Growing up we had three pets; Bibi, Gigi and Fibi. Bibi was a pure bread Yorki, we often groomed her fur and placed a bow in her hair as per the usual Yorkshire Terrier style. Fibi was a fluffy, lovable cat with brown, ginger, black, grey and with white socks. Gigi… Gigi was different. The previous owner claimed she was a pedigree Yorki, her appearance somewhat contradicting this statement. She had a curly tail, floppy dorito ears, curly hair and a personality of no other dog I have ever seen. She had no teeth, just flailing gums she used to ‘bite’ as she played. I can’t begin to recall the number of times I would come home to see my mother sat in her room, guarded by the silently waiting Gigi that lay on her bed. She would remain silent as I slowly pushed the door open, letting loose a howl equivalent to that of a raging Rotwilor as she flung her tail side to side, chomping her gums as she relentlessly chased me from one end of the bed to the other.
I remember the time we took the dogs out on a trip to Mt Sugarloaf in Wales. I was only 12 and resented long walks due to the pain it caused me from my back, so naturally I was accompanying against my will. We parked by the side of one of the many backroads that surrounded the mountain. We walked for an arduous twenty minutes before we reached what looked like an ordinary field with a slight incline. I recall turning to my mother and asking if I could wait in the car due to the paucity of panoramic views I had been promised to make it worth the trip, hiding the fact that I knew I would be subject to abject pain. “Wait until you get to the top” she said with certainty.
The field became an incline, the incline slowly became a single path that seemed only to get steeper as we walked. The oh-so familiar pain in my back began to set in, resulting in a rest-stop half way up the hill. My uncle gave me what he referred to as a ‘sugar lump’, a mass of pure energy hikers use to keep them going on long journeys. It may have been the sugar, possibly a placebo given his bold statement that I would be up the hill in no time; but from that moment I was determined to get to the top. My mother handed me the lead to Gigi’s collar, on long walks she would often stop and vacantly stare into the distance until prompted. On this occasion it seemed as though she could sense my determination, with her by my side we proceeded to walk.
An hour passed before we saw the stone obelisk that stands proud upon its summit. The path dipped down and traversed upwards. As I walked up the other side I saw it; the promised view of a lifetime, a panoramic 360 rotational spectacle that took what short breath I had away. A breath that was abruptly reimbursed by the promise of rest and the chance to appreciate the feeling of accomplishment I felt upon reaching the top.
There we stood, me and my misunderstood dog Gigi at the peak of a mountain. Her gums chomping away as I smiled upon the seemingly endless expanse of countryside. I recalled the time my Dr said I would never walk again, and the same words retold later by another. I thought how lucky I was, how determination and the will to keep going will reward you in life. I remembered my friends making fun of my little dog and how I snapped at them. People fear, make fun or avoid the unknown. I always had a soft spot for Gigi, an empathy fueled love for a dog that I cared for to the end.
Apologies for the lousy image quality, it was taken several years ago!
If anyone knows what breed she is/ mixed with, answers on a postcard please!!! … Or comment below