Wednesday 26 October 2022
I gave a talk last Saturday as part of the Penryn Fringe Festival, which took place at the Terrace Gallery. I was interviewed by Pauline Causey, who’s worked for the BBC for 30 years, so I was in safe hands, and she asked me about The Rescue.
Actually Pauline’s idea that I should write this book. Shortly after dear Moll departed this life, I had a drink with Pauline and she wanted to know what had happened, and also a bit more about my life with Moll, starting from when Pip was alive. Life had been quite eventful, and Pauline’s eyes grew wider as I told her what had happened. ‘You have to write about this,’ she breathed, taking a sip of wine.
‘I can’t,’ I said, ‘It’s too personal.’
‘Well, make it up,’ she said. ‘And Moll should write it.’
To be honest, I thought she was bonkers. Then, after a few days of mulling over this idea, I came to the conclusion that she was a genius. Well, she is anyway, but…. How should I write this story, the beginning of which would be true, but make the rest up? And how on earth could I write it from a dog’s point of view?
I did a lot of thinking, and observed my new rescue, Lainy. I read a lot about how dogs communicate, and of course the obvious difference is that while we use our eyes and speech, dogs use their noses, which are 100 million times more sensitive than ours. Their hearing, also, is way more effective than ours, but it’s their noses that do the brunt of the work. Then I had to think how things would smell. For example, dogs must identify their owners by their smell, but what do they smell like? And what does happiness smell like? Illness? Fear? Grief? Joy? Embarrassment? Pauline had just got the new edition of National Geographic which supports the theory that dogs do empathise, grieve and show joy just as we do - well, anyone with a dog knows this, but at least it shows that I’m barking up the right book. Well, no one knows for sure, other than dogs, of course, so I had to use my imagination. One thing I did know was that Moll was extremely greedy, so food features largely in this book. Ironic, given that I’m not very bothered about food! I might have got this completely wrong, but after 15 years I knew Moll pretty well. She was opinionated, stubborn, greedy and her love was given very conditionally. But I loved her, and although she wasn’t an affectionate dog, I like to think she loved me, too. If you’d like to find out, it’s available for pre-order now www.suekittow.com.
And also, after three weeks of limping, this is Lainy's fourth day (I hope) of not limping. Fingers crossed she's on the mend!