James Poggin 1991-2009
On the weekend, our beloved Jimmy passed away. He was heading towards his 18th birthday but somehow we still weren't ready for it. He will be so hugely missed. I'm so glad that we've had some fun in the past 6 months, and took him to the beach just last weekend. He even managed to enjoy a pig's ear (a favoured treat) the day before he died.
You might remember that Jimmy did a brilliant job of selecting my giveaway winner earlier this year. I thought I'd take this opportunity to remember a few Jimmy stories so I can come back and read them whenever I feel sad. Grab a cuppa - this is going to be long.
Jimmy was originally my step-sister's dog and that's where he was ruined. From day one, he slept on her bed and ate whatever he liked. He never took to being disciplined, and nor did anyone put much effort into it. I think he may have attended puppy school but I'm sure that's just where he learned about snacks.
Over the years, with the comings and goings of family members (we tend to move countries as often as most people move houses) Jimmy came under the watchful eye of our parents. I think they attempted to set down some ground rules, but Jimmy was a good manipulator (far more cunning than he often appeared).
When he moved in with me about 10 years ago he was still carrying on like a puppy (in fact, that only changed in the last year). The day he moved in, he came barrelling down the hallway, pissed on the kitchen doorway, then ran outside and jumped into the pond. He always loved the water (and a few weeks later, when the neighbours installed a pond, he broke into their yard for a swim).
He was a bit of an escape artist, and for a while was escaping daily though we couldn't work out how. It turns out he was getting over the back fence (using a pile of wood as a ramp) where he would eat the food of the 3-legged dog living there before kicking the dog out of it's doghouse so he could have a nap and some shelter from the rain. Too rude! Especially considering he had food and shelter at home! We put a stop to that as soon as we figured out how he was escaping - thankfully the owner of the little 3-legged dog was quite forgiving (but did take our phone number in case it happened again).
Jimmy returned from one of these unsolicited trips one day with a bag of minced meat. We can only assume someone had left it on a windowsill to thaw and he just couldn't resist (thought I doubt he tried very hard to).
His most famous escape was a few years earlier when he was living in Kalgoorlie with our parents. He went missing for a few days. There were tears as we thought he'd gone forever, lost to the bush. He returned one morning, and mum heard him bark. She ran out excitedly and gave him a hug - only to find (too late) that he was covered in shit. The 2 of them had to be hosed down outside. Rolling in stinky stuff was another of Jimmy's favourite pasttimes.
About 8-10 years ago, 2 of my closest friends got puppies and Jimmy became their teacher. Jimmy's can-do attitude taught his little friend Olive not to be afraid of the park and how to roll in stinky stuff (the 2 of them found a rotting bird to roll in when Olive was just a tiny thing, and they proudly came to show us - it took days to wash that stink out). Jimmy was like a dad to little Edie, with the 2 of them sharing a house in Edie's first year. If anything, this rekindled Jimmy's love for chewing on squeaky puppy toys, though not his ability to share them.
His internal clock was impeccable - dinner was at 5pm and his reminder was a single bark. He even adjusted for daylight savings. He also knew that breakfast brought snacks, and if we hit snooze too many times, he'd bark at us to GET UP!
As Jimmy hit his teens, we'd say things like "this will be his last Christmas" but he kept proving us wrong. I think his recent years in tropical New Caledonia worked wonders for his aging joints, and the laidback lifestyle suited him just fine. His eyes had started to fail him by then, and it was a relief that mum had retired so she could become his guide. He spent his last few years following her like a shadow. But please don't think he was a frail old man! He still enjoyed "rough games" and racing into the water at the beach.
Suddenly, he was an old man. He had fatty lumps, a dodgy shoulder, horrid breath, cataracts. He wasn't exactly the adorable puppy he had once been, but he was still so beautiful and I would certainly put up with his breath for a cuddle. And the important thing is that he was happy right to the end. When his time came, it was thankfully swift and peaceful.
I'm going to miss him so much and don't know that I'll ever meet another dog like him. I doubt it - he was one of a kind. xx