Sorosh: Hungarian Viszla

We set off on the walk, me holding the lead of Sorosh, our Hungarian Vizsla dog, Dee with Mati, his lifetime mate. The pair of them are coming up fifteen; ancient in doggie years. He is white-eyed blind and profoundly deaf, she is deaf and inclined to an incontinence that, we think, embarrasses her more than it does us. Both of them have lost much of their wire hard strength of back and legs but this is only about him, old Sorosh; and therefore about us. About Mati I will write another time.
As we walk up our drive he does not pull on the lead but still you can see and can feel his eagerness. He is living through his most prized - his last surviving - asset which is his nose. What stories he can read through scent in the roadside vegetation! Stories concerning the size, sex and power of those fellow dogs who have passed this way and of the tracks of enemy cats; of the wild animal maker of that tunnel in the grass through the wire fence, a creature unknowable to me but not to Sorosh. Tales of the seasonal stirrings within the earth itself. He can read then all.
Walking down the road and along the fields, the rocky beach, in his head he is young. He is casting about in the woodlands and the sunlit meadows, off the lead and free for miles and miles and miles though all times bound, by things obscure, to Dee and me.
I remember how it was when he used to stop, rock still rigid, a most beautiful statue pointing the way to something in hiding nearby. I can see the look of intense regret, of a puzzlement on his handsome face as, with a great clattering of wings a cock pheasant springs from a bush into laboured flight. He probably never understood why I let the bird get away for in his genes is bred his function and I have not played my part with the gun, have I?
But for him there are never any regrets. He loves the world of this walk and he loves his food, and Mati, and us. For him the aches and pains are a bearably small price to pay for all the living years.
He knows, I know, that wherever he is to go, we will be with him. And that everything is all right. It is as it should be.

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