As I had hoped, Elizabeth proved to be just the very salvation needed by Gisèle. They spent a long time chatting and hugging on the sofa, in the manner shown in the previous post's photograph.
At length, I rejoined them.
"D'you know what I REALLY think you need, Giz?" said Betty, after a long silence.
"Hmm?" responded the little terrier.
"I'll tell you. You need.... a FIIIIIIIGHT!" And, with that, Betty shoved Gizmo off the sofa and jumped down on top of her. The two girls snarled and bit at each other - all in fun of course - and chased each other up and down the stairs, yapping and squealing all the while.
And then I heard something which I'd almost given up hope of ever hearing again.
Once irritating, the sound of Gisèle's laughter was now truly delightful to my ear. I smiled at the squeals of delight emanating from the two friends and stole a glance at my partner, who was wiping a happy tear from her eye at the reanimation of the inestimable Gizzy. Up and down the stairs raced our two girls - squealing, laughing and play-nipping at each other. My partner and I were just careful to keep out of the way as they crashed past us, out into the garden and around our small plot, then up the stairs to jump up and down on the bed (heedless of any effect on the mattress-springs or bed-linen). This continued until almost midnight, but my partner was loath to put a stop to the girls' amusement due to the long-absent delight of little Gisèle.
When the shenanigans recommenced at 3.10 the following morning, my partner's patience began to wear thin. The play-fighting and noisy, boisterous games continued throughout that day - and the next day - AND the one after that; each time beginning before the winter sun had fully risen in the morning and lasting until long after most normal folk had retired to bed. As for me, I'll admit that I'd had enough after about ten minutes on the first day - and my partner's smile had, by now, become decidedly fixed. To be honest, it was more of a grimace.
On the fourth night, the bedroom door was firmly closed on the capering bitches. I heard the (admittedly mildly satisfying) sound of two heads, one tiny and one large, smacking into the wooden door followed by the (less satisfying) outbreak of fresh giggling - and settled down at last to a full nights' sleep as the pair of miscreants trotted back downstairs, prodding each other and snickering as they descended. My partner was already fast asleep...
These events took place over a week ago (I have been somewhat remiss in updating the blog for unfortunate reasons, which will soon become clear). But, with the selective benefit of hindsight, I am very thankful indeed for the short visit of Betty. She pulled Gisèle from the abyss of her despair.
The healing powers of the simple love and company of friends ought never to be underestimated.