Yesterday we laid Tundra to rest in the woodland. Tundra, a name denoting an earth soil where tree growth is hindered, from Russian meaning uplands, treeless mountain tract, was laid to rest amongst English Hornbean and Oak.
I’d first met Tundra through Kali, naturally. He fell in love with her, although didn’t tell me, and slipped off one day when she was on heat, giving me a shock and fear of the worst, until I found the two of them about a mile away and across a couple of roads, sitting outside Tino’s cabin at the Holton Pits, looking as pleased as punch. She was undoubtedly a beautiful dog, a Malamute, a large wolf like dog, with stunning face features, a dark double arch accentuating the eyes. She took Kali’s virginity, conceived and had 5 pups. So I also met Tino, who moved on from there but came back into my life just as I’d bought an ugly bungalow in some land. He came as a strong gardener and cleared the land of bramble, lighting bonfires, Tundra never far away. Undoubtedly he helped me come to like the doubtful land. And later Tino came to live on that cleared land, Tundra joining our happy band of brothers and sisters, Jo MJ and I, with our three dogs, Ghobi, Jao, and Kali.
She’d slowed up by then, and had a knack of lounging just where you were coming or going from, in doorways or along paths. However, she did move with surprising agility and a bouncy trot when food was offered. She loved eggs and had a keen nose to find them, like when I left a dozen on a table. We’re pretty sure it was Tundra who got the backward chicken, whose feathers we found where she liked to lay under a bush; we found the bird semi buried near the bonfire. But later she’d got in the chicken pen and did not challenge the remaining four.
She’d had a good end of life, as it turned out. Loved by a happy Tino, cared, stroked and cuddled and sometimes fed eggs by our happy band, on a safe piece of land.
Tino carried her body on his shoulders from Ali’s car to the Hornbeam area. I shall not forget that image: Strong Tino carrying his beloved, passing Paul and Graham working on the wood cabin, who stopped and watched as he came by, out from the dappled light into the sun. Tino laid her in the earth pit, that he had dug helped by MJ, Jo and Ali, difficult to dig for dryness and tree root. Her beautiful hairy body looked perfecting fitting in the earth hole. Jao, Tundra’s friend, laid down her dog long body, her head and nose into the grave smelling the earth covering body, as if tryng to make animal sense.
I remembered how Tundra loved coming to the wood, swimming in the ponds, and amid the sadness of missing, I felt a kind of happiness that Tino wanted her to be laid here.