"Je pourrais compter ma vie en chiens".
I could measure my life by the number of dogs I owned...
My father adressed this sentence to me one day, a few minutes after having an argument with my mother. Talking about the bad condition of their old dog, and the perspective to get sooner or later a new and young bouvier appenzellois (swiss sheperd), my father had suddenly realized that this dog might be the last one, and that he even might die before the animal. Considering the good shape of her husband, and (legitimately) reacting to my dad's obsessive feeling about his own mortality, my mother had laughed at him, and I found him angry and haunted by dark thoughts on the balcony of their apartment.
Actually he was right.
He died in 2004, at the age of 77, without any previous symptomas, and Alma (photo) is still alive.
"Je pourrais compter ma vie en chiens" inspired a stage play ("Les Chiens" ) that I wrote after my father's death, and that was performed in Tuzla, Bosnia in 2005, in front of an audience that knew nothing about my family, but a lot about death.