A long, long time ago, when she was little, she had a 1st dog. She called him Cookie, after Kookie from 77 Sunset Strip. Back then, she wasn't too good at spelling. Most of you have probably never heard of this show. It's very old.
Cookie had lots of brothers and sisters when he was born. But they all died young. When Cookie was a puppy, he had short shiny black fur. As he grew up, his fur grew longer and wiry. It became black and grey and sandy and brown. His tail became feathery. So he wasn't just a scruffy mutt, he was also a very unusual one.
My stay-at-home human knew he was her dog and no one else's because Cookie only ever listened to her.
Every day after school, my stay-at-home human would rush home, throw her schoolbag down, get on her bicycle and ride far, far away. No one ever tried to kidnap her because these were the old days when people smiled more, were kinder and looked after each other. Cookie always ran after the bicycle. He never wore a leash.
Together, they climbed hills and explored caves. She pretended she was one of The Famous Five and ate funny fruit she'd never seen before. Miraculously, she didn't get sick and die. Her mother and father would have been very angry if they knew, so she never told them. My stay-at-home human was a lot braver then. These days, she won't even let me have a piece of chocolate or a peanut because she's afraid it'll kill me.
Cookie and my stay-at-home human played in deserted rubber plantations, and tempted death some more by following railway tracks. They got wet catching tadpoles and fish in puddles and streams. They got very dirty thinking a sewer was a stream [and she got big boils from it too].
Cookie and my stay-at-home human were Very Best Friends.
My stay-at-home human taught Cookie how to come, sit, lie down, shake hands, beg and stay. Cookie taught himself how to kill snakes and climb fences to get out of the backyard. And Cookie taught my stay-at-home human how to eat fresh grass and dog biscuit-mud pies and smoked pig bones. They shared the bones and Cookie always let my stay-at-home human have first go.
But Cookie was a sickly dog. You remember I told you all his brothers and sisters died young. Cookie was still young too, when he had to make his first Very Important Visit to the town's Dr Dog.
Dr Dog told my stay-at-home human's father that Cookie was sick and would have to be put to sleep. When my stay-at-home human heard this, she started crying and begged Dr Dog to please save Cookie. She cried so much, Dr Dog and her father got worried and said, "Okay, let's take him home and see how it goes."
Over the years, Cookie had to visit Dr Dog many times. But each time, my stay-at-home human cried and cried until he was allowed to come home. She was a real crybaby.
Then, as always happens, my stay-at-home human grew up. She stopped sneaking into Cookie's kennel and smuggling him into her bed. Maybe it was because her nanny found fleas in her clothes and she got a scolding. But it was also because she discovered Donovan, love poems and boys.
When Cookie was about 10, my stay-at-home human got sent away to a boarding school in a bigger town. She was really sad that she had to leave Cookie behind. She cried some more, and she promised him that they would one day soon be together again.
If Cookie was lonely at home without my stay-at-home human, she was never told. At any rate, she was a teenager now and had more important things to think about than a little old dog far, far away.
Months and months went by. One day, her father came to visit. He told her that he'd put Cookie to sleep because he couldn't be saved anymore.
My stay-at-home human got very angry. She started screaming at her father and calling him names for killing her dog. She scolded him for not telling her before he'd done it. She scolded him for having done it. Then she ran away, crying because she suddenly remembered how much she loved Cookie.
She cried for days and nights. She didn't care that all her friends and teachers thought she was mad. She didn't care when her eyes ballooned up and she couldn't see anymore. She kept on crying because she didn't know how to stop.
There was just no other way to say goodbye.
Cookie's been dead more than 35 years now. My stay-at-home human doesn't cry much anymore. She's become a Grumpy Old Woman Who Eats Too Many Passionfruit Tarts. She's had 9 dogs since Cookie. I am her 10th.
But she's never forgotten her 1st Dog. She only has one small black and white picture of him. He's looking up at her and you can only see his bum.
She doesn't know if all her dogs that are gone are now hunting rabbits in heaven, because she's not sure there's such a thing as heaven. But it's alright, she says, they're all still here, in her favourite memories. All she has to do is close her eyes and take a deep breath. Smell that?
"It's Cookie and me sharing a great big smoked pig bone. Yum."
I think that's what you call love.
For the other Georgia and her dog, Kammy.
As some of you may know, Kammy has been suffering from lymphoma for a while. 3 minutes after publishing this post, I received an email that she has taken a turn for the worse and will have to be put to sleep.
If you'd like to say goodbye, please be down at Mort Bay around 8am this Thursday 2nd December.
Kammy is one of [our] Georgia's oldest friends and will be missed.
Some helpful thoughts:
Some helpful thoughts: