Writing this week has come to a halt, not for want of inspiration, but because life (and death) intervened. The health of one of our beloved dogs had deteriorated rapidly over the last two or three weeks, and while we’ve known for a few months now that the chances of her seeing another summer were diminishing, we weren’t quite prepared to say goodbye so quickly. She made more trips to the vet in her last two weeks of life than in the entire previous year as we tried a number of tests and medication to fix what was ailing her. It didn’t dawn on us until earlier this week that we’d been giving her palliative care, and that nothing was going to cure her from dying. The vet, of course, knew but had to let us come to that realization ourselves. Although she turned 13 last November, her breed could be expected to live a few years longer, as evidenced by her older brother, who is turning 15 in April and even though he’s deaf as a post and mostly blind, is still in good health. But our little girl has had some health issues in the past, including major surgery for cancer, so it wasn’t exactly unexpected that she would not live for a full span of years. However, logic has nothing to do with emotions. On Wednesday, Mrs Thomson came home for lunch and found that our girl, who’d been barking and bouncing at breakfast, was struggling to breathe. Her body, after a brief burst of morning energy, was shutting down and doing so very quickly. The end had come. I was in a business meeting when I got a text from my wife. Even before I pulled my phone out of my pocket to check, I knew that it wasn’t going to be good news. All she wrote was: “At the vet. Saying goodbye.” That’s when I realized how deeply one courageous little dog had touched my heart. By the time the meeting was over, a second text told me she was gone. I haven’t much felt like writing since then. We try not to be too sentimental about our dogs, but they are an integral part of our lives, even when they’re exasperating, as terriers can often be. It comes with the strong character. We’ve not opted to keep her ashes in a tiny urn or encumber ourselves with any other such memorials. Our pint-sized dog’s spirit is gone wherever good dogs go when their time with us is over, and that is that. But last night, I decided that I might remember her valiant little heart in some other fashion, so don’t be surprised if a small dog gets a line or two in one of my novels. That’s about the closest thing to immortality I can give a creature that gave us so much love. Rest in peace, little one. I’m sure Dunmoore and crew aren’t objecting to the hiatus, even if I left them hanging at the very moment they’re attacking.