I have three dogs


Again, thanks for all the fish . . . I mean, thanks for all the ‘welcome back’s and ‘we’ve missed you!s’ and the ‘we’re so glad you’re all right’s.*  But the last one I’m afraid I need to take some issue with.  Define ‘all right’.

2017 was another shitty year.  I said shitty.

Peter died the end of 2015.

I spent most of 2016 falling apart.  That’s the bottom line about why the blog dwindled away as much as it did.  It was just too sodding difficult to keep the blog voice going, and there’s a limit to the amount of crying and throwing up in public that I’m willing to do.**

2017 had some other sucky issues*** and current ongoing dramas include that Peter’s will has still not yet proved/cleared/exploded in the faces of all the idiot bureaucrats who are endlessly holding up the show. 

But . . .

Let’s get this over with.

I have three dogs:  two hellhounds and a hellterror.  The hellhounds are litter brothers, Darkness and Chaos, seven-eighths whippet and one-eighth deerhound.  They look like slightly bigger, slightly sturdier whippets—they’re also entire—unneutered—which also contributes to their being a little bigger and heavier.  Darkness is steel grey, not quite black;  Chaos is fawn.  Pavlova, known as Pav, is a mini bull terrier.  She looks just like a bull terrier, which is not surprising because that’s what she is, but she’s a tri-colour and little, and so nobody recognises her.  Except as a force to be reckoned with.

I have three dogs.  One of them is a ghost.

Darkness died the end of last September.

And no, I’m not all right.  The hellhounds to a great extent got me through Peter’s last horrible months in the care home after the second stroke.  I took them with me any day that I wasn’t taking Peter out somewhere, and they developed quite a following among both staff and residents.%  And . . . five years ago we were a family of five.  Now we’re a family of three:  or three and two ghosts.  I was so not ready to lose anybody else so soon.

Darkness had cancer, but that’s not what killed him.  That’s part of what made it quite so awful.  He was diagnosed last winter:  an ‘ulcerating mast cell tumour’ which the vet said doesn’t usually metastasize, so what you see is probably what there is.  So after the vet more or less wrote him off I pulled all my homeopathic and alt-health books off the shelves and bolted together a Heath-Robinson contraption of a protocol. . . .

The thing is, the tumour shrank.  Darkness was still an old dog with cancer, but he was getting some of his strength and interest in life back.  Some of his twinkle.  Some of his sense of humour.  He had never lost his pleasure in lying in a many-legged heap on the sofa, so we did a lot of that.  We went for a country walk every day, not just boring town pavement, even if it was only fifteen minutes at an amble.  Just before the end he was up to half an hour, occasionally forty minutes, at an amble-plus.  A brisk amble.  And then, suddenly, he hit the wall and was dead in two days.  Renal failure.%%

Shock.  Shock.  Shock.  Grief.

I’ve been afraid Chaos would pine and follow him—they were inseparable for a little over eleven years, and Darkness was boss dog, although he wore it lightly.  But the vet says that usually only happens when the grieving dog doesn’t have a strong connection to the owner . . . which is not the case here.  I’m not sure who is attached to whose hip.  But I think Chaos is okay.  As okay as either of us is in the circumstances.  Of course every time he sighs or moves from one bed to another%%% I catch my breath.  Whereupon Pav rolls out and does cartwheels.

And yes, I still have friends and stuff to do with my life—including getting the blog shtick going again.$  I still have two hellbeasts to hurtle.  But I miss my Darkness.  And my Peter.

* * *

* I can seriously do without the on line pharmacies—there’s one that’s posting me about 1,000,000 times a day and doesn’t take being binned or spammed as a valid request to GO AWAY.  And I’m absolutely not interested in the beautiful Asian ladies with small feet [sic] or the double-penetration sex toys^.  ARRRRRRRGH.  Something else for poor Blogdad to sort out next week.

^ I’m not interested in single penetration sex toys either, just to be clear about this.

