Taco had Cushing’s disease and he had a tumour but he was a game little dog and you’d really not have known anything was wrong with him. When he stayed at Pension Milou, he’d play like a puppy, flirt with the lady dogs and roll on his back with the simple joy of life. He always told me what he wanted with a very definite bark. Every day, at 4 p.m. for instance, he had a raw carrot and perish the thought that I might forget. If I did, I soon got to know about it – woof woof.Taco was Xavier and Sheila’s first dog, although Sheila had had childhood dogs. When Taco died they were devastated. For Xavier, Taco was the dog of his life and he’d never have another one. Sheila thought – perhaps, one day?
As often happens when our dogs leave us, we eventually start to make surreptitious little enquiries. In January, Sheila started browsing the Internet looking for Welsh terrier breeders - a rarity in France. One day she found an advertisement for Welsh terrier puppies in the Pyrenees. The pups’ photographs were displayed and of course, they were adorable. Xavier, though, wasn’t interested but he did take a look. Suddenly he said, ‘Look, these puppies were born the day Taco died.’
Gucci & Peggy, the pug, at Pension MilouNo further mention was made of the pups and soon Sheila and Xavier went off to Ireland on holiday. When they got back, Xavier said to Sheila,’ Well, when are we ordering the puppy then?’ At first, Sheila didn’t know what he was talking about. ‘What puppy?’ she asked. ‘The puppy that was born on the day Taco died.’
So, the decision was made. Taco was re-incarnated! They would get a puppy. Taco would come home. Sheila called the breeder and found there were two boys available. They booked one and when the puppies were old enough, off they went on the long journey from their home almost on the Italian border to the Pyrénées, way over on the Spanish side of southern France.Once there, they booked into a hotel for the night and then drove to the farm to see the puppies. They’d make their choice that evening and then pick up their new puppy next morning.
All the puppies were in pens. There were Welsh Terriers, Airedales and Jack Russell terriers. He let out the two available Welsh terrier puppies and their mother, a beautiful gentle creature with a superb temperament. The pups though came out of the pen like bats out of hell. One instantly came running to Sheila – jumped on her lap and starting licking her face. The other puppy was more aloof.After spending time with them, Xavier and Sheila made their choice. They chose the puppy they considered to have the better head and foreface – he had the look they were after and he was a stronger puppy than his brother - the one who’d jumped on Sheila’s lap and given her little kisses.
Back at the hotel after a nice dinner, doubts set in. Had they chosen the right puppy? Surely the puppy who’d licked Sheila’s face was Taco saying, ‘I’m back, I’m back – choose me!’ She didn’t sleep all night.
Next morning, they collected their puppy, who’d been bathed and was ready for the long journey. Now called Gucci, it was not an easy trip for him, as he threw up endlessly on the 69 kilometres of windy roads, until they got to the motorway.Eventually, they got home and Sheila, who’d been worrying if they’d made the right choice, if perhaps it was Taco who’d licked her the night before, decided to test Gucci. You’ll remember that Taco adored raw carrots and had one every day at 4 p.m. She took a carrot out of the vegetable rack and handed it to Gucci. Sheila says puppies don’t normally like raw carrots. Personally I don’t know, as I don’t recall ever giving a carrot to a puppy.
And what happened? Gucci ate it immediately.Taco/Gucci was home.