Twelve years ago, I got a Jack Russel puppy from my neighbor, and named her Spotty.  She had a huge heart shaped spot on her side and was the size of a tea cup when I got her.  I did not think much of the adoption.  I had wanted a dog and I went out and got one.

Spotty grew up to be the most beautiful dog I had met.  She was clever too. Always up to some very sketchy errands.  My mother (who had never wanted a dog) would dance with her in the evenings.  Most times Spotty would be found on Mum’s lap, just sitting there while Mum read the newspaper and filled out the crossword puzzle.

One day, a male Japanese Spitz aptly named Danger moved into our neighborhood.  I assumed he was named Danger for his dark patch on one eye, just like the cartoon character, Danger Mouse! My neighbor was convinced he was named Danger because he was smooth with the lady dogs!  We had managed to keep Spotty puppy free for 6 years.  At this point though, I did want puppies – her puppies.  Danger must have heard my silent prayer because lo and behold, my Spotty, and 4 other neighborhood dogs were all pregnant at the same time.  19 puppies were fathered by Danger!  Four of them belonged to Spotty.  I guess my neighbor was right after all.

Spotty was an excellent mother.  Caring, loving, a disciplinarian.  At some point during this period, I once again went off to the farm and spent some 2 weeks there with Spotty and her puppies.  It was utter chaos.  The kind of chaos born of fun and laughter.  By the time I got back to the city with Spotty and her babies, I had had enough.  I let go of the 3 female puppies to great homes and kept the male.

Spotty became my best companion.  We went for walks! Long winding walks that invigorated her and left me at peace.  Whenever I travelled, Spotty would stage a protest and sit in my suitcase so I could not pack my clothes.  She understood my moods perfectly and knew when to ask for a walk and when to just lie next to me and do nothing.

Over time Spotty got old, and to give her a new lease of life, I relocated her to the farm, together with her son.  They had space to run, chase chickens and squirrels, plan escapades to the dam together with the larger breed farm dogs, herd goats, marvel at the cows and generally live an adventurous life.

One night, Spotty convinced the large dogs to stage a night escape and go on an adventure.  The following morning, the larger dogs returned without Spotty.  She was lost for three days.  I was beside myself with worry.  Finally, she was spotted by a good neighbor, and we went off to pick her from her hiding place.  Silly girl!

About a week ago, I went back to the farm to spend time transplanting the crops from the nurseries.  The day I arrived, Spotty was not her usual self.  She did not come to meet the car at the gate nor was she doing her usual prancing around trying to “tell” me how she had been.  She just seemed very withdrawn.  Initially I assumed she was mad at me because I had left her at the farm the last time I had been there.  I did not give it much more thought as the farm hands convinced me she was fine.

Sometime that night, my dear Spotty passed away!  I was beside myself with grief.  I was inconsolable. I could not believe she was gone. My walking buddy, my dancing dog, my companion, my friend!  We buried her under an Acacia tree on the farm.  The place she had spent so many happy days chasing squirrels and doing happy dog stuff.  My only consolation is that she lived a full and happy life, and her happiest days were spent on the farm! Farewell my dear Spotty! Dog heaven has gained a wonderful soul!


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