Tesco in Ballymena have a charity book stall that raises funds for diabetes and, when I'm in there, I usually have a rummage through it. I'm afraid that it does not show Tesco customers in a very good light as the books available are pretty poor. Too much Cecilia Ahern and Dan Brown and not enough Good Stuff. However, I struck lucky the other day and picked up a copy of Louis de Bernieres' Red Dog which is something I've always wanted to read. So much so that I already have a copy, somewhere, some place. It might take me a week to find it for long gone are the days when I categorised my books by genre and the novels by author. Far easier to plop 50 pence in the collecting tin and start reading immediately.
When I got back Bert spotted it straight away.
What's that about?
It's about a dog. Set in Australia.
Does it have a happy ending?
Unlikely. When does a book about dogs ever have a happy ending?
Five minutes later I find him reading the book. The last few pages. One of Bert's strangest habits is that he reads the ending of a novel before the beginning.
Well? Happy ending?
Nope! It's at the vet. Got poisoned with strychnine and is being euthanised as I read.
Thanks for the details. Not!
And that's the true thing about dogs - they die far too soon. To love a dog is to store up a future sorrow. I've written about this before.
Right now I have friends whose senior dogs are giving them a lot of worry. We're thinking about Frank and Tycho and hoping that they'll both be around for a few years more.