His little legs scrambled desperately to escape the leash and run back to his owners, who had no choice but to turn their backs and farewell their beloved pet.
And so it was with more than a touch of sadness that a journey in the dog’s honour began, though he could not himself follow, trapped by age, quarantine laws and an unwillingness to travel.
Kita means north in Japanese and jaws in Finnish, the choice of name from his Japanese Spitz and Finnish Lapphund ancestry. Our journey will take us north into the icy jaws of Winter, to Finland and the other mainland Scandinavian/Nordic states via Japan.
We leave behind the sticky heat of the Sydney summer.
A few days ago I was wondering if I would have the constitution to begin these 19 days of travel. Mid last week I suddenly developed an inflamed elbow which turned out to be a staph infection. The side effects of the antibiotics felt worse than the bug, putrid in smell and flavour, nausea inducing and requiring a frequency of taking that interferes with sleep.
Fortunately my appetite has slowly returned and the inflammation has mostly disappeared and tomorrow we set out for Cairns and Osaka.
Now I sit here in the Stamford Hotel in a room overlooking the airport. Almost thirteen years ago B and I also stayed here before our very first flight to Osaka, also via Cairns. I sat in the armchair feeling sick with a cold but trying to finish some last minute work tasks on my tiny Zaurus PDA.
I also had to work today, but thankfully my major projects were completed last week and now I can ignore those who are themselves just starting work for the year.
After dropping Kita off at the boarding kennels we finished packing, setting my away message and finally heading off to the bus stop. A train then delivered us to the Domestic Airport station before we walked to the hotel.
A lunch at McDonald’s meant none of us wanted fast food for dinner, so we took the easy option of the hotel’s Argentinian restaurant La Boca and tried their Asado grill of lamb and pork. But the heavy food sits uneasily in my delicate stomach.
Alex said he saw a magnificent burst of lightning across the dark storm clouds outside our windows, but I have observed nothing since. It will be a very early morning for us tomorrow. Two flights, hopefully smooth though an ex-cyclone approaches the coast.
I should sleep now, wake for medicine and sleep again while I can. Meanwhile our poor old dog relaxes with only other hounds for company. I miss him already.