Yesterday I attended the funeral of a friend and fellow papillon exhibitor, not something I ever expect to do when the person is quite some years my junior. Alex was a hardworking self employed painter and decorator, usually working 6 or 7 days a week. His main hobby, as he really didn't have much time to spend on hobbies, was his papillon dogs and the occasional shows, few and far between, (unlike many of us!) and usually very local although he did manage the rare farther afield championship show, travelling with us on the coach.
He had felt increasingly unwell for almost a year, although he said nothing to anyone, except maybe a rare grumble. After being in denial for all this time he could no longer hide it from his family and he was persuaded to visit the doctor. Very soon after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer and although he endured a few doses of chemotherapy he was so very weak that it was decided to stop the treatment. Some of my friends visited him in hospital and were very upset at the sight of him, formerly a stocky, shortish man, now sickly pale and wizened and small. He was allowed home but only survived an afternoon and night. Despite his terrible condition he remained relatively jocular till the end. There is a lesson in this for all of us. Do not leave things until it is too late.
I shall remember Alex as a perpetually hungry, jovial man with a mischievous sense of humour, kind with a very pleasant nature and a great love of the papillon. We will all miss him.
For a few tales of journeying with Alex look here.