Yesterday Charlotte and I had to take one of the toughest decisions of our lives. After 10 weeks of valiant struggle, our beloved working cocker spaniel Rufus finally gave in to his anaemia. We knew we had come to the end of the road when he could no longer muster the strength to get out of his basket when he heard Charlotte in his food cupboard. The fire had gone out in his eyes, and instead we saw what looked like anxiety, and possibly distress. We had to do it, and he passed away quietly in her arms at the vet’s.
He was our first dog (I come from a “cat family”, and put up all the resistance to the “dog” idea over many years), and what a way to start! He was an absolute model of energy, positive mindset, unquestioning trust and love and generosity of spirit. We never saw a moment of anger in the 7 all-too-short years that we knew him. I learnt so much from him, mainly in his positive mental attitude. For him, each day was a series of exciting moments, and when one of these had been achieved he was instantly thinking about the next (and negotiating to see if he could bring it forward by a few minutes!). Walking downstairs at 5 in the morning and being greeted by him was like a shot of adrenalin. Day in, day out.
His motto was ‘never give up’, which we saw in so many guises. He finds a stick he likes and starts chewing it. I remove it from him, and all his energy goes into getting it back from me. Eventually I put him on the lead as it is now irritating me, and hurl the stick into the trees. Half a mile later I let him off the lead, and he heads straight back to where I hurled it and retrieves it. Amazing. Bury his ball under a large grey pebble on the beach without him seeing it, and he works the whole beach (which is made up entirely of large grey pebbles), until he finds it.
Of course we are both distraught. The place feels empty, and the the day is stretching out ahead of us without any purpose as I sit here and write this. The slightest thing triggers