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Rest in Peace Titti, the Maltese Cliff-Diving Dog

By Petr Knava | Celebrity | January 28, 2019 |

By Petr Knava | Celebrity | January 28, 2019 |


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Titti the Jack Russell just loved the feel of the air rushing through her fur. It was all about jumping just at the right moment so as to synchronise with her beloved human. It was tricky at first, but she’s smart, she got it quickly. It was worth the effort. To soar together. To hit the water together. Together, joyous, free. And then to do it all over again. Above all to always go again, again, tongue flapping, airborne, limbs splayed out in perfect form, and then the feel of the cool water.

Sad reports came in over the weekend that according to her human, 54-year old Carmelo Abela, Titti had to be put to sleep due to heart complications. She was 10.

Titti became an internet sensation a few years ago when videos of her enjoying cliff-diving with the humans at St Peter’s Pool near Delimar in Malta went viral. John Updike once said that celebrity is a mask that eats into the face. That fame corrupts, in other words. These days, instant internet fame can be a particularly harsh and cruel mistress. But Titti was a good girl, she didn’t let the fame go to her head. All she cared about was making her human happy and soaring through the air with him.

Mr Abela said of Titti’s passing: ‘With a very heartbreaking moment, I had to say goodbye to our shadow, Titti. She will always be in our hearts. And thank you for all the support you gave us while she was alive.’

Rest in peace, Titti. May you soar forever through the air above crystalline waters.

One of the things that never ceases to bring me joy—and that, in fact, brings me more and more joy as I get older—is the fact that animals have personalities. It’s a lovely shot of humility into this godawful arrogant human conceit that we are somehow so above the rest of the animal kingdom, so special and unique with our ‘souls’ and our ‘character’, as if animals are a bland monolith. When you discover an animal’s quirk, it’s just a beautiful riposte to that nonsense. I love meeting a new animal, partly just to discover what kind of character it is. What are its likes and dislikes, annoyances, guilty pleasures? It just brings me so much joy that a dog, for example, might really, really, really love running to the beach and then diving into the waves. You remember Walter right? It’s just so charmingly revealing, seeing an animal express a part of their self like that.

Take Bob the cat for example. Bob is my neighbour’s cat. One day about a year ago, when I had moved into my current flat, he appeared at my window. I didn’t know him then. But he’s a very confident and relaxed cat. So he knocked on the window and I opened it to say hello. And that was that. It’s been the routine since then. Pretty much every day. I come home from work and I barely have time to get changed and put everything away before he’s looming at the window, knocking away. He’s learned my schedule and he knows when to come in to nap, to drink from the dripping tap in the bath, or to just demand attention when I’m trying to work. This is Bob, doing just that:

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Here he is having just had a window opened for him after a little knock:

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I love Bob.

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I have a blind on my window that I pull down when I’m going to sleep. Bob and I have had an implicit understanding ever since he started his little knocking routine that when the blind is down, there shall be no knocking. The treaty held for over a year. Then, the Saturday before last, as I was having a much-needed lie-in in the morning, the window blind still very much down, there came that sound. That slightly muffled soft-pawed ‘knock-knock, knock-knock’. That sonofabitch, I thought. Has he no respect for the rules? Well it was cold outside so obviously, being the bleeding heart that I am, I opened the blinds and let him in. Big mistake. —insert some horror movie ‘it’s learning our patterns!’ gif here— Now it’s as if the blind rule never existed. Bob’ll knock whenever he damn well pleases, knowing full well that I’ll most likely let him in anyway.

Animals—what a bunch of characters.



Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.



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