Tisbury my friend. Also known as Mr licious, Mr T, Monsieur, ‘tis.
He made his own choices in life. He was headstrong and decisive. He loved cheese, especially Parmesan. He was also partial to parsley sauce. He had a sense of humour and would often on a walk when I called him pop up out of a completely different place to where I expected him. He loved to play. Sticks. Chasing. He loved it when we ran together. He smelt.
He had an air of justified self importance, stopping suddenly mid stride to smell a lamp post. Or something. Anything actually. Often lagging far behind on a walk because the smells needed to be sorted. Wee on and rolled in. Quite indignant if I tried to pull him away by his lead. He would give me a ‘look’ – he was good at ‘looks’ you could be told off and feel like shit with a single look from him. Never in any doubt about his thoughts on any particular matter.
He hated feet anywhere near him. Especially when lying down. He loved to sit with his chin on something and observing life around. A favourite spot was Rich’s gunnel on a cushion in the cratch.
He loved to travel on the roof of daisy and in the winter he would be swathed in blankets and even hot water bottles if it was really cold. He grew to love a hot shower. He loved to roll in freshly mowed grass. He rolled a lot for the joy of rolling … his coat was so thick. He also rolled in smells too. Notably fox poo and wee and once, horrifically, in liquid cow shit. It took three showers to get rid of the smell.
In the summer he loved a swim. Felt hard done by if he didn’t get a swim every day in fact. We loved to go to the Thames as that has some of his favourite swimming spots and mine too. I loved swimming with him when the weather was hot. We sometimes had to go to quite extreme lengths to find suitable water for him to swim in.
He was always quietly there on board. Except when there was something of interest outside when then there would be an explosion of barking and histrionics to get off as soon as possible. And he would hop on 4 legs, grunting and snorting at full speed into the darkness. He always had a sense of theatre about him. It almost seemed sometimes if he was doing things just to make us laugh.
He loved to sit with his nose outside on my bed.
Sometimes he was capable of a peculiar intense obsession with things. Notably Rocky the tortoise who reduced him to a quivering wreck. And Cleo the cat who actually had a thing about winding Tisbury up by stalking him when we were in the vicinity. His fault. Chasing a feisty cat is never going to end well. And I just don’t need to even go there when it comes to Barry the rabbit.
He would click his jaw at me. I would click mine back. That meant ‘play’ with me. Or a kind of high pitch harrumph. Meant hurry up! Or a growl – meant anything from go away to I am frustrated about something. A very low quiet growl meant only for my ears was to tell me to stop stroking him in a particular place or moving his limbs or whatever it was I was doing. Normally trying to get comfortable with him lying just where my legs wanted to go in bed.
He was game for anything. Admittedly dubious the day I put him on a paddle board but absolutely up for it. He loved a car ride. And he enjoyed travelling in a bicycle basket. He loved a market. He was never phased by large crowds – even in Brick Lane or Columbia Road. The worst was perhaps Chinese New Year in soho. I had to carry him most of the day – a mistake to take him perhaps this time but he didn’t like to be left behind. Sometimes it was unavoidable. And I would get one of his looks.
He trusted me. Often it was hard to get off the boat and I had to carry him. We had some precarious times over the years. I never ever dropped him. He never stopped trusting me.
He was my friend. He loved what I loved. Including Rich. We made our family over the last three years. All three of us constantly looking out for each other. Rich and I constantly discussing what Tisbury might like to do or eat. Where to walk him , what to feed him. Who he had seen out of his friends recently. We used to say we were really only here to serve him. We existed to serve Tisbury.
He had lots and lots of friends up and down the tow path (Diero, Jasper, Daffy, Quinn, Millie, Stanley, Millie, Coco, Sid, Pickle, Boots, Wallace, Tigger, Boris, Daphne, Artie, Frankie to name a few) and beyond. I could tell him we were going to see one of them and he would cock his ears and understand exactly who from the name. He understood everything we said. He particularly enjoyed initiating a wild goose chase at high speed with his friends. He would pretend, with convincing intensity, that something highly exciting was happening in the middle distance and would run full speed ahead with the friend rushing to race him and trying to figure out what all the fuss was about. He was rarely disappointed with his friends and their willing participation with this charade.
Sometimes I would pick him up so he could see out of the windows in the boat or take in the view on a walk through Long grass. He would put his ears flat against his head and look embarrassed if I did it in public but he pricked his ears up and looked around if we were on our own. He would turn his head and I would turn to match so he could take in the view from a different direction.
People frequently stopped me to say ‘what an amazing dog’ ‘he has such an expressive face’ he literally had superstar qualities. Rich and I always laughed about it. It was quite extraordinary how many people would stop us to say hello to Tisbury. Or indeed take his photo. He was frequently ‘papped’.
At bedtime he would take a long drink of water, scuff his bed up and take him self off to Rich’s bed on Grey or tell me he wanted to be lifted up to my bed on Daisy.
He was a shining star. A crazy diamond. A beauty, a fucker and a loyal friend. He made me a better person. I am so lucky to have had him in my life.
Tisbury, my friend, you will be an eternal flame in my heart. I loved you absolutely. And Unconditionally.
Rest in peace my friend.
07/07/07 – 29/12/17
Twitter | Instagram: @tisburylicious