The death of a pet is horribly painful, and tonight I am feeling that heavy grief. My mum called this evening to tell me our family dog died today.
If you don’t own a pet, then it’s likely you won’t understand what it is to love an animal as part of your family. This daft and loyal pup was part of my life for the past 12 years.
He was a wonderful, cuddly bear of a mutt. A sturdy cross between a Labrador and a Collie, with thick tufty fur and a lifelong puppy face.
I keep remembering the day we found him in the rescue centre. We were still raw from the loss of my childhood dog and my parents weren’t sure they were ready for another. They walked past his kennel without even spotting him. But I saw him hiding indoors, just peeking around the corner at me and coaxed him out. After a lot of encouragement, he slinked nervously toward me and sat down by the fence. I talked to him a little and he eventually relaxed, leaning against the chicken wire so I could just stroke a little patch of his fur through the gaps. He loved that contact and I loved him immediately.
I loved him for 12 years. He made me smile and kept me company and always knew when to put his head on my knee to comfort me. It hurts that I couldn’t be with him at the end. I know he wouldn’t have known what was happening, and it wouldn’t have meant anything to him to hear it, but I’d have really liked to say goodbye.