When we first met you you were sprightly and jumpy and full of a cheeky, playful energy, that just couldn’t be stilled. We descended on your home like a noisy, chittering storm of crickets, and you just smiled and smiled. You took it in your stride as we took over your couch and your floor with our bums and our beds, and still you just grinned and wagged your strange little curled tail.
You were named after The Stanley Cup, a trophy based on a gentleman’s agreement between the two professional ice hockey organisations, and you personified that spirit: a regal gent, a pug among pugs.
Remember your Henry the VIII costume, with the turkey leg? We do.
We would stumble home after an evening of refreshments, and you’d be up waiting for us, twerking that tail for all you were worth. You’d sit with us as we sang and laughed into the small hours, making fun of your grin and your snuffling snores.
Eventually giggles would make way to groans, and we would fall into slumber, and that’s when you would come alive, taking every.single.toy out of your basket, placing them carefully in piles, and then back to the basket again, and then again, your clickety-clack toenails marking out the placement pattern for hours on end. We wanted to be cross with you, and make a fuss over our lost sleep, but you were too funny to grump at.
You had a way of bringing out a sweeter side in people, Stanley.
When we next met you, your muzzle had gone grey and some of your fur had been loved off, but you captured Liam and Coco’s hearts in a beat. With your tongue hanging out and your failing eyesight, they wanted to cuddle and love you to bits. They wiped your nose and scratched your belly, and you taught them what it is like to love a pet.
When we left, they waved to you as we reversed down the drive, and they said they’d be back in the summer to see you do a “Stanley Float” in the pool.
They won’t get to do that now.
Today when I told them about the peaceful end of your days, they stared at me with big eyes, two brown, two blue, but both with the same shocked pupils, not wanting to believe me, waiting for the punchline.
Unfortunately there was only a punch in the belly.
I saw Liam swallow and then swallow again, then he popped on his helmet and scootered up and down the path for a while, preferring to be in his own thoughts.
Coco’s eyes grew as wide as finger-bowls, then the tears started dripping and dripping as she let her emotions fall onto the pavers at her feet, forming a tiny rivulet between the weeds.
I was surprised at the emotion, but not of the depth.
You had a way with people Stanley. You opened them up and made careful etches on their hearts, Lord Stanley III.
Thanks for all the laughs, and for the joy and softening you brought to people I love.
You’ll be missed S.Gup.
…From The Ashers