There is this one in the extended family, and she’s getting a bit old now. Her name is Unke.
Her face is a wonderful crumple of soft white fur and black patches. Her eyes run in brown streams down her face as if she were crying, but she’s not, because she’s just too, well, boxerish. She smiles with her pink mouth, her tongue hanging out and when she lies on her side you can see her black spotted gums in all their wet gelatinous glory.
Unke makes me wish I could paint her in oils; even better if I could capture the expression on some people’s faces when she presents her beautiful slobberchops for a slop-filled kiss.
The photo of Unke was taken a few years ago. Sally, the greyhound, is now sadly no longer with us. She was cremated in the garden last year, in a stack of tyres to ensure enough heat for a proper immolation. My own deceased dog was also cremated, but not in a DIY affair. I paid money to have him back in a wooden casket. The new model has been known to cock his leg on the casket from time to time. I suppose that’s as it should be.