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It's your thougts that count with a faithful friend

My morning routine in New Zealand always used to be the same. Jessie, my beautiful black and tan huntaway, barked to say that she’d heard me moving inside the house. She’d been waiting for a sign of movement and now she was ready for her walk. I grabbed her lead, and we were away - for her walk and my bike ride. Jessie’s preference was to stop and sniff every smell. So I let her off the lead as soon as we reached the Pauatahanui Inlet Pathway entrance, and she meandered along, stopping all the way. She had an especially good sniff at the bottom, but then it was exercise time. I put her on the lead and we set off. She learned to be exceptionally careful not to knock me off my bike and she trotted just behind my left heel as I rode fairly slowly – because she was, after all, 15 and a half years-old.

She was also very patient with me chatting away to her, and was especially so in the lead up to my departure for holidays in France. She put up with me talking to her in French and was particularly appreciative when I got some of the French words right!

When we got home, she would settle herself outside my office ranch slider and as soon as I went in there to work, she looked in enquiringly to ask when I'd be coming out into the garden. When I opened the door and gave her a comforting pat on the head, she soon realized that it wouldn’t be right away so she'd give a big sigh and lay down with her back against my door so that she could feel its movement the moment I opened it.

Leaving Jessie behind for five months in 2008 was hard, particularly because of her age, but she was with some very good friends whom she loved, and who understood about the needs of a farm dog.

But one day I got an email to say that Jessie had died.

Never again would I touch that soft, lustrous coat, feel her weight as she leaned against my legs to get as close as she possibly could, feel her breath as she sniffed my face, or hear her answer when I talked to her.

But it’s my thoughts that count. I can still talk to her because I know that her spirit is with me wherever I go. I can take her with me on my walks around the beautiful city of Montpellier in France and every other place I visit every day. She’d be proud that she helped my French with her encouraging woofs. And when I'm back in New Zealand, she’s there in spirit too, and when I'm in the house, I can imagine that she's settling down outside my office door until I go out into the garden to be with her and cuddle up with her on the deck or imagine her lying down on the dandelion I’m just about to pull up!

Many friends will remember Jessie. Faithful friends like her live for ever in our hearts.

It's your thoughts that count - with a faithful friend

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