GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA!
A chilly morning. I sneak back into bed, to write a note, before the day gets into full swing. In the corner, Tammy and Toby stare despondently at me. Their day always starts earlier than mine, but they have to wait, patiently, for sleep to dissipate and for me to feed them. I reach for my diary.
These two Goldens have such a beautiful, considerate relationship. Tammy is bordering on twelve years old now and is an old, gracious lady. Most of the time she's slow and arthritic, except for when she hears the words "BISCUITS!" or "WALKIES" which will prompt her to beat any young whippersnapper to the finish line. It's at those times that she's earned the nickname,
"Miss no arthritis".
Depending on how Tammy feels, the game may last up to five minutes before the old matriarch calls it a day. It will happen in one of two ways: either she'll give a visible full body "shake" or you'll simply notice that she's lifted her head and looked in the other direction - all but ignoring him. He may continue prompting her, but will eventually settle to lowering his head and his gaze ... then slide onto his side to lie quietly. He has total respect for her.
What a nurturer she's been over the past two years! Canine leadership traits are fascinating. Take a moment to watch their display and you'll learn so much. True leaders are not loudly vocal, but quiet and confident. Their body language tells it all - they know how to live their life and others try to mimic their wisdom.
Tammy may have been the runt of her litter (all those years ago) but she is a true canine leader. She's respectful of those she depends on and patient and firm in what she wants. She'll wait at the door for hours, simply insisting - quietly - that she wants to enter a domain. She'll pacify the younger pups - understanding that their energy needs direction. She'll lie in the sun, absorb its energy and pace her ageing. She'll also exercise discipline - her own (by not pulling on the lead and being the most perfect walking companion), as well as handing it out to others (Toby, don't attempt to approach her food bowl!). Like all leaders, Tammy has firm boundaries.
So, as I watch their display of bonding in the corner of my bedroom, I know that Tammy has taught Toby well. Her nurturing has been perfect. When she, too, eventually leaves us, her job will have been well done. She's been the perfect guide to our sweet young 'Sweet Hooligan'.
Sending lots of love to all my friends around the world.
I know that many of us are thoroughly enjoying the Olympics and the amazing British hospitality. It's one of my prime excuses for my regular cyber-absence.
For now, the telly calls...
Oh yes, before I forget, I'd like to wish my beautiful daughter, Miss 'J'....
A very, very happy birthday!