I can barely write it or think it, though I have lived without her for almost a year, but Tara is gone - she died the day I completed her application form to come to Australia, convinced finally that after a summer of ill health she was now fit to travel and join us at last. From being fit and stable she suddenly became unwell, took herself off outside and died the next day. My heart, my head and my eyes cry for her but I have to tell myself that perhaps this was her way of saying the trip was not to be and lets face it, she was often known to win the argument and for getting her own way.
My sister who lovingly took her into her home, for the past year, to minimise quarantine time in Australia, gave her the best time. After the inactivity of India - too hot, too crowded sometimes to walk, she was taken on 5 kilometre hikes, lost 4 kilos and was reborn. She ruled the roost and as always in her dealings, went into a household of other dogs and established her position without rancour or dispute. She was simply Tara and my adored, beloved dog who for 11 years gave me her all in every way from her morning greeting to her evening departure to bed. She was a french demoiselle from Chambery and came to us as a puppy of three months and from the very first we could not love her enough or have her love us back more. She swam in every stream in Switzerland, including every muddy puddle, cowered when she met cows and was one of the beloved dogs of the friday walkers. She had holidays in Cyprus often travelling on more expensive tickets then we did and when we didn't take her she lived with Madame Scherrer in Nyon who took her up to her mountain chalet, in Gstaad, with a couple of other precious pooches, feasting on plums from her garden and of course raspberries from ours. She handled India with the tolerance of a spoilt maharani and chased after the little chipmunks once in Lodhi Gardens before she gave up on them forever. She was loved on Triveni by one and all and the whole of the sikh community of the gurdwara nearby knew only her by name and often invited us into their homes so they could give her a biscuit or pet her unusual for India blonde soft coat. If truth be told this turned a little grey due to Delhi dust but it was heartening to see her lovely sandy colour reappear in Cyprus. She is probably the only Labrador in India to have knocked off the burliest of Sikhs on his motorbike.He picked himself up off the road, dusted himself off and said nothing.
She was the only girl in a litter of boys, I needed a girl for balance in the family, and she was chosen so the boys could grow up with a dog, a luxury that neither I nor my husband experienced. She was a chick puller, a conversationalist, a complete coward. She introduced me to so many unknown people who would stop to talk to me and her, she was universally admired for her good looks and her wonderful eyelashes and at the end of it as the boys grew up and moved away to schools and universities from the boys' dog she became my Tara and daily we would embark, with only each other for company on wonderful walks of exploration, introspection and relaxation. My life will be so much the poorer for no longer having her by my side.