Tod comes back from the morning walk in town for the bread, looking drawn. I ask him how he is and he says "Fine" and I know it's not true.
I hoovered "her" sofa in the lounge this morning and took off the covers to wash them. This was where she slept when her back legs weren't too arthriticky. Front paws up first, then a big stretch as she brought her back right leg up, the left wobbling on the floor as it took the strain. The covers were full of her hairs, the soft grey ones that Airedales shed if they are not being regularly stripped back to the hard, smooth coat of black saddle and rich tan to fawn legs, belly and face. She had a small white curly patch on her chest. Not all Airedales do.
Sitting on the recliner on the veranda, having a tea break from clearing the brambles, I thought I heard her step coming out of the kitchen - slow soft padding, as if she had all the time in the world.
She had a panting grin that she would use as she greeted friends or asked for a titbit and an imperious single bark to say "Let me in". Sometimes, she would stand in the rain the other side of the wooden door at the end of the veranda (there to protect us from the north wind), waiting to be "let in" never having quite sussed that she could just walk round.
We did our favourite walk this evening - the hills lovely in the late afternoon sun. Everything is now so green.
Just the three of us - Smudge, Tod and I. It was hard without her.