He was ill fated from the start. Poor little fluffy bundle of joy, we’ve never had much luck with male dogs. Dougal the dogs untimely death needs to be noted somewhere. So here is my wee tribute to him.
He was of Scottish descent, naturally, but born as it happens in Wales. I remember driving miles out of London, to a non-descript service station in god-knows-where to fetch him. We’d left all our pets behind in South Africa, the only one we still have contact with, a large Siamese being systematically overfed, by my grandmother (who systematically overfeeds most everyone and thing).
Nevertheless, our house had been free of animal noises and fur and the general furious taps of paws on floorboards for many months. Having settled into this fine land known as England, with only terrestrial television, and these new fangled umbrella things to keep us amused we’d become acquainted with some strange customs. Countdown, Call My Bluff, a strange lady with buoyant flame red hair called Cilla Black who sought to fix the hapless love lives of countless women named Claire, or Clur on Blind Date and most importantly a small horde of Irish priests on Craggy Island in Father Ted. This is how Dougal, the Scottish terrier came to be. Part Welsh, part Scottish and now part Irish.
He spent his life terrorising squirrels along with his feline friends Tigger and Wallace. They taught him everything he needed to survive, most of which was relevant only in the cat world. He developed an uncanny ability to teeter on the back of sofas and armchairs, he enjoyed brushing up against your legs, and walking under them time and time again should you dare to rest your feet on the coffee table. He only failed on two counts, never quite mastering the meow or learning to play it cool at the sound of his rattling leash or the mention of walkies.
He devoted his life to being excitable and infinitely huggable. No visitor ever went ungreeted and no session on the saxophone unaccompanied. From being strangely feline to acutely human, he certainly was a splendid friend.
He was last spotted in a better place, with a grey squirrel firmly clapped between his smiling jaws.