Saturday, 16 November 2013
STILL GOING STRONG AT 18! (My dog)
Asha, my lowchen bitch, is now 18 years old; she still manages reasonable walks, and although she sleeps a lot and is very thin now, is in amazingly good state for her grand burden of years! She is called Asha since when I got her she reminded me of the ash-pan we used to take out from under the fire, glinting with gold and grey, and dark with half-used coal . Later I discovered Asha is a Hindi name for 'hope', very appropriate because she was the dog I acquired in my first year after horrible ovarian cancer - without her and her need for (short) walks I would never have got any strength back into my body, I was so ill at the time. (You never do get back your previous strength and ability, but you have to start from where you are now and never look back).
She's not the only lowchen I've owned - my first was another bitch called Flossie, who came via Animal Rescue services and who was done out in the fashionable lion-dog clip (naked hindquarters, lion mane, and pom-pom feet and tail). My son took one look and swore never to be seen out with her! Flossie was the greatest, greediest scavenger I've ever known - after her first Christmas she went missing on bin day and was found, only just in time, rooting in a black bin bag for chicken carcass remains and narrowly avoided being flung into the refuse truck because my son (who by then was as in love with her as all the family were) noticed this binbag shivering, opened it, and recognised the shaved bottom of our new dog!
People often ask what breed Asha is, and frequently think she's a Schnauser because of her colouring, but the Schnauser is much more stocky than the lowchen. Lowchens are adorable, healthy, bright little dogs with a great sense of fun, and Asha has been one of my best dogs ever - so well-behaved and easy to look after.
Except when it comes to the camera- she's neurotically shy of it - and if this photo is a little bit blurry it's still one of the best, snapped quickly by my friend Janine Pinion on her mobile phone. All my own pics of Asha are of her rear end as she races off to her bed away from the camera!
I recognise that I may not have her for much longer now and thus this attempt to 'immortalise' her in this post. I didn't get her from puppyhood, but after she'd been used for breeding. She was 5 years old when she came to me, and has been my companion now for 13 years. The kind of devoted, gentle dog you only know once in a lifetime....