WHISPERING SMITH: Old dogs and the passing of time

Handsome Jazz in his prime
Handsome Jazz in his prime

I doubt there is anyone in Littlehampton who did not know Jazz, even if they did not know his name.

A daily familiar sight in the town centre, a lumbering great black Labrador strolling behind his master and carrying a large, grubby and very dilapidated stuffed donkey in his mouth.

Jazz, smartly dressed in his yellow hi-vis jacket was always happy to acknowledge a pat on the head with a cheerful wag of the tail and welcomed in all of the town’s cafés and shops.

He was ten years old, just one year older than his beloved Eeyore. Jazz was an unusual animal in that he was a diabetic medical dog trained to give a timely warning to his owner, Bob Montrose-Brown, of an impending need for medical attention.

Not so lively of late, Jazz was in a very bad way health-wise with lung cancer and worn joints. Last week he died in the care of a vet in that peaceful and dignified way that old dogs often do.

I am not overly sentimental when it comes to animals but Jazz was exceptional and I welled up a little when given the news which very quickly spread around the town. The little dog biscuit I often had in my pocket for him will have to go to another.

So long, Jazz, old fellow we will miss you.

-

That was the down side of the week, the upside being a visit to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum with my daughter to see the exhibition of the works of A. A. Milne and Ernest Shepherd concerning my namesake Christopher Robin.

My mother was very fond of the stories and, although I looked nothing like the character with his sumptuous blonde locks, she named me after him.

In my younger days, growing up, I very much resented the name thinking it to be a bit ‘sissy’ but, given the passing years as an adult and now an elderly man I was and am quite proud of it, as are my children.

‘Hush, hush, whisper who dares...’

---

Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Littlehampton Gazette by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Littlehampton Gazette simply click here.