
Nemo was a street dog that we rescued just before he was due to be put down. A staffy cross. Beautiful to people, horrible to other animals. He was the fiercest fighter in the dog lizard wars. We only had him just over a year but the hole he has left is huge. When you came home he would come to the door and greet you with a weird dog attempt at language. His tail would thump whenever he saw you. He was terrified of thunderstorms and would curl up under the desk or in the bathroom, trembling with fear. All that remains of him now is a stinky dog bed and a doggy patch in front of the heater.
I only have an old picture to post, because our computer has just died too. Although there is some hope for its uncertain resurrection.
I hope the wheel starts its upward turn soon.
Nemo and Pipper

Nature of the beast


I’ve been putting together some thoughts for my next book. There will be strange, hybrid creatures and there will be humans who become partly animal, slightly other. I’ve been thinking about how that will change them, because of course it must. I don’t like to admit to being influenced by physiology. But, if I’m honest, I’d have to say there are times where I am straggly and unhappy, when my body and my mind are working against me. I wonder if you made the choice to change, to take on something new, would you embrace the differences?

I used to make jokes about the dog-lizard wars in our backyard. That was when we had only one dog, Pipper, a not very bright, not very co-ordinated Brittany Spaniel. He would chase the lizards. They would always get away. What few brain cells Pipper had at his disposal were diminished when he slammed into the pool fence chasing the rapidly disappearing lizard. Then we rescued a Staffy cross we called Nemo. To us he seemed placid, docile, loving and incredibly old. As he recovered and grew stronger he first put Pipper in his (lowly) place and then set about terrorising any wildlife that was foolish enough to come into our backyard. He has been out on the pool cover after an Eastern Water Dragon – a place both I and the Dragon thought was completely safe. He stalks, he lurks, he lies in wait. He is much much smarter than the lizards. Blood has been shed.

It’s not just the nature of the mind, but of the body too. Both our dogs have predator’s instincts. Only one of them is able to put them to any real use. Could a human who found herself with wings, really know what it means to fly? Whales are said to have a unique sensory organ in their chin that can sense thihgs no other creature can. What would you experience if you suddenly had this sense? As you can see I’m at the very early stages of this, where there’s lots to explore and it’s all possibility. But it’s a good antidote to the serious editing that the current work expects. As long as I don’t float away.