** For which you are grateful, whether you know it or not.

*** Including technological ones which is why I now have a Blogdad instead of a Blogmom.  Blogmom had been pointing out for some time in her best patient voice, a necessary attribute when dealing with me unfortunately, that the current state and structure of the blog was increasingly unsafe and unwieldy, and Changes Needed to Be Made which meant that I had to, ugh, make decisions, ugh, and eventually it became clear that it would be easier if the whole screaming enterprise was tied up in bedsheets and stabilised with heavy gardening twine and a few padlocks and hauled over here.  So much for the global neighbourhood internet thing.^  Migrating me across the Atlantic became a plan especially when it turned out that Raphael, our Computer Angel for twenty years^^, is DANGEROUSLY INSANE, I mean, was willing to take over my on line life.^^^

^ Which is so bogus.  In the first place . . . BLAH.  I have just deleted my rant on economic equality, ie the—global—lack of it+, and how internet providers only provide in areas where people are going to pay them for it.  So let’s just say that even in crassly well-off areas like here++ if someone lives on a tiny cul de sac with only four houses on it—plus the two corners, but they face the main road—BT can’t be frelling bothered updating the wiring, and while this town has SUPERFAST BROADBAND!!!!!!, we’re that tiny black hole in the map of the area.

+ Aggravated by reading TALKING TO MY DAUGHTER ABOUT THE ECONOMY, even if I have the chutzpah to doubt some of his premises LIKE I KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE ECONOMY.  Well, but . . .

++ I am proud to lower the level.  But I spend all the money my neighbours spend on Louis XIII de Remy Martin Black Pearl Grand Champagne Cognac and new cars on organic food, so it’s not like I don’t know I’m one of the lucky ones.#

# At least if I finally get a book+ done before my money runs out.  I try not to think about this.

+ And yes, it has occurred to me that I need to get some information up on the opening screen of the New Blog about the fact that I write books, for any passing stranger who stumbles onto it and thinks, Robin McKinley’s Blog?  And I should care why?  Yes, it should have occurred to me BEFORE.  Well, it didn’t.  I’m like this.

^^ Nearly.  His first job out of school was with the firm that was catering to Peter’s and my first essays into computer ownership.#  And when the firm split up, Peter and I may have been/may be clueless about computers but we weren’t/aren’t## stupid, and we went with Raphael.  The rest is history.

# AAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH.  I know, you could see that coming.

## You will have to get used to the idea that Peter is still a live presence in my life, even if his mortal remains are buried in the churchyard around the corner.  I’m not going to go on with the weren’t/aren’t.

^^^ There’s no accounting.  I assume—have been assuming for twenty years—that he thinks I’m fun to watch.  Shtick I can do.#  It’s technology that defeats me.

# ::waves::

% I was always going to take Pav in one day, and never quite did.^  I was a mess, and she was too volatile—not her fault—indeed as I’ve come to recognise, and knew even then, the whole manic bullie thing is laid on partly to cheer the locals up.  Chaos and I have cause to be grateful lately, although she also feels we need protecting in our weakened state, which means offering to ingest any and all other dogs that dare to cross our path.  Except other sighthounds, of course, who are invited home for tea and biscuits.

^ Peter left so soon.

%% Which if I’d been a vet I might have seen coming . . . ?  I knew about the muscle wastage, and how hard it was to keep any weight on him, but I thought that was old dog with cancer.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

%%% The kitchen floor of this tiny cottage is basically all dog bedding.  But this is where we spend all our time, at least in the winter, because that’s where the lovely warm Aga is.

$ I hope. And yes, I know, many many people have it much worse than I do.  And if any of them are reading this blog post . . . I am very very sorry, and I hope you climb out of it, and back into the sunlight again.

54 thoughts on “I have three dogs”

  1. I offer you what my various internet friends call “creepy internet hugs” and just want to say I’ve missed your blog. *waves from California*

  2. So very sorry you lost another member of your family. You are way overdue for some nice things to come your way!

  3. Oh, Darkness.

    Too much loss and always too soon. And of course they’re still there. (My father, officially Gone for 40 years, still shows up to share bad puns.)

    I have missed your voice-on-the-page (or screen, or whatever). Rereading all your books has helped, of course, but–I’m glad you’re back Here.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear that, it’s an awful thing to go through. Sending you sympathy and love. (And a belated it’s lovely to have you back, you’ve been missed!)

  5. So sorry about Darkness. He was secretly my favourite of your dogs.
    I’m glad you are back blogging.

  6. I am so sorry to hear about Darkness. But, like Peter, you do still have him with you. I’d wondered what had happened in your life in the past year, and I wish it hadn’t been so awful for you now that I know. So … *hugs*, and I hope you too can head back towards the sunlight as well.

