“It’s the anniversary of the day we brought Daisy home today,” my daughter tells me as we’re driving out to take the dogs for a walk.
A lot has happened in those four years but I can’t imagine having been through any of it without her.
I’ve often thought that Daisy’s sight problems are a reincarnation of Toby, my last dog, a collie cross rescue who had a fondness for chasing postman and taking off home on his own, and a chance to make amends for the ways in which I wasn’t as good as I could have been at dealing with his trying behaviour.
I can remember telling Daisy, as a puppy, that even if she ended up completely blind I’d never love her any less.
She seemed uninterested.
At the time I think it was a way of comforting my own sorrowful self but, as years passed, it has probably proven to be one of the most truthful statements I’ve ever made.
My phone is full of pictures of the dog who is by my side almost 24/7. It really is a hopeless love affair.
As with any sort of life-affirming love, it is not the specific experiences that come to mind when I think about her impact but more the way that her arrival tilted my life on its axis in a way that was at first hard to come to terms with and then comforting beyond measure.
We are off to see Derren Brown, the first time I’ve been to a show since 2019.
He has asked audience members to bring something of sentimental value with a story behind it.
I think about taking Daisy, but my daughter points out that it needs to be something small enough to hold in your hand.
I settle on a plectrum. One of only two remaining from a batch of 21 given to me by my friend Charles on my 21st birthday.
That night my mother had offered to host a little buffet for me and my friends. I wanted to go to the pub but she was keen and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
While everyone was around at mine eating vol-au-vents and poached salmon a car drove straight through the wall of the bar we’d all have been in had we not been at home.
I’m telling my daughter the story of my precious lucky plectrum and about how there have been many things in my life that feel like pivots, some big and dramatic, some small and cumulative but all, in their own way, life-changing.
The next day when we’re walking I say to my daughter,
“When I got in last night Daisy hardly wagged her tail even though I haven’t left her alone for about a year.”
“She probably finds you a bit much,” my daughter replies, and then,
“Here, this is for you.” She presents me with a big tub of soft ice cream with a plastic spoon sticking out of it.
“What’s this for?”
“It’s because you wanted one on your birthday but we couldn’t get one, so I bought you one now.”