Gracie is seventeen weeks old today. It frightens me how fast time whizzes by. A whole life can be gone in the blink of an eye. When I found her in the dog pound, Chandi was the same age as Gracie is today. It seems like yesterday that I was in the car with my mum driving, Pepper on the backseat and little Chandi standing on my lap as we drove away from the pound. Yesterday, but a lifetime ago.
It feels as though Chandi never existed. Maybe it was all a beautiful dream that has now turned into a nightmare. It doesn’t seem possible that I was lucky enough to have been at the pound the very second she was being left there. But I was. And now, my beautiful girl is ashes in a wooden box. Knowing that is all that’s left of my her physical body makes me feel sick. Really sick.
Chandi slept next to me on our bed. My choice, and very definitely hers. She had a ramp up onto the bed, but even though she knew she was allowed up there with me, she asked permission every single night. The only night she didn’t ask, was after winning the inaugural HTM/Freestyle Final at Crufts in 2005. I went to clean my teeth and opened the door into the bedroom to find Chandi not only on the bed, but curled up with her head on my pillow. I didn’t mind one jot. Now Chandi’s ashes are next to me at night. They don’t snore like a trucker and kick me in the back. I wish they did.
Grace likes to come up on the bed with me. I ask her if she wants to, and she replies by wagging her long tail and putting her front feet up on the side of the bed so I can lift her. She likes to chew on her bone and alternates that with walking on me. Her Pièce de résistance is collapsing her lithe, soft body on top of me whilst simultaneously throwing her front feet either side of my neck and nibbling my ear. Cute while she’s still small…
Even though I carefully move the wooden box to a place of safety while Grace is on the bed, she absolutely will not lie next to me. I pick her up and put her where Chandi would lie, but she stays for a minute, because I told her to, and then wriggles down to the bottom of the bed and stays there. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that Grace was leaving space for Chandi. I don’t have a better explanation.
I have a sneaky feeling that Grace is another earth-angel. Chandi was, for sure. One thing about which I am completely certain, Grace is my dog, just as Pepper and Chandi were. It was right all along – that voice inside me that whispers to me – one day (when the time was right) we would find each other and be together. This, is our time.