  7. Robin, I love your writing, your stories and your wonderful brain and I am so so very sorry for your loss. (I would still be sorry even if I didn’t love all those things, but I needed to let you know!)

  8. My heart breaks for you – too much loss, too little time to recover. Which you will, someday. It probably took 2-3 years for me to find a new normal after our 21 yo daughter died. But it came. Finally. I still get grief ambushes, ut it’s better.

    Please keep plugging along.

  9. Robin, I am so very sorry about Darkness. Condolences and all the hugs you want/need.

  10. I’m so sorry to hear about your lovely and beloved Darkness. Jedi hugs, if you’d be willing to accept them from an internet stranger (though one whose been a fan of your writing for {mumble mumble} years).

  11. So very sorry for your loss. I too had a 2017 sucks year. My ex moved out a little over three years ago. But for over two years we had still been talking to each other mostly by email. Out of the blue in May she emailed me saying she wanted to reconcile. She moved back in with me only for me to discover that the car accident she had been in resulted in her having Brain damage OCD as well as brain damage early onset dementia. (She was a genius and could hide her symptoms from me very well) Needless to say I moved her back to where she had been living with my daughter as my daughter had all the safey net in place that would have taken me 2 years to arrange. She is now in full care. She doesn’t recognize anyone anymore and likely wont survive for more than a year. People say I should just move on but how can you do that when the person you’ve know for 38 years is there but not? She was my everything an I don’t think I’ll be able to lvoe anyone else.

  12. Oh, Robin. I’m so sorry. My sweet girl went into rapid decline this past August – she was 16 and it just happened so fast… There are no words. No words at all. It just hurts and it sucks and I wish they didn’t have to leave us.

  13. I am a new fan of yours…I’ve just read Pegasus and very much hope that the sequel/2nd half of the book will be available soon!! Best wishes, k wolf.

    PS My condolances for your loss…

  14. I’m so sorry for your shit.
    Usually bloodwork indicates renal failure in dogs. I don’t know how long before he went in to failure he had his last draw, but it doesn’t matter now. Now all I can do is give creepy internet hugs like the rest of the tribe.

  15. Thank you for sharing news of you and your hell hound family. I checked your blog a number of times- hoping for an update – a bit worried. It makes sense that posting regularly is an effort- and taking a break is healthy.
    I just have one big, yellow lab mix, and I can’t imagine losing him. It’s good that you have your other pups, Chaos and Pav, to help each other grieve. I hope 2018 will be a restorative year for you.

  16. Oh Darkness. I’m so sorry you’ve experienced the loss of more family so soon. Sending love your way!

  17. Nooooo. Not Darkness too.

    Hope you’ve been able to find some good mint dark chocolate to help you through the bad times.

  18. I’m so glad that you’re back! I was quite worried but thought, ‘she’s always said that blogging was difficult. It must have gotten too much. I hope that’s all it is.’

    I am saddened to hear about Darkness. I hope that 2018 is better.

  19. Robin, I’m so glad you’re back. I’m sorry to hear about Darkness. (bad words, don’t know if they’re allowed on here) to to the fate or fortune or whatever that took him.

    I hope the new blog means you’re healing a little bit, enough to write it again, anyway.

    Now let me see if I can get this to take.


  20. I’m so sorry to hear about Darkness 🙁 what a couple of years you’ve had. Sending you, Chaos & Pav all sorts of love. I don’t know if my other comment got deleted or will show up magically, but I’m super glad you’re back.

  21. I’m so sorry to hear about Darkness. There are no words.
    On another subject: Speaking as a computer tech – it may be that Raphael enjoys the logic problems you set him. I’ve got a few clients like that…

  22. So sorry to hear about Darkness, but am glad that you and Chaos and Pav are still with us. Virtual hugs.

  23. I don’t really have much to say; what can one say in the face of sorrow, really? But I will say this: you have been missed.

  24. Robin, what they all said . . . welcome back, we missed you. So sorry and saddened to learn that you’ve had all these trials. Hugs and prayers from across the pond.

  25. Oh, sending hugs.
    So very glad to have you back online and to read your thoughts. So very sorry for your losses.
    Spring is coming.

  26. So sorry about Darkness. I remember the picture of Darkness and Chaos the day you brought them home. So sweet.

  27. I’m so sorry – 2017 is officially terrible. We lost my last remaining grandparent and our dog within ten days of each other in August. It was pretty rough on my dad. Wishing you love and support and a tidy resolution to the will issues.

