I DON’T lie about my age. Even though if you listen to some of these twits on commercial radio lately you’d think they’d never met a person over the age of 40.

But that’s not to say that I don’t lie about age as such. I do about my dog’s age.

It’s been years now since I’ve been trying to tell people my Maltese Shitzu, Marley, was about three or four.

But lately it’s been getting harder to make eye contact as I do this. I can’t rely on the fact that those who know me may not have failed veggie maths like I did.

But I do this for what I believe to be mental survival.

I do it because I think if I personally stop the words cascading from my lips, then it will simply stop his ageing process, like a bit of Botox in the head. I need him more than me to stay forever young.

I even wonder if those guys I once deemed weird, who fall in love with life-size blow-up dolls, aren’t just like me who never wants to lose something they love?

People replace their kids’ goldfish to prevent pain, so why not just get something plastic, knowing you’ll outlive it unless you leave it in the sun?

Yet, realising that my age vagueness was possibly getting a bit silly, I’ve been pushing myself to get real by admitting, “’You know what (pause, deep breath), I have an awful feeling he might be five this year.”

Problem is, I might still be lying. I don’t know. My lies have been going on for so long they feel like they’re true.

Until along comes the new vet guy, who with such brute force he might as well have been an Australian cameraman in Bali, says: “So little Marley’s six and he’ll be turning seven this year?”

Excuse me? We might need to make another appointment, mate, because I think I’m going to use the rest of this one to stare at you like Ivan Milat.

How dare he? I wasn’t ready for that. I was just there to be a good mum by getting him his shots. I didn’t go there to get one in my own heart.

In one second this overzealous paper trail freak just robbed me of my right to denial.

This is my first dog, and I will not prepare myself for the time when he’s gone. I’ve got no back-up in the form of a gambling addiction or a tub of ice cream the size of the Malls Balls to fall back on.

I cringe when I hear about people losing their pets, especially their dogs or cats.

Although I totally get the loss of a terrapin can come with its own pain, it’s just I doubt they’ll also miss spooning the little guy in bed.

And I think for those who suffer this kind of loss, if their employer, friends and the whole flipping world doesn’t cut them a lot of grief slack, given they have just lost one of the great loves of their lives, then nothing short of an arrest will suffice.

OK, maybe that’s a bit much … however, I am still reeling from my moment of vet truth this week.

And annoyingly, all of a sudden my basic maths talent, that I never had back at school, seems to be now screaming at me the answer to how many years my little mate and I might have left.

And quite frankly … it is not enough. It’ll never be enough.

While I’ve always thought the whole taxidermy concept to be a bit of a gag-fest, there’s the deeply deranged part inside me that wonders if in my grief hysteria, on that fateful day my little guy goes to doggie heaven, I might be the type to have my angel stuffed, with a pig’s ear hanging from his mouth?

And maybe, I’ll be that bad that when my time comes I’ll get myself stuffed next to him…


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