Run after run I sometimes bound, but much more often plod, up the mountain, excited to see the new flowers, to photograph them and share them with the world. My constant companions have been the dogs: Jemima Chew, the pavement special who specialises in hunting; Maebh, the charming, goofy, wildly athletic and very photogenic wolfhound who runs like the wind. And Seamus who has won so many hearts with his gentle demeanour, huge size and quiet insistence that there simply isn’t enough love in the world for an Irish Wolfhound, but it is incumbent upon us to try.
Under a huge blue gum tree in the garden, close to the house with a view over the mountains, there is a levelled area, covered in stone collected off the land. Seamus is at rest there now. He left us on Sunday morning, suddenly and with typical dignity. We knew his heart was weakening, but he had spent his morning as enthusiastic as always, delighted to have us both at home, barking at our guests and waving them goodbye. Before quietly slipping away to the eternal peace he deserves.
All dog lovers have special dogs, the unforgettable ones. Seamus was like a person. Dogs are not supposed to have a sense of humour, but Seamus undoubtedly did. He very nearly spoke English, we were never in any doubt about what he wanted; his needs were simple. Food, a farm to explore, an endless supply of love and a comfortable sofa where he could play at being a lapdog.
And running together on the farm in search of the fynbos for this blog. The runs slowed to calmer strolls in the last year as his heart grew weaker. Over the years Seamus and I covered every inch of the farm in the search for flowers. He had a favourite spot where he would stand and look at the view every morning. I went there this morning and photographed it in this winter dawn, our favourite time of year. The morning was damp and cool for running and the winter flowers proliferate on the mountain. Seamus we were so very lucky to have you with us for nine years, one month and one week. Your spirit will run free on this place and you live forever in our hearts.