  28. Words are pretty cheap when it comes to loss like this, but please know that you are being prayed for–for peace and healing and joy and whatever other blessings heaven can conjure up for you right now. We’ve missed you, but I’m so glad you’ve been able to take this time away, and we’ll continue to pray for you whether the new blog sticks or not!

    Our souls weren’t designed for separation, and it hurts like hell because that’s what it is. So my prayer for you today is that you are surrounded by warm blankets, cold dog noses, steaming mugs, bright flowers, loving friends, and all kinds of snippets of heaven. All peace to you.

  29. Thank you for blogging again…we were getting worried – and not just selfishly because we’re wondering how Pegasus might end (okay, maybe a little selfishly). So brilliant to hear your voice.
    As my usual gift for hurting friends is to mail them a copy of one of your books (I recommend Chalice) – please know you are loved and generally worshiped by more people than you will ever know.

  30. It is so hard to loose a dog. ❤️

    Glad you are back online, I freaked out when I saw the missing page. And prayed every time I checked it.

  31. I’m also sorry for your losses. Another (hopefully not creepy) cyber-hug from a long time fan. (Yay for Pav and her protectiveness for her pack.)

  32. Robin, I am so sorry you lost one of the HellHounds. I always enjoyed reading about your attempts to take them out in an orderly fashion. Your diminished online presence was really missed. Wish that things would wrap up cleanly with Peter’s estate… and it’s absolutely awful that it’s dragging on so long. I hope that you’re managing okay- all the spring snowstorms on both sides of the Atlantic have been unnatural. I know it’s harder to get out and about with all that white stuff. Are you still doing your bell-ringing? I hope so, as that regularly got you out of the house and into company. Anyway. Give the two corporeal pups some skritches from me and much love to you and the other two, here in presence if not physicality.

  33. Robin, I hate that you’ve gone through all this. Oh, Darkness. We love you, Darkness. Many hugs from just outside D.C.

  34. I’m so glad you’re back Robin. I’m sorry your 2017 was a terrible year- it was for me as well, even if in different ways so I empathize.

    I lost my sweet cat, my best friend in the whole world, in August. He was 9 years old & had developed seizures due to a brain tumor. It was very hard to go through.

    Then 2 months later we lost one of our other cats, also due to a tumor but it was more sudden. We had had that cat for 11 years and it was the first cat my spouse and I had adopted. We still have two other wonderful kitties & a puppy we adopted after we lost the two cats & the house was feeling quite empty.

    It’s so hard not having family members like that around anymore. I think of my sweet boys every day & it’s rare that I can do so without crying. Eventually it will get easier but I miss them so much. I can understand what you are feeling.

    I hope 2018 is a much better year for you, filled with more joy than sorrow or hardship.

    Take care.

  35. I think the internets ate my previous reply so I hope this one works ok *blushes*
    I’m very veeeery glad you’re back 🙂 – that you’re still with us and blogging, even though the last few years have been absolutely horrendous (understatement! ) *loads of virtual hugs*
    I know you’re not ok, sooo not ok 🙁 I think the reason a lot of us wrote that was because after you went through so much before and then the blog vanished, we all got really worried about you even more. So just wanted you to know your fans and computer friends care about you <3
    There's nothing at all wrong about writing that Peter and Darkness are still with you. They will always be with you. I just wish in different circumstances . Give Pav and Chaos some virtual hugs from me. I'm glad that you all have a close connection.
    I've had a very sucky and horrid 2015- now too. I've lost my lovely Nan, lost a few fur babies and I wont even go there when it comes to Drs and health problems, so I can empathize. About time things started to get better for you but if you need to talk , shout , or whatever helps you get through this, we're all here for you *more virtual hugs of the non-creepy kind* XX

  36. I know words don’t do much to heal a heart, but I’m truly, truly sorry about Darkness. Last June I lost my sweet Arwen, my 14 year old siamese. She had been wasting away for months, and just slipped away one evening, curled up at my feet. Her sister/littermate, Eowyn, walked around lost for days, crying. And it’s been nearly a year, but I still see her out of the corner of my eye sometimes. I don’t think she’ll ever be really gone.

    Big ((hugs)) from someone who cares..

