There’s no doubt that the article that generated the biggest response from our snailmail newsletter, La Gazette, was the short, sad piece about the cruel death of Barton, our little Black and Tan Meath Terrier (below). We’ve been very touched by the messages of support which have come from all directions and in all shapes and sizes, including a card from friends in New York with a picture of a dog floating up to the skies on a cloud, and this charming postcard from Barton’s sister Swilly, who lives with Lillian Barton of Chateaux Léoville Barton and Langoa Barton in St-Julien. Swilly signed the card with her paw print.
Despite the calls for ‘naming and shaming’ the people who were largely responsible for Barton’s death, we have decided to move on. (We’re not bitter but they still haven’t been in touch since we saw them driving out of the drive in their 4×4 and large Estate car, just as vineyard manager Daniel and I were lugging the pick-axe and shovels from where we’d dug Barton’s little grave within hours of the attack.) Months later, we felt the only sensible approach was to advise their local RSPCA officer, but that’s it.
Now for the good news. I emailed Esme Johnstone, former owner of Chateau de Sours nearby, from whom we had got Barton in the first place, to let him know the sad news. (Ironically, Esme and Sarah have moved back to England to within just a few miles of the Rutland couple who had brought the killer dog with them.)
Esme kindly put me in touch with the original breeder in Ireland, who had no puppies available from a recent litter. Then we heard that there had been a ‘cancelled order’ for a little bitch – a first cousin of Barton’s, several times removed. And, after weeks of planning with Penelope near Dublin, wincing at the fares of Air France via Paris, and then stumbling across Colin from pet-couriers.com, here she is.
(Colin provided a great service and was far better value than Air France.) We’ve called her Margaux (sorry, couldn’t resist it) and she is already ruling the roost, chasing the cat and charming all the family – and a fairly steady stream of visitors to boot. Meanwhile Palmer, our black labrador, can’t quite figure it out but is very pleased to have a new friend.