The name they gave you at the shelter
was Mystique. It was a terrible name.
You were about as mystical as porridge:
droopy lips, spotty ears, white and speckled
like a cow. You were built like one too,
with your muscly body and tendency to
charge into people.
We called you Misty.
You didn’t like a few things, as we soon
found out. Sticks, lawnmowers, postmen,
rolled up newspapers and Rastafarians.
But some things you liked quite a lot...
Smoked fish, my stepfather Dean, digging holes, my mother Annie, food in general, my brother Marco, bones, me, our other dog Bruno, shoes...
You fit in well. Like a new sock you slipped into our lives effortlessly, bringing a cosy feeling to everything you barged your way into.
And you taught us a lot, in your own way. You smoothed our edges and made us softer.
Dean went from calling you ‘ugly pig’ to ‘beautiful sweetheart’ in the space of a fortnight. Mum soon gave up on any hopes of training you, like she had Bruno. We suspected it was because you were too smart to do as you were told...
Aside your kind nature and wide smile,that was the trait I loved the most.
You always did what you wanted, Misty.
You liked who you liked and disliked who you chose. And, boy, you could tell who deserved to be chased off the property (except that time with the meterman but, hey, even dogs can get it wrong)!
And you gave me one of the greatest gifts of all: your boisterous personality sparked the idea for my book ‘The Tale of Prince’.
In my story I called you Bennie, I moved your spot and gave you a voice. But it was always you I pictured.
I thought you were going to live well past a decade; that I’d have to face your loss when you were grey, achy and stiff.
But you died aged three, a few months after The Tale of Prince was released.
We all have a special memory with you. Dean’s was sneaking you treats and putting his arm around your shoulders, talking to you for hours, as if you understood every word. Mum’s was having you sit at the back of her chair and lean against her at breakfast time. Mine was pretending to sleep when you would climb up on the bed and I would find you with your head on the opposite pillow, gazing at me like you’d been doing so all night long.
I can still see your eyes in the dark, as brown and deep as forever.
I do not regret any of the life we shared.
I just wish the place where you are had visiting hours.
See you later, Misty Pisty,
We will always love you