  37. Oh dear, I’m so sorry to hear about Darkness… and I was so very sad when I read about Peter on your previous blog. I’m glad they are still with you as ghosts.
    When I was little my dad would bring me back presents from his work trips. One of the first was Peter’s “City of Gold.” As an 8-year-old I didn’t understand any of it- the stories were strange and weird and mesmerizing and I read all of them. The book is still on my shelf, and when I heard of his death, i re-read it, marveling at his ability to create such strange, lyrical words.
    He is missed. Darkness is, too.

  38. I am sorry about Darkness and everything that went into 2017 being such a sucktacular year. My beautiful boy (a.k.a. the Prince of Darkness) left us last year after 18.5 years of love, hairballs, and cattitude. Welcome back to blogging – you have been very much missed. Blessings and light!

  39. So glad you are back. So sorry to hear about Darkness. I’ve been checking the blog a few times a week and was worried when it changed from being frozen to being absent.

  40. I’m so sorry to hear about Darkness passing, and also so glad you’re back online. I was worried the shitty years had taken you down too.

  41. I’m a long-time reader who still re-reads Spindle’s End in dark moments. I lost both my cats in the same month last summer, thyroid issues and intestinal cancer. I’m still not over it. Life is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. You don’t owe us anything, but I’m so glad to hear your voice again. And I’m glad you were able to take the time you needed.

  42. I was gutted to read about Darkness. I know I’ve had to hide all the pictures of the four dogs I’ve lost; I can just about bring myself to look at the first two, gone these twenty years or so. It’s not fair. I wish at least some things could be fair.

    That being said, I’m beyond happy to be seeing “Robin McKinley’s Blog via Email” in my inbox again. As Amy said above, you owe us nothing – but we’re delighted you choose to share your thoughts* (*with footnotes) with us. I missed you; I worried about you; I’m thrilled you’re back. Your work means the world to me, which means you mean the world to me. Be well.

  43. I am so sorry to hear about Darkness. Like many others on here, I am wishing you a much better year and virtual (I hope not creepy) hugs.

  44. Mixed feelings; I’m so glad to see you back (I’ve been checking about every month to every other month or so, hoping…), as I’ve missed having your blog around to read. At the same time I’m also so, so sorry to hear about Darkness. I’ve lost beloved critters before, and…. it is so incredibly hard. Sending you whatever might make things a tiny bit lighter – hugs if you want, lovely organic food, the exact idea you need for the things you’re writing at the moment, the perfect bell-ringing session, a lovely long visit from Hannah…. Take care.

  45. Oh dear Robin! I am thoroughly enjoying that I am getting to get caught up on your new blog, but I am so sad to hear about Darkness. I just lost my own beloved “short furry person” (she never thought she was a dog! the family joke is that to her mind, there were tall not-so-furry people, and short furry people, and that’s the only difference…) a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t imagine it on top of your loss of Peter. Prayers for comfort for you.

  46. Oh Robin. I know the pain of losing one of the critter kids. I lost my Kaya Dakota, 80% wolf, 20% Malamute, 100% stubborn loving monster, 9 years ago in January. She’s never far from my mind and always in my heart. She sometimes visits, usually when my Brat Cat Trouble is living up to his name on one of my VERY cranky joint days(he will perk up and then scrunch down like he’s getting a lecture) so don’t doubt that your Darkness is still around.

  47. I just found that you’re back! Oh, I missed you – well, your blog, but in that odd internet way I say that it’s you even though I know that I just know your carefully edited blog self …. Oh, anyway, I missed it all terribly and I was thrilled when I typed in the url and it went somewhere. I’ve been so very sad since I typed in the url that one day and it told me the web site no longer existed.

    I figured that the years had just been ever so much worse than you’d said, and what you’d said was bad enough, and all I could do was send hopeful thoughts your way.

    So I was so happy to see it back. Then I started reading.

    I am so sorry for you; so sorry for Chaos and Pav. It’s the ones left behind who hurt. I’ve been there. And all I can do is send you more hopeful thoughts. But there they are. ((hugs)), along with everyone else.

    Thank you for bringing the blog back.

  48. I’m so sorry about Darkness. Over the past couple of years, I have often thought about you and the dogs and hoped your lives were going a little better. I’m just catching up on your new blog today, so even though this is late, I offer my condolences.

  49. Finding you are back made my day. That said I am crying over the loss of Darkness. I am so sorry to learn pf your loss, but those words seem so inadequate.

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