Dogs are such ties

Having the idea to walk away is one thing; actually walking away is another "What about the dog for God sake?"

That is a good question.

love dogs and have lived all my life with them. Honey, Penny, Tess,
Pip, Fynn and Noggin have acted as hairy punctuation marks, defining
episodes both happy and sad. Noggin more so than any I have had before.
A little Lakeland Terrier, I took Noggin to work most days and she was
a great joy to have in the work environment.

Noggin is
a real sweet little thing, whose character is only marred by her
instinct to fight and or kill anything that moves. Rabbits, chickens
and rats have all been mortally wounded by this otherwise cute scruffy
little brown dog.

Well, laying in the bath on
Christmas Eve reflecting on misspent opportunity and a soul destroyed
future, I had not considered little Noggin. What to do with Noggin?

had not really thought about that question at all! In between Christmas
Eve (Thurs) and the Sunday, I had started to tell folk about my broad
plan. Getting out, going off and doing stuff…but nothing about what
happens to lives that depend on me. Maybe that is a clue why everything
went so wrong? Broad strokes fine! Detail – s**t!

it came to the detail of how I was to untangle myself from this life of
things and stuff, I had not really applied myself yet and this included
my responsibilities to Noggin.

Anyway there was time
to think about that after I got back from my sisters in the 'badlands
of the north' – or Scotland as it is also known. Early in the morning
in a slight sleet, Noggin and I set off North.

was a nightmare! A journey that normally takes nine hours, took 12,
through rain, sleet and snow. What was just above freezing down south
had turned into a constant -5°C! But it was all worth it.

I arrived long after the bed time of the average six year old, my
little nephew was awoken. With his eyes still shut and with a floppy
torso a coat was slipped over is pyjamas and wellington boots were
tugged on by his mum.

As is the family tradition,
out in the street twigs and sticks were placed in the shape of arrows
(to guide Santa) whilst 'magic' glitter was sprinkled across the top of
them. Little boy still asleep, he turned around and trudged back into
the house and went back to bed. The whole operation was conducted in

Suffice to say Santa found his way and as a result '2nd Christmas' was a success with all satisfied.

Brother in laws cooking was incredible again and I put on half a stone during the seven days I was there.

was the day after 2nd Christmas Day that a sporadic collection of the
neighbours six children started to pop in and play with the nephew and
Noggin. They're great kids and excellent fun to be with, for my nephew
it’s like have a readymade bunch of cousins or siblings on the
doorstep, both households living in each other’s pockets and sharing
stories, songs and jokes.

I popped next door to have a
chat with the parents (they having travelled and were good inspiring
examples of what happens when people go abroad) a couple of times and
as well as being made welcome with G&T, was entertained with
lively conversation and photo albums of time spent in far off lands

neighbours raised the conversation of the dog. Whether this was
contrived by my sister I do not know. In any event and without any
predetermined agenda, it turned out that they were investigating
getting a dog and were interested in providing a long fixed-term
placement for Noggin.

I consulted via text with my
lost love who confirmed that she was not allowed to take custody of

So the god's had decided Noggin was to stay in Scotland (at
least for 15 months).

The dog had kept me sane over
the last few months. When everything was at its worst and I was in a
dark place, having to look after Noggin, having to feed her and having
to take her out, kept me alive. But if I was no longer tied to my dog,
then I was not tied to anything anymore.

Even less reason to stay where I am.

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