When Gally first came to my house at the end of 2002, as part of a pack of six Taiwanese rescues, I was desperate to find a home for her. I already had Bayla, the first of the Taiwanese refugees, and I didn’t see how I would have two dogs. But nobody came forward to have her, and Gally, the temporary name I gave her (from Girly) stuck around. She had never been a house dog before, and she had no idea what she was doing. She chewed our couch, piece by piece, into bite size pieces.
Those were crazy days. For five or so weeks I looked after three of Nicole and Nick’s dogs, and Gally and Bayla, in our small house in Gardens. I would take the pack out to Camp’s Bay beach for walks. The first time Gally was off the lead she ran and galloped over the red and white marker tape cordoning off a section of the beach as if she were a racehorse. My friend Graham and I, who were walking them, Â had never witnessed such joy ever before.
Gally loved entirely uncomplicatedly, and she chose Big Friendly to love the most. He was chosen by her the second time they met, when she reached over and claimed him by putting her paw on his thigh. It was as if I married Big Friendly so he could be Gally’s. And she devoted herself to him, and him to her. Big Friendly let her go into the disgusting black mud in Keerboom park. He chased her when he was the only one she would ever play with; she never understood games. He would scout parks, beaches and fields for dogs she might be scared of even though she was always the aggressor.
A true Pavlov’s dog, just the sound of plastic poo bags being ripped off the roll got her tail wagging, even at the end when she struggled to stand.
She was the most photogenic dog. Between Big Friendly and I we have thousands of pictures of our pretty girl with black make-up eyes.
We console ourselves that she was one of the best loved dogs in all the world. Here is the last photo I took of her; in a position she loved, looking out on the ‘hood. Even though she looks so healthy and conscious she struggled to get to her favourite place, and couldn’t stay there long.
Our house is heartbreakingly and silently empty of dogs now and we can’t sleep. Bye bye Gally. In my childish dog heaven fantasy Bayla was waiting for you and she is behind you now, biting your back legs and urging you to bark at strangers.