A tribute to Rigby

Everyone thinks they have the bestest good boy in the whole wide world. Dogs are so friendly and loveable and affectionate and generous that it’s very easy to think your hound is extra special. The truth is that all dogs are extra special – it’s just that some are more special than others.

I know, I’m as bias as any dog owner, but I reckon my very own Rigby is the greatest dog in the history of great dogs. I think think this more than you might expect, but I was reminded of it over the weekend.

A friend of mine in Perth has been umming and ahhing over getting a dog. I’ve been urging him to make the commitment and get one, and it didn’t take much. He’s been looking at dogs over the last few weeks and sending options and asking for feedback, and so on. Over the weekend he sent me a pic of a very happy looking Kelpie cross that’d caught his eye. He wanted my opinion, starting with, she’s no Rigby, but…

Rigby is the standard. He’s crazy, but he’s smart too. He’s always been handsome, but with a lively, winning personality, which is what I love most about him. He really has a distinct character which is by turns quirky, affectionate, inquisitive, excited, insistent and entertaining. I swear he has a sense of humour, and he’s very human sometimes – which is how he sees himself, I’m sure.

We are in fact a bit like an old married couple, we know each other so well, our rituals and routines and funny little eccentricities. One of the plusses out of this lockdown is that I’ve been able to spend more quality time with him. You feel some responsibility as a dog owner to provide your mutt with the best possible life. I’m sorry occasionally that I haven’t given him a family to play with, but he seems content and happy.

Typically, he’ll be curled up on the mat behind me as I work. Every half hour or so he’ll get up and come to me, the clatter of his wagging tail under the desk as he nuzzles at my hand for attention, or rests his head on my knee. As always, he’ll follow me from room to room whenever I get up. And, like all dogs, he knows when it’s time to be fed or for his afternoon walk, and he’ll remind me gently, but insistently.

The truth is, like many dogs, he is much loved, and it makes a big difference. He knows no different but to be spoilt and fawned over. My mate from Perth has long thought Rigby is the greatest dog, and even Cheeseboy over the weekend commented on what a great companion he’s been.

It’s funny how familiar we are with each other. We only have to glance at each other occasionally to understand what’s next. Like a lot of dogs, he’s a creature of habit. As I lie in bed, he’ll curl up in the lee of my body as I read, or else lay against my body with his head resting on my hip. In the morning he’ll cross from ‘his’ side of the bed to mine, as if on the clock, and I’ll make room for him. And as I finish my morning coffee, he’ll leap from the bed to lick out the cup – he loves a latte.

I guess I want to pay tribute to him. I often wish he could speak. If he were a human being, I’d pretty well think he’s the greatest.

For me, throughout, he’s been a great comfort and occasional solace. I would never have survived without him. There were times I felt as if he was all I had in the world, but that was a wonderful thing.

He’s getting on now, but still very strong and healthy and full of personality. He tugs on me like a sleigh dog when we go for our walk. I’m hoping come the new year that I might move into a larger home with a garden he can roam in. I’m also thinking about getting another dog, a puppy for me, but also Rigby. I expect he might get a bit jealous of the attention a new puppy would get, but I also think he’ll share his love and protective nature. I think it might be a good thing for all.

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