The Jack Russell named Beavis who is one of the most popular characters in Dyke Duffy and the Dog Days of Killarmon was indeed an actual dog. Her funny little personality was pretty much as I wrote it, although I think I could have written a whole separate book to do her justice. The first time I saw her she looked like a big white rat with a pug nose and a stubby tail, she was so smallórunning through the house with her large pack of siblings. She would fit in the palm of a manís hand but already had enough character packed into those few ounces for several Irish Wolfhounds. She and I had a great time together, although it was a miracle that I didnít drop her off a cliff those first few months, because she chewed. She chewed everythingócarpets, shower curtains, shoes, bras, disposable razors, butter tubs, pens, pillows, photosóthere was nothing that was not to her taste. She was just so full of energy and loved to be with people so much that when she was left on her own she didnít know what to do with herself. Except chew something. But she was such a wonderful little friend otherwise that I had to overlook this one, admittedly rather major, shortcoming.
She was spoiled, letís not mince words. She slept in the bed, and quite often on the pillow next to me. Unable to break her of sneaking in once I had gone to sleep, I gave up and settled for frequent bathing and her own special pillowcase. Hell, Iíve slept with worse over the years. She loved to go for walks, about on the same level that I would love to spend a week alone on a desert island with a gorgeous 25 year old boy who hadnít seen a woman in a year. The weather meant nothing to heróshe loved her walk just as much if it was pissing down rain and blowing a gale as she did when the weather was fine and warm. I, naturally, did have a preference. She loved to have a ball thrown for her, but couldnít quite grasp that the object was supposed to be for her to bring it back to you; she would simply run after it and then worry it a bit with her snout before trotting away and waiting for you to throw it again. Okay, so a rocket scientist she wasnít.
She loved to lie on the sofa with me and sleep while I watched the telly, only she didnít care too much for comedies since my laughing only disturbed her rest. Maybe I should say that most often I would lie on the sofa and she would lie on me.
She would take on any large, slathering, sharp-fanged monster of a dog without a secondís hesitation, but was completely terrified of garbage bins. One of her favorite activities was to sit in the window, wait for people passing on the footpath outside to get right up to her, and then burst out barking like a lunatic. Iím amazed no one ever had a coronary.
She was the most loyal and affectionate little pet Iíve ever had, and when I had to leave her behind in Ireland I was heartbroken. I felt that I was repaying her years of loyalty and unconditional love by abandoning her. Luckily, she was so happy living with my friends and their little girls that I donít think she gave a toss. They kept me updated and sent me photos of a happy, healthy little dog, and my guilty feelings passed. She was having a fine life without me.
Sadly, in February this year she made her way out of the yard and lost an altercation with a motorcycle. The vet tried very hard to save her, but she got weaker and weaker and they all made the very difficult decision to send her off to Doggie Heaven. Everyone was devastated, myself included. We all blamed ourselves for a while, but then eventually realized that these things happen and little dogs canít live forever as much as we would like them to. Beavis had a grand life, much better than most little white dogs, and weíre all happy to have had her in our lives for the time that we did. They buried her along one of her favorite walks, and I hope that when my time comes she and I will be able to stroll along together once again. Maybe weíll be on a desert island with one of those horny 25 year old boys, with plenty of chew toys to spare.
And in Killarmon, she gets to live foreverÖ
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