He had first met Juan during his early training. The Spaniard had found
his way to the big house in a shipment of cattle for the estate. He'd been
welcomed into the community and had proved himself to be an excellent
scavenger, scaling the highest cupboards to find the tastiest rewards for the
families. After a few months in the house, he had become restless and set off
in search of new challenges. He too had been attracted by the film makers. A
cameo appearance, popping out of a biscuit tin in a popular sitcom, had been
his highlight and he'd drifted into obscurity. He'd also had the call for help
and, like Hickory, he'd responded immediately.
Ah, Juan. Hickory flexed his paw, painfully. His brow furrowed and his whispers twitched as the events of that day came into sharper focus. They never really left him. How could they? No matter where he went, it was all folks wanted to talk to him about. It was all that was ever written about him. And then, of course, there was the song.
He realised it was meant as a tribute, just as the accolades and the medal had been seen as recognition for an act of incredible courage, an example of selfless, heroic endeavour. At least those had been the headlines. How could they say that? To him it had been a simple act - an attempt to save a friend: a failed attempt. How could that be celebrated?