It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Nero is dead. No not the Roman emperor, he died in 68 AD. I mean Nero one of our Labradors. Regular readers of this blog will know that we have (had) two Labradors who regularly featured in posts as they mauraded around the garden destroying my gardening efforts. Both dogs are old; but we still think of them as puppies, Nero was 10 whilst Tango is 12. Both suffered multiple ailments, Tango is blind and Nero suffered from bad arthritis, a dodgy liver and terminal stupidity.
This is what happened. We knew Nero was ill and the Vet warned us it was probably terminal. We asked if he would survive long enough for our idiot son to see him before he died. Both he and Nero were very close in intelligence and behaviour. But unfortunately it was not to be Nero died in my arms at 1.15am on Sunday morning and the idiot son arrived at 10.30 am. The idiot son and I dug his grave in our wild wood and he was laid to rest with all due ceremony. Cruella (my wife) at first wanted to reanimate Nero as she euphemistically called raising him from the dead, but eventually agreed to just sing “Dido’s Lament”. I read the epic poem “Beth Gelert” and the idiot son performed an expressive hip hop mime he had specially composed based on unrequited bereavement.
My reading of Beth Gelert was no accident, as the saddest thing is that Nero was infamous for digging up the lawn, causing me great fury and many hours patching it up. It turns out that Nero was innocent all along, just like Gelert. Since his demise digging activity has taken place and it appears that Nero was framed by squirrels and blackbirds who were the culprits all along. Because of this terrible injustice Cruella has insisted that I walk barefoot to Thomas á Becket’s shrine in Canterbury to make penance.
In memory of Nero I have included some photos below, but just so you know what he was like here are some of his greatest hits:
- He ate a whole giant poisonous Toad and nearly died
- He ate a blanket (yes a blanket) and Cruella had to pull it whole out of his bottom
- He careered through flower beds and destroyed thousands of plants
- He snapped his leg ligaments whilst running on the beach and I had to carry him half a mile to the car whist he was soaking wet and covered in sand; he weighed 45 kilos
- He could swim whilst at the same time holding three tennis balls in his mouth
- If you got in the way of Nero and a tennis ball whilst in the pool he would claw his way over you to get to it
- He won best in show at our local dog show as a puppy by just sitting like a sack of depressed coal
- He dug up the lawn on numerous occasions (offence now rescinded)
The first photo below shows Nero resting by a newly dug hole in the lawn, whilst the second shows Cruella trying to protect him from what has now turned out to be my unjustified wrath. Click on each photo for a larger view.
The photo below show a young brave and ambitious Nero being taught to swim by his big brother Tango.
And finally his grave in the Wild Wood. Normal garden blogging will resume when I am back from my penitential pilgrimage to Canterbury.
My final apology for wronging Nero will reach out beyond the grave. May the regret of Llewelyn at the death of Gelert serve him as a suitable epitaph.
Vain, vain was all Llewellyn’s woe;
” Best of thy kind, adieu!
The frantic deed which laid thee low.
This heart shall ever rue!”