Herbie is still here, still wanting food and walks, and still with the energy to be naughty. On Saturday, my sister had spent much of the morning planting up tubs and re-arranging her flower-beds. We went in for a cup of coffee, leaving the door open for the dogs, but Holly came in to observe us for signs of biscuits. Ten minutes later Herbie trotted up, very pleased with himself, and proceeded to kill a toy owl for a while.
I went to shut the door - and discovered he'd undone a morning's work. My sister looks on her plants as precious babies, so this was a bit of a blow. "What was he thinking?" she asked. (Umm... "Remove phlox? Check. Take bulbs out of tubs? Check. Spread potting compost across the drive? Check. Ha, my work here is done." Something like that.) It was a difficult moment, because while I commiserated with my sister, secretly I was happy he still felt like getting up to mischief.
When we went to see the oncologist, back at the begining of January, and he told me that there was no point in continuing with treatment that wasn't working, Herbie was sniffing through his waste-bin and then scouting along the work surfaces - the vet's had a row of what looked like kitchen units, and to Herbie that means food. The vet looked at Herbie and said, "You know, I get dogs in here that can barely stand, barely lift their heads." I think he meant, he's not ready to go yet. Herbie now is getting lumpier and lumpier, but he still acts like a normal dog in so many ways.
This is all a roundabout way of saying, I don't want to go back to work, but I have to. I haven't worked in over a year now, and the financial pressures have increased to a point where I have to. I've accepted a job in York, and will start soon, though the date is still to be agreed. Part of me feels that to go back is to invite instant doom upon Herbie, and that somehow he has only survived so long because I've been at home. At the same time, I can see how arrogant and irrational that sounds - he might do a whole lot better if he can kip in peace all day. I just don't know, but I do know it's time to do something about my finances. One day, I will be able to work from home, and never have this dilemma again, but this year, I need to take action. Despite all the stress and angst, it's been a great year being At Home With Herbie, and I hate to leave him with only a lunchtime walk from my father. (Good job my father doesn't read blogs!)