“So, how do you feel about it?” I asked Short Tony.

His hard man exterior slipped very slightly, and I could see that he was in two minds.

The dog’s demise (note – at the vets, all official-like) had been an inevitability for some time. Selflessly, the dog herself had tried her best to make the decision easier by hobbling around with a limp, constantly shitting on the floor, and generally being unpleasant and unhygienic to be around. Now, having reached the point where the cess-pit emptying man was finding visiting the house unsavoury, a decision had been made.

“I’m sorry you’re having to have the dog exterminated,” I said, sympathetically.

I had brought round some champagne to make him feel better. We quaffed it, thoughtfully.

“It’s the idea of the injection,” he said. “I never liked injections. Have you ever had a dream when somebody is sneaking up on you to give you a lethal injection?”

I replied that I hadn’t, as I only ever dream about having a spaceship.

“Perhaps they’ve got some form of electric chair that they could use instead?” I mused. “With metal things to put on its head, an’ all.”

He agreed that he’d be happier with that arrangement.

Mrs Short Tony chided him for being foolish. And she was right. It was for the best, given its quality of life. Keeping this particular dog alive would have been roundly condemned by the RSPCA and, quite possibly in this case, Amnesty International.

We were solemn for a bit.

“Stop all the clocks,” I murmured, reciting the moving poem from the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ (funeral bit). “Cut off the telephone.”

I tailed off after that.

That was last week.

It all went OK. Short Tony is fine. I went round there. There is an empty space in the kitchen that was previously occupied by a rancid hairy clump of dog. It was sad.