We lost a beloved member of the extended family this week. Norbit has been the canine member of my brother’s family for more or less as long as their eldest boy.
Norbit was a bitsa Stafforshire bull terrier, with a lovely companionable demeanour, spotty white hair and doleful brown eyes that always made him look sadder than I suspect he ever was.
He was also deaf as a post. Right from birth, if I recall correctly. He didn’t come when you called him (I always forgot, at least once per visit, and invariably looked like a doofus sitting around calling for Norbie to come and get a scratch). If you wanted to communicate with him, you had to use sign language. I never got past the basics, but Norbit was always very patient with me. And he knew I was usually good for a scratch or a belly rub, which probably helped.
He was wonderful with kids, and helped raise a family of three, often by being an unflappable playmate, a good ball chaser or a very comfortable pillow. Even when he started to get on in years, he never let the kids get far out of sight.Though if he could stand watch while sleeping on my brother’s feet, that was his preference.
My kids only got to see him on holidays, but to them he was as much a part of the household as any of their cousins.
They don’t know he’s gone yet. I haven’t worked out how to break it to them. I’m having trouble breaking it to myself.
I’m sad right now – ugly-crying, if I’m honest – but only for those of us left behind. Norbs had a good life, give or take the odd bump and scrape and occasional misadventure, and it was never a chore to enjoy his affectionate, easy-going nature. (Well, maybe that time he ate my brother’s copy of Consider Phlebas, but who among us hasn’t wanted to chew up a good book from time to time?)
Goodbye Norbit. You’ll be sorely missed and always loved, you great lump.