I'm not an animal or pet person and rarely have I succumbed to the charms of friend's companion animals although there was the period about thirty years ago when my parents were befriended for several years by their neighbour's dog D and I found him to be lovable. Otherwise I am neutral and unemotional in the presence of these highly loved creatures.
It is probably best that way if my only instance of pet 'ownership' is any guide. It was around 1979 and I had been working in Hong Kong for more than two years. One of my colleagues and his family were returning to Australia on completion of their posting and in a moment of supreme optimism they bequeathed their pet budgerigar - oddly named 'Butch' - to my care. B lasted a full two days when I discovered the poor thing rigid with rigormortis in it's cage. I imagined it died of heartache having lost it's loving family of previous years but I fear it sensed my total absence of animal sensitivity and thought it would be best out of this world.
That brings me to these three dogs.
Poor T has developed a growth near her mouth and a very emotional Ae told me her fears that T has cancer. Everyone knows that T is nearing the end, not the least Ae herself as she bought P - the Golden Retriever standing next to T - to be T's successor last July. In fact Ae took me with her to choose P; one of two remaining available from a litter of eight. Ae is extremely fragile about T nearing her end, behaviour hard-hearted me finds a little over the top but I keep those thoughts to myself.
The other Golden Retriever in the photo - the one standing in the background - is K. P and K are sisters (is that what you call females from the same litter?) and in a situation of humans imitating their animals K is owned by Hn who just happens to be Ae's sister (but they are not from the same human litter). K and P are aged about eighteen months and their personalities are as different as...well...as chalk and cheese. K is the Duracell bunny endlessly jumping all over things, especially me, and generally outwrecking Whelan - a reference there for Andrew). P, on the other hand, is more restrained and less of a handful although lively enough. Oddly the two sister owners are similarly different...but in reverse.
In a further twist, eighteen months' old sisters K and P are related to fifteen years' old T through some doggy family tree that defies my capacity for explanation.
One day fairly soon...maybe too soon...T will bid us farewell. Ae's tears will be flowing.