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Troilus and Daisy (or whose dog do we have now?)

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Some people in Johannesburg say we have their dog. At least their ''delightfully sociable'' Tavish is just like our Daisy. They wrote after Daisy made her debut in this space awhile ago - getting under everybody's feet the way she always does and asking for nothing but perpetual adoration. Apparently she is not unique after all. One touch of golden retriever makes the whole world kin. Or so Shakespeare almost said in the same celebrated passage from Troilus and Cressida, where he sums up Daisy's other qualities: ''Beauty, wit,/ High birth, vigor of bone.'' Of course, nobody knows whether it was Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, or the Earl of Oxford who actually walked the dog.

What should be reported about Daisy since the last time?

''She's running again!'' said our daughter, home on vacation and apparently trying to dispel the impression that her tawny friend, a septuagenarian in dogs' years, does little but recline all year.

''Yeah, she stretched with me the other day,'' said her brother, indicating the kind of pose joggers are often seen in before - or is it after? - their exertions.

''She's really trying to get in shape,'' added his sister.

Allowing for any slight possibility of trying to humor Dad, there appears to be something in what they say. At any rate, when they are home the old girl goes past in a butterscotch streak fairly often. Instead of quickly turning back home after joining a bicycle ride, Daisy now presses on. The other day she kept up with us for a couple of miles around the reservoir, taking time out for a dip in the water hazard of a golf course but finishing with us just the same.

Talk about Shakespearean vigor of bone! Mature people could take lessons from mature dogs.

I must say that, at the end, Daisy's tongue was flapping in the wind like a cartoon dog's. In the quiet of the evening, on the asphalt of the path, her paws made a sound like galloping marshmallows.

Well, something like that. Anyway, it was a Daisy transformed from the usual companion of my days off at home alone.

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