Thursday, 16 November 2017


Zara circa December 1987

After publishing the previous post, I realized that I hadn't mentioned our first dog, so although this has a similar theme, I thought it deserved to be seen again so that he got his fair share of attention.  I've added three photos that didn't appear in the first version, and also updated the original to include them.


I was in the back garden filling my bird feeders the other day (as I do every day) and, coming in through the porch door, I spied scratches in the paintwork on the lower part of the exterior of the kitchen door in front of me.  I'd seen them before, naturally (many times), but so used to them am I now that they don't really register with me anymore, so why they did on this occasion I'm not quite sure.

The scratches had been caused by not just one dog, but three.  First, PRINCE, a mongrel we'd owned back in the early '70s that looked almost like a 'miniature' German Shepherd;  then TARA, an actual German Shepherd we owned from around the mid-'70s to 1986.  Finally, ZARA (another German Shepherd), who I'd bought to replace Tara when her time had come to an end earlier in the same year.

Zara circa 1987

What's interesting though, is that we'd moved away from this house in 1983, when Tara was eight and a half years old.  Tara died three years later, which is when I got Zara - and a year after that we moved back to our previous house (as regular readers will be tired of reading).

So what's interesting about that?  Well, the back door of that other house likewise has scratches from both Tara and Zara (made when they were seeking re-entry after being out in the garden 'watering' the plants), so both houses bear the marks of the same two dogs, but, in the case of this house, made with a four year gap between them.

It had occurred to me a few years back to fill in the scratches, but now I don't think I'll ever bother.  It's somehow oddly reassuring to see the 'footprints' of our three dogs still there after all this time (Zara died nineteen years ago), as fresh as when they were first made.  It's as if Prince, Tara and Zara are still around in some way.

Tara circa 1984

In fact, sometimes, when the wind is howling late at night, I seem to hear scratching at the back door and a muffled whining, as if something is seeking shelter from the elements.  My first thought, of course, is that my ears are playing tricks on me, but then my curiosity kicks in and I make my way through to the kitchen to check things out.

Whenever I open wide the door, however, only the inky blackness of the night beyond stares back at me - but the unmistakable smell of doggie fur hangs in the midnight air, as if I've only just missed a canine visitor or three wishing to remind me that their spirits yet linger out in the garden in case I should ever forget them. 

Never, my doggie pals - never.


Finally managed to find some pictures of Prince.  The original photos bear the printed date of July 1974 in the margins, but whether this is when they were taken or developed, I'm unsure.  If the latter, there wouldn't be much of a gap between the two occasions.  Alas, poor Prince.  We only had him for about a year-and-a-half.  In fact, as I've only got three photos of him, I might as well show them all here.


Anonymous said...

The photo at the top would make a nice Christmas card.

Kid said...

What a good idea, CJ, so I think that's what I'll do. Ta much.

-3- said...

I'm getting a little jealous.
I, too, have recently been doing a bit of wandering down memory lane. But, as mentioned before, my past dwellings are scattered wide around the globe, and very little tangible artifacts remain to me from the past.
Enjoy that physical connection for us both, won't you?
(And no doggy puns on the Christmas card, but CJ's right - use it)

Kid said...

I made the card within about 15 minutes of CJ suggesting it, 3. I'll post a couple of photos once I've had something to eat. Glad you liked the post.

Dave S said...

What a handsome dog Prince was. Looks like a right little character too!

Kid said...

Yeah, it's a shame what happened to him. My brother (whose dog it 'officially' was) wasn't taking him out for walks when he should have, so my father told him to lift his game or the dog would be returned to the cat and dog home from which he was rescued (some rescue). His exhortation went unheeded, so Prince was sadly returned whence he came, poor thing. My brother had really wanted a German Shepherd dog all along, and several months after Prince was 'sent off', he got Tara. Just brought her home one day with no advance notice. I really do hope that Prince found a new home with people who loved him and wasn't put down. That's what I prefer to believe.

Dave S said...

Kid, I'm sure Prince ended up with a loving family - there's no way anyone could resist that wee face for long.

Kid said...

My only consolation is to believe that's what happened, DS. Ah, poor Prince.

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