So I had wanted a child, to be a mother, I’d be a make and do mother, a baking mother, a singing mother, an honest and open mother, a firm but gentle mother a batty and embarrassing mother and the best mother I could be. I left it almost too late but it was still possible until cancer came and danced all over that dream. So I put it to bed and got on with the task at hand, staying alive! I live alone and love it, I love the peace the quiet but I also love sharing my charming cosy home with positive, funny, interesting, and lovely people. Cancer has made me spontaneous, I take off on some adventure or other at the drop of a hat, infuriating friends with last minute offers, I take a figarie and I’m gone.

I am determined to fit as much joy into my life as possible to counteract the hell that often comes with this dirty disease.

Ironically I have more children in my life now than ever, they seem to be drawn  to this  slightly nutty, childlike woman who has a house full of books and too much stuff, who  wears odd socks, leaves her Christmas decorations up till March, bakes ginger cookies and is full of stories . I can play because I am free.

But maybe a pet would be nice, to experience the person I would be if I had to be responsible for something other than myself. A cute little dog, to take for walks on the beach, a friend, a buddy, not one of those yappy handbag yolks, a solid little girl like myself, a rescue dog .But what if I was working or had more hospital appointments or I got really sick or worse. (no, none of that negative thinking I’ll be around for a long time yet). I’m a softie I’d never be able to leave her alone all day. What about two little middle-aged ones, they could keep each other company and wouldn’t need too much exercise. But dogs are needy they demand a lot of attention, what about a cat, cats are nice. I’ve just read about the healing benefits of the vibrations of a cat purring on your lap, and they are fascinating to watch and far less needy than a dog. That’s settled then I’ll get a cat once I’ve recovered from surgery.

But it seems fate had other plans, and on arriving home on the dark, wet evening of the 17th of December there he was. This drenched, manky, matted creature, circling my house terrified. After unpacking the car I sat on the hall floor with the door wide open, he came closer whimpered in frustration and ran off, I followed and he moved further away cowering in the green across the road. This game of cat and mouse went on for about three quarters of an hour, finally I crept up to him and he didn’t run away, the brave little fella with the sad sweet face came forward and cowered at my feet with his eyes closed, not knowing if I would strike or stroke him.

That was it, I was a goner, hook line and sinker, smitten by this stinking springer.

With no microchip and having obviously been treated badly it appeared he was mine for the taking, but I’m an independent self-confessed commitment phobe, and my god was this dog needy, like a toddler, I couldn’t move but I’d fall over him. Its fate my friends said, he found you, he was sent, it was meant to be, look at how he looks at you, god damn it! Milo it is, he stayed and after a bit he settled down and is an absolute pet, a star. Fully house trained, loves the car, good on his lead, funny and clever, a little bit nervous still but has the loveliest temperament.

He seems to cast a spell on everyone who meets him, and when my family come to visit the focus isn’t on me or cancer or my looming surgery,It’s on this scruffy little fella who walked into my life and made everything better.

I still sometimes wonder if I’m up for it, can I handle having my wings clipped, will I settle into this comfortable small existence and never leave him, and then he will surprise me by doing something unexpected, by giving me the paw out of the blue, snatching a biscuit out of the tin when my back is turned or marching upstairs when I turn off the light cos he knows our bedtime routine so well. Then I find myself saying, I love you dog, out loud.

 As I wait for surgery I have embraced the quite lull of winter and our daily routine. Milo greets me lazily where he sleeps on his shearling bed outside my door on the landing, after breakfast he puts his paw on my arm and looks at me mournfully and I know he wants his walk, 3 miles daily, better than any gym, I love it. He knows the drill, sees me put on my ski pants and spins around in excitement, sticks his head in my face when I’m trying to tie my laces, and then he waits patiently as chemo has fried my brain and it takes me an age to leave cos I’ve lost something or other. We are both wrecked by the time we get home and usually enjoy the luxury of a little afternoon nap. We spend the evening chilling and someone might pop in to say hello to my new fella and January isn’t so bleak or dreary after all. I’m more than happy to take it easy and enjoy these dog days.


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