THE ADVOCATE 535
VOL. 78 PART 4 JULY 2020
A DOG’S LIFE
By Allan Hope, Q.C.*
He and Priscilla made a pact. Priscilla was his dog. He was not
sure how old she was, but he knew she was on her last legs.
He was 84 and also on his last legs. Both had been diagnosed
with cancer. His was terminal. The doctors hadn’t been able
to tell him how long, but they did say “not long”. That squared with his level
of pain and increasing weariness. The drugs were having less effect all the
time. Priscilla’s cancer was also in its advanced stages, and the vets said she
could go anytime. In fact, they recommended that she be put down because
of her high level of pain and the increasing ineffectiveness of her medication.
He hadn’t been able to do that; he loved her too much.
When he was trying to remember how old she was, he also remembered
that it was his wife, Jane, who got her. Priscilla was a Border Collie, and
when Jane brought her home, she looked like a small ball of black and white
yarn. He wanted to call her “Woolly”, but Jane said, “Her name is Priscilla.”
She said it in a tone familiar to him that eliminated further debate.
It turned out that Jane had a favourite dog, a Border Collie also named
Priscilla, when she was a really little girl. It was a family dog, and it died of
old age when Jane was five. He could have asked Jane how old Priscilla was,
but Jane had developed heart disease and died three years ago. He was with
her when she died, and so was Priscilla. Although it hurt his ego, he
believed that Priscilla gave Jane more comfort than he did in those last
moments. Jane’s death was kind, if that can be said about any death, but not
for survivors. God knows he had missed her every hour of every day since.
For Priscilla, it had been worse.
He gave up the sheep, pigs and chickens on their small farm after Jane
died. They were her thing. It wasn’t as if they needed money. They were
more than comfortable and, anyway, Jane never made a dime off them. She
collected eggs from the chickens and wool from the sheep, but no bird or
animal was ever butchered or sold. Any creature that died did so of old age.
When Jane died, he gave all the animals and birds to a young farm family
* Allan Hope, Q.C., was a renowned lawyer who recently passed away. A summary of his life can be found on page 581
of this issue. It was a little-known fact that Allan was also a short story writer.