– This is not a Little pink typewriter business post, but my boy deserves a blog post. –
Today is the day I’ve been bracing myself for for months, possibly years… preparing to grieve… preparing to say goodbye to the most beautiful chocolate boy in the world. I’ve been trying to prematurely grieve, in the hope that it’ll ease the pain and I can ‘be ready’ to say goodbye.
Madra Bergman, aka The Little Guy in the Brown 70s Tracksuit… We’ve had more than 15 years together. What a beautiful, hilarious, loving, mischievous time we’ve had.
From picking you up from a farm in Yandina and taking you to Bardon to Greenslopes to East Brisbane to Norman Park (x2) to Cottesloe, and many adventures and roadtrips in between, you’ve certainly given Red Dog a run for his money in terms of distance travelled and abodes you’ve made your home. Admittedly, you didn’t hitch your way across Australia.
You’ve made two-legged and four-legged (and sometimes three-legged) friends everywhere you’ve been, including the people at the auction house in Chorlton Street, who didn’t mind you escaping for your daily visit – unless there was an auction on and I’d get ‘the phonecall’ to come and collect the friendly brown evaluator.
‘Escape artist’ was your nickname for a while because Paul and I would often get phonecalls that began with, “Hi, do you own a chocolate Labrador?” Oh dear… The six-foot fence we built at Macrossan Ave was even tested… And the only thing between you and a muddy creek at the back of our Chorlton Street house was, well, dense scrub and mangroves, but that didn’t stop you either… We’d often come home to a ‘choc-dipped chocolate guy’, who’d clearly had a ball. And reeked.
And of course, the bus you’d hop on every morning and afternoon for nine months without your momma knowing. The kids on the bus loved your visits and would save their morning teas and lunches for you – I was eventually told – while I’d come home full of guilt that I’d left you all day and you’d give me that ‘oh I’m so hungry, I’m starving, I haven’t eaten for days’ face – the one that Labs truly perfect. What a surprise it was to learn about your secret life nine months later. And that the kids had nicknamed you Milo because they couldn’t pronounce Madra but liked that you were chocolate. You’ve collected other nicknames, like Greg, because of our other dog, your niece, Darma.
And while we have spoiled you, you’ve often heard me say things like, “the dogs in Ethiopia don’t get pork crackling” when giving you a treat, so I’m sure you’ve appreciated the moral advice that accompanied any treats 😉
You made friends with Dukey, the Maltese furball, Omar, the kangaroo-dog, Boagsy (who, for a little guy, scared the bejaysus out of you and was the only dog who could make you back down!), Milo, the wonderdog, Barney at Possum Manor, Ruby, the bossy gal, Charley Grace, your host at The Inglewood Inn, and who can forget, Della, the gorgeous black Lab next door who was an assistance dog. Boy did she show you up in terms of manners and behaviour!!
But of course, you really were ‘a good boy’.
You came into my life when I needed you most, and you’ve left when I’ve known it’s time. My heart is aching, but I know you’ve had a beautiful and adventurous life, and today was your time.
Even though your niece and co-host of Villa de Muscat, Darma-Louisa, has progressively annoyed you as her energy levels have sustained, and yours slowly declined, she’ll miss you terribly, even though she doesn’t realise it yet.
It’s been fortunate that I’ve left full-time work and have been able to spend the last few months with you, and enjoy your winter days with you, especially as you’ve become a complete cuddle bunny for an old man. You used to be so cat-like and ‘wanted your space’; now your eyes follow me around the room as if to say ‘where are you going?’ when I get up for a few moments.
When I stroke your perfect triangular ears and pat your head with its funny pointy bit we’ve always been curious about, your tail goes into full-thump mode, so I know you’re happy – and are comforted. That’s all I’ve been able to do for you in these final days. You have been so strong for me, right until the end. And I am so glad you let me be by your side until the end.
I’ll miss our mornings together – that became a rule-breaking ritual over your last few months – you’d hobble in, rest your chin on the bed until Pauly lifted you up so you could lie with me while I had my coffee.
I’ll miss your beautiful chocolate coat, your perfect triangular ears, your eternal underestimation of your size, but most of all, I will miss your heart. You have loved us so much and truly been my best mate.
Goodbye, Madra. Moddy. Modda-boy. Boofy. Our mate. Go and chase all those possums in the sky.