April 8, 2018 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette March 29th 2018
I doubt there is anyone in Littlehampton who did not know Jazz even if they did not know his name. A daily familiar sight in the town centre, a lumbering great black Labrador strolling behind his master and carrying a large, grubby and very dilapidated stuffed donkey in his mouth. Jazz, smartly dressed in his yellow Hi-Viz jacket was always happy to acknowledge a pat on the head with a cheerful wag of the tail and welcomed in all of the town’s cafés and shops. He was ten years old, just one year older than his beloved ‘Eeyore’. Jazz was an unusual animal in that he was a Diabetic Medical Dog trained to give a timely warning to his owner, Bob Montrose-Brown, of an impending need for medical attention. Not so lively of late, Jazz was in a very bad way health wise with lung cancer and worn joints. Last week he died in the care of a vet in that peaceful and dignified way that old dogs often do. I am not overly sentimental when it comes to animals but Jazz was exceptional and I welled up a little when given the news which very quickly spread around the town. The little dog biscuit I often had in my pocket for him will have to go to another. So long, Jazz, old fellow we will miss you.
THAT was the down side of the week the upside being a visit to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum with my daughter to see the exhibition of the works of A. A. Milne and Ernest Shepherd concerning my namesake Christopher Robin. My mother was very fond of the stories and although I looked nothing like the character with his sumptuous blonde locks she named me after him. In my younger days, growing up, I very much resented the name thinking it to be a bit ‘sissy’ but, given the passing years as an adult and now an elderly man I was and am quite proud of it as are my children. ‘Hush, hush, whisper who dares…’
Photo: Dark as the night, the lovely Jazz when he was but a youngster