A Boy and His Dog
There were a lot of great scenes this week. The birthday party from hell with Rosie’s press coverage and Sophie and Sian’s hidden engagement rings. Paul telling Eileen about his wife’s illness and the toll it takes. Sally sniping during the prayer at John Stape’s funeral. Lloyd learning the truth about Cheryl and Chris. Powerful scenes in a lot of good storylines. But the story for me was Schmeichel.
My heart started breaking early in the week, when Ches said Schmeichel wasn’t feeling well. At that time, Ches was too busy with Fiz to fully attend to his dog. That, I think, has come back to haunt him. Kirk took Schmeichel to the vet. Ches sees the dog bed out back, and no dog. The vet kept him in overnight, Kirk explains, looks like liver disease, maybe cancer.
Playing grown-up isn’t as easy as Katie and Ches had thought. Bills are overdue, including rent, an eviction notice is served. Katie is getting big as a house and, naturally, is concerned for the well-being and future of her unborn baby. They might end up with another child as well, if the wheels of justice don’t soon clear Fiz of the murder conviction. Katie and Ches are only 16 and 17.
Ches reluctantly accepts Owen’s offer of a loan for the rent. He even asks if Owen would also loan the money for Schmeichel’s biopsy. No, Owen says, not for a dog. Be a man, son, you’ve got a baby coming. Owen is right, of course, but he doesn’t realize what Schmeichel means to Ches. He, Katie and Anna, the other principles in this story, did not know the lonely little boy who was saved by that dog. They know he loves Schmeichel, but I don’t think they can know the depths of reliance he has on him.
At the vet clinic, Kirk said to Schmeichel “Daddy’s here” but that doesn’t fully describe the relationship between Ches and Schmeichel. Since Ches was a child, Schmeichel has been his dependent but also his friend and support.
Ches’s mother has come and gone, the man he loved as a father – Les Battersby – has come and gone. Even Fiz has left him, now due to circumstances outside her control but earlier too, when she put John Stape ahead of Ches. Only Schmeichel and Kirk have been steadfast for Ches throughout all his growing up years.
I hoped that Kirk could get through to Ches, that euthanasia for Schmeichel is the best option. Kirk knows that, but can’t get the words out right, and he believes Ches will make the right decision.
Ches has a chip on his shoulder toward Owen. He feels he has to prove himself to Katie’s dad, prove that he’s just as much as man as Owen is. Well, Ches, you’re not. You’re a kid and you’re facing one of the hardest things in life – the decision to kill your best friend. It never gets easier, you just learn that sometimes it’s the only thing to do and that keeping your beloved animal alive is something you’re doing for yourself, not your pet.
Also see my Schmeichel, The Greatest Dane for more on the actor and on Great Dane health issues.