Despite a slight rainfall on Sunday, I have been greatly enjoying the Spring weather of late.
"Jasper." she said, crossly. "You only ever eat good quality tinned meat and your biscuits these days."
The sounds of quieter despair began to fill my ears as the rest of the block awoke to the tragic news. The younger pups began to cry straight away and then I lost my composure totally as I heard Rex - our pack enforcer, the large, mighty, powerful Rex - curled up at the back of his pen, whimpering and sniffling like a newborn kitten. As my first tears fell, Dave re-entered the block through the Door of Doors, pushing a metal trolley - the one that was usually employed in the distribution of our meals.
He drew it to a halt, his shoulders heaving, outside Kipper's pen. With the utmost care and respect, he entered the pen and gently lifted the inert, lifeless body onto the trolley. I watched, unable to tear my eyes away, as Dave covered Kipper's body with a white cotton sheet. Kipper's bushy caramel-coloured tail with its quirky white tip, which I had often envied him, protruded from the edge of the sheet, hanging limply off the end of the trolley. As a sad afterthought, with careful deliberate movements, Dave slowly unpinned the much-longed-for Red "Reserved" Card from above Kipper's pen door and laid it on top of the sheet-draped corpse.
As Dave released the brake from the trolley, and the wheels began to turn, I suddenly knew what I had to do.
I moved swiftly to the front of my pen, and stood boldly and firmly. I raised my head, pursed my lips - and began.
"Ahhrrr-ooooo..." I howled. Rats picked it up immediately.
"Ahhrrr-oooooooo..." he rejoined.
As the trolley began to move, the entire block united in a loud, triumphant rendition of the Song of Triumph. Dave pushed the trolley slowly, moved almost to distraction, as he escorted Kipper on his final journey along the corridor towards the Door of Doors.
I had kept my promise. The entire block united in the heartiest-ever rendition of the Song of Triumph; serenading Kipper’s body to its final resting place.
The doors closed. At last, Kipper had gone home.