Before I left Ireland a little over a year ago to care for my dying mother, my friend, Sally Crofton of Longford House, was very worried about two of her dogs: Mrs. Pooh, the little short haired brown and white dog in the photo, and Sam, or Sammie, the long haired black and white border collie sheep dog. Mrs. Pooh was tipping over a lot and Sammie was always exhausted. Both dogs needed bladder transplants. Finally, both dogs stopped eating and Sally knew the drill. It was time. She called me here in Wisconsin and cried and cried. I am a bit worried about Sally. She often teared up about a cat she could not afford to transport back to England from South Africa that her sister put down without giving Sally a chance to raise the funds to get the cat back to the UK. To listen to the story, it seemed like the event had been recent. Not so. It had been 25 years.
They were delightful dogs. Mrs. Pooh fell in love with a man (human-not dog) from Poland who did not speak English. He was doing some landscaping and refurbishing the ancient smoke house on the property. Everyday, Mrs. Pooh would leap over a garden wall (she first had to climb up on a pile of rocks to get to the top) and run to the smoke house to spend the whole day with her love. He would walk her home at night because she slept at the foot of Sally's bed--a habit even true love could not change. Sammie slept on the bed too and the two dogs would jockey for the most comfortable spot. Pooh usually won because she was much faster than Sammie.
I have finally begun to work regularly on my book about Sydney Owenson, a contemporary of Jane Austen and the author of The Wild Irish Girl. She lived at Longford House as a governess to a long ago generation of Crofton children.
Brenna Briggs is the author of the Liffey Rivers Irish Dancer mysteries