This beauty is our latest (canine) visitor. I imagine she was named for Lara Croft, since probably no one in her circles at the time would have thought of Dr Zhivago, but in fact she is much more beautiful than Angelina Jolie or even than Julie Christie.
Lara is eleven, though you wouldn't know it. She spent the first year of her life hungry and abused before being rescued by her former owner, the brother-in-law of Tom's brother-in-law P, ( hope that's not too complicated). She then spent some ten years loved and busy in their family, first with growing-up children and plenty of coming and going, and then later as a companion to P's sister during her final illness, with a short but terribly sad period of loneliness and anxiety at the end of this. The husband then being obliged to continue working abroad, and nobody else in a position to have her, P and D, Tom's sister, felt they had to step in and took her on just five months ago.
It is clearly a match made in heaven; D said they took her on initially out of love for the sister, but very quickly knew they were keeping her out of love for Lara herself. D in particular had been hankering for a dog for some time, but, having both been in the wars themselves with health problems and other worries of one kind and another, they're determined to make the most of their time for themselves, cutting loose for three months or so each winter and travelling around France and Spain in their camper van, not minding the out-of-season quiet, reading, knitting, moseying and resting, researching and finding the next simple but comfortable pitch, so they worried that a dog would be a tie and a responsibility. Lara being all chipped, vaccinated and passported, though, they bravely set out this year with her on board, calling in here on the way back as usual, and so we could sort out the final vet's appointment for their return.
They've done very well, I think. D said that this time away she hadn't missed her grandchildren at all now she'd got Lara, which as far as we're concerned is very much a step in the right direction. Lara herself hadn't been used to travelling much in her former life, and is rather excitable about it. She's enjoyed sniffing her way around Spain and France, but still suffers from a certain amount of separation anxiety,
|Where is he? He shouldn't be out there without me...|
lying for a while with her head on his lap before hopping down to be closer to her folks. Yet this was only at his invitation, she's clearly a dog who prefers to have and understand boundaries and doesn't take liberties, who will lie calm but attentive under the table for hours, will sometimes take a tidbit courteously but isn't at all greedy, who pulls a bit on the lead but off it will rarely stray far, except when another dog comes into view.
Her sight and hearing are good, her hips only slightly arthritic; her vet is very positive about her condition for her age, (as was our Emmy), and her hopes for a good few years to come. With his encouragement - contrary to the proverb it's never too late for a fit and active old dog to be taught - they're going to take her to some training classes, so she can learn better how to walk nicely and be with other dogs and they can learn how they can best help her to adjust and get along. We wish them all many more happy years together.
Tom's sister, typically tender-hearted and worried about giving pain, was concerned that we might find it distressing having her around after losing Mol, but once they saw how much we enjoyed her company, there was the same kind of teasing as we had from G and A about how we were clearly yearning for another dog. However, as we pointed out on both occasions, it would be very difficult if we'd had our own dog, especially one like Mol, to welcome such lovely canine visitors so easily, so it's one of those things we will enjoy and take advantage of while our current dogless state lasts.