Nabi Dog is the spunky, feisty little greyhound, the darker and smaller of the starving pair who showed up here in January, rescued from a ditch alongside the highway. Her "sister" Lulu is much more refined and retiring, afraid of everything. Nabi doesn´t like strangers, but when she´s among family she´s a pushy broad. At dinnertime, and in the morning when it´s time for everyone to get up, she is out in the patio leaping ´round the flowerbeds, shouting out the "woo woo woo" that brands her forever a hound-dog.
I´ve told her a thousand times that no hound-dogs are allowed in the house, but she tries her luck every time the front door is left open. She´d dearly love to be a house dog, but no dice. Two dogs in here is enough. And with her extra-long whip of a tail, a joyfully wagging Nabi is a destructive force.
Nabi´s not quite so fast as Lulu, but when they´re out in the fields chasing one another, the mirror-image Galgo Girls are never more than a meter or so apart from one another. They are a perfect pas de deux, and at 15 mph., a breathtaking sight.
On Thursday they hunted critters together in the woods alongside the camino into Calzadilla de los Hermanillos. Nabi killed at least two field mice. Together the galgos ignored us when we called them back to the car. And when we finally got everyone home, the two of them slipped out the gate. Paddy went to feed them dinner, and found the barn empty.
He stepped into the dusk and called to them.
Only Lulu appeared. Very strange, that. Very wrong.
It was a long night. Friday morning I took my spyglasses and the car, and went looking for naughty Nabi.
It took a while, but I found her.
I found her body. Lying along the edge of the A231 autopista, at the foot of the same roadside rabbit warren that so tempted Una a couple of years ago, was a greyhound carcass the same size as Nabi, wearing the same kind of collar.
She was not mutilated or messy.
She was elegantly posed, long legs outstretched, as if she was sunning herself on the patio.
The highway gave her to us. The highway took her away, just a few hundred meters west.
A part of me started to cry, and didn´t stop for a long time.
Some other part of me marched back to the house, told Patrick the news.
"Nabi is dead," I said, and somehow that made it so. We loaded a sheet and a shovel into the back of the car, and drove back to the autopista to collect her.
Together, with a pick and shovel, we buried her body out back. We put a seedling tree in the hole with her, so something good might come of it. Una and Tim and Murphy stood by in the tall grass, watching solemnly while we worked and wept.
Lulu stayed in the barn. In the night she cried. Tim went out and slept on the greyhound sofa with her, in Nabi´s spot.
Lulu is confused. Maybe she is lonely or sad, but who can tell what is going on in her tiny brain? She asks for more of our attention. She walks more sweetly on the lead. We wonder if we should go ahead and let this hound dog in the house, give her the gift of human company we denied to Nabi.
But Lulu doesn´t want to come inside, even though Una and Tim stay in here. Lulu lives in the barn, in the "Greyhound Lounge." That is where she wants to be.
I project my grief onto Lulu´s slender shoulders. I know Nabi´s troubles are over. She probably never knew what hit her, out there on the highway in the dark. It´s little Lulu who makes me feel the most sad.
I must learn to live without one of my pets.
Lulu must learn to live without her shadow.