Elgar And Me - A New Friendship

WOMAN'S WEEKLY|September 24, 2019

Elgar And Me - A New Friendship
A special companion has helped novelist Valerie Blumenthal cope both with Alzheimer’s, and the loss of her beloved dog, Mozart

The date 14 February 2019 will be forever etched on my mind. While others were preparing for a night of romance, my beautiful German shepherd, Mozart, lay dying on his favourite rug. He managed a final lick, and then he was gone.

Anyone who has owned a much-loved pet will appreciate the agony of losing it; you know full well that your pet is likely to have a comparatively short lifespan, and you try to brace yourself for the inevitable. However, nothing really prepares you for the actuality.

I have posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), an unusual form of Alzheimer’s. Sir Terry Pratchett was affected by the same condition. As far as I’m concerned, living without a dog is unthinkable. In the past, I have always had German shepherds.

I love their beauty, intelligence and loyalty; however, they are not the easiest of dogs.

As Alzheimer’s stealthily progresses, I can no longer type – it’s a particularly cruel disease for writers. My vision and balance have both deteriorated. Life can be hazardous to say the least. I realised that it was time to consider a different breed. Enter Elgar.


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September 24, 2019