As those of you who have lost a beloved pet well know, their absence creates a sad void in one's life. After Pompey died Boy and I missed him terribly. We still do.
Reggie, being the pragmatist that he is, decided that the best thing for us to do would be to get a new pug puppy and to embark on a new chapter in our dog-owning lives. I missed having a pug around the house, and it was in my power to do something about it. So I did.
But it didn't turn out exactly how I thought it would.
About a week after we put Pompey down I telephoned his breeder to place our names on a list for a puppy in an upcoming litter, hoping that they might have one sometime this fall. The breeder I called, Don Ayrton of Cado Pugs, is one of the most respected pug breeders in America and is well known for producing handsome and well-formed pugs, many of which have become champions on the show circuit. We've kept in touch with Don and his wife Carol over the years, and there was no question in our minds that if we were to get another pug it would come from them.
|Don Ayrton of Cado Pugs|
When I called and spoke with Don I learned that they did not have any litters on the way, but they did have a fourteen-month-old fellow who was available. They had kept him to show, but had not been able to do so because only one of his testicles had dropped. In order to show a dog, Dear Reader, it must be what is known as "intact," meaning complete with all its bells and whistles. So to speak.
The Ayrtons thus found themselves with a very handsome pug that was no longer a puppy (and therefore not easy to place) and unshowable. Unless someone was willing to take him as a young dog, he would likely spend the rest of his days as a kennel dog with the Ayrtons. A very well-cared-for kennel dog, that is, living happily among a dozen or more other pugs in a house in rural Connecticut, which is where the Ayrtons live.
After much discussion amongst ourselves and with friends, Boy and I decided to adopt the little fellow and give him a home. One week later we drove over to the Ayrtons and picked him up. We've now owned him for over a month. Although it all seemed a bit rushed to us (it had only been three weeks since Pompey died), the timing was optimal because we were leaving shortly for a two-week vacation on Nantucket that would be the perfect opportunity to bond with our new little guy. And that's what we've been doing ever since.
|Boy and Basil greet for the first time|
We renamed him Basil (he was known by a different name by the Ayrtons), and he seemed almost instantly to know his new name. He is distantly related to Pompey, whose father is Basil's great-great-grandfather. Coincidentally Basil and Pompey share the same birthday of May 12th.
Basil is a darling little fellow, Dear Reader, and is very well mannered and easy going. We are all still adapting to each other, and I am happy and relieved to report that it is going swimmingly. I have to give the little guy a lot of credit for making such a radical (and for him entirely unexpected) transition in his life with what appears to be a considerable amount of grace and aplomb.
Well done, Basil!
Next: How Basil got his name, and—more important—how to pronounce it correctly
Photographs by Boy Fenwick and Reggie Darling