I know I’ve boshed on about a song from Evan Dando’s solo album Baby I’m Bored before. But here’s the thing. My dog died yesterday*. She was just a puppy when I got this record and she was the most beautiful dog in the world. Mrs ForTheDeaf and I loved her everyday. We gave her two silly boys for brothers and we doted on BiddyBaxter for her whole life. And she rewarded us with leadership over the other pups, with a calm demeanor and with a grace and poise she only ever broke for sausages.
She has left a hole in out hearts but the cancer in her liver was making everything a chore and she couldn’t sleep easy anymore.
Anyway… When she was but a puppy we’d go on long hikes at the weekends up hills and across The Ridgeway which runs the length of England’s midlands. I’d have my Gen 2 iPod buds in my ears and a stick and I’d listen to Baby I’m Bored and Big Star and Turin Brakes over and over again while Mrs ForTheDeaf was off at the yard with her ponies. We lived a countrified life back then. For the first time in my life I drove a 4 x 4 and we always seemed to have hay in our pockets.
Of course any hindsight over a decade tends to filter out the rain and you only recall the sunny days and blue skies.
“Just look for sunshine ’til it burns in full time, ’til I’m filled with hatred for the time I’ve wasted, I’m so impatient for a new sensation”
Thing was, this life was all new to me. I was a city boy. I was a punk rocker. Weekends were for basement bars. So were week nights and bank holidays were all ages shows that went on all day.
I met a country girl who introduced me to fresh air and I got to do the thing I’d wanted the most since I was a little kid. Not be in a band. Not tend bar. Not be a graphic designer. I got to have a dog. Biddy Baxter was the first dog I ever picked up and took home to be mine. Well, she was Mrs ForTheDeaf’s, but I was there. And she liked to clean my feet when I got out of my boots.
“All my life I thought I needed all the things I didn’t need at all”
So She left us yesterday. And I’m sat in the house we chose so the dogs had some grass while the steps weren’t too steep for her, with Clarence and Horace her baby brothers. I’m looking at her photos listening to Evan Dando and I’m thankful. I didn’t want to be a rock and roller as much as I just wanted a dog.
Good girl Bee.
*SteveForTheDeaf is written months and months in advance for… reasons. So Biddy is long gone by the time you see this. It’s a sort of coping mechanism. Let it be.