First time I saw him, I was six. I was not allowed downstairs on my own because he was living there. It’s not that I was scared, although my Dad kept on repeating : « don’t try and go on your own, it’s dangerous ». No… To me, he was the guardian of the world below and he kept the demons away !
The day I could finally meet him, my Dad took me downstairs holding my hand. He was warning me : « he’s big, keep your fingers in your pocket ». Any other kid would have just turned around but I felt overexcited ! Nobody knew how he’d react as he had never seen a kid before.
We arrived in the yard and I saw a pack of muscles running towards me. Man, he was big ! He stopped in front of me, as excited as I was, looked at me deep in the eye and put his front paws on both my shoulders. He was so heavy ! He started licking my face with his giant tongue and I was giggling so hard I lost my balance. I fell on my back, he fell on me and I couldn’t stop laughing. I think my Dad was sort of relieved although he was saying : « Spellbound, stop it ! ». I was lying in the dirt with the most beautiful boxer dog licking my face and everything was in the right place.
I never quite followed the orders and me and Spellbound used to meet secretly. I just loved him so much. I’ve always been careful not to touch his food though because he didn’t like that at all. He was the sweetest hound ever though. He loved birds and used to hide and jump to catch them. He did get sparrows from time to time. He would roll them in the mud with his saliva so that their feathers were stuck and they couldn’t escape. Then he would lie down and look at them. All he wanted to do was look at them. Surprisingly, they were unhurt. My Mum used to keep a bird’s cage in the kitchen. She gently washed the pour souls and let them rest in the cage before releasing them.
He used to sleep in the cellar at night. That’s where he was doing all the magic and guarding us from harm. He grew older but always kept his young playful soul alive. When we went on holiday, he stayed at home and the neighbours came to feed him. He died in the yard, one time we were in France. He died on his own and that made me so sad… He was never replaced and the house felt empty and quiet after he went away. These days, I always get that strange feeling when I see an empty bird’s cage...
It was such a long time ago but I kept the best memories of him alive. And, every time I think of Spellbound, he’s got his paws on my shoulders and I’m giggling as I’m falling on my back.