I had a new experience yesterday. I went to the vet. No, I wasn't ailing and no, I haven't acquired an animal. I was meeting Mrs Heathbank who had been held up by a scarcity of vets and was lurking in the car park with her canine companions awaiting their turn. Because it was a mild, pleasant afternoon, other animals and their people were doing the same thing, and the car park was quite busy. Apparently an ailment called kennel cough is rampant in Dunoon and vaccinations were the order of the day for the Heathbank Kennel Club, whose members include one Hamish, yet another small spaniel.
However, this jolly family outing was put into perspective by the presence of another friend of mine whose 15-year-old dog was at the vet for the last time. If you know me at all, you'll know that dogs are not my thing, but I found it difficult to be detached as I stood with this quiet, dignified collie waiting to be called. When he left, my friend couldn't bear to go and her partner took the dog away. There was no fuss, and we went on talking. I was aware of trying to keep it light and mildly distracting - and then the partner returned carrying the lead. And that was that.
I hope I was of some use. But I wonder if everyone who gets a puppy or a kitten thinks on that day of the other end of the animal's life - because any pet-owner stands a good chance of outliving their pet and having to deal with their end. And many will have to make the decision when that end will be. I suppose they think it's worth it.
This post, by the way, is dedicated to Charlie, who thinks I write too much about church. Tomorrow I feel a post coming on about grammar ...