She was a great old dog, a purebred Brittany.
We gave her an extra five years. I found her, almost accidentally, when thumbing through a week-old newspaper in early 2001. The ad said Brittany. 9 years old. Free to good home. My first Brittany - Monty - which I had had from a pup had died just weeks before. I rang the number. The dog had belonged to a recently deceased elderly gentleman and the family no longer wanted her. They had received no enquiries and she was about to go to the shelter.
So I guess we saved her. It felt right. It was like saying thank you to dogdom for the companionship Monty gave me for 14 years.
Around the same time we started fostering greyhounds. The people at the Greyhound Adoption Program liked placing younger males with us because Goldie would take no nonsense from them. She loved all the greyhounds and they loved her. She used to jump up to their ears and nip them playfully. Then we adopted Billy and the two of them became inseparable.
And now they're inseparable once again.
The next bit you wouldn't make up because it is too corny. But because I'm not making it up, here it is:
We have a timber key caddy inside the front door. The caddy has a picture of a greyhound printed on a round aluminium disk inset into the timber above the key hooks.
We arrived home from Goldie's last trip to the vet.
The greyhound picture had detached. It lay face down on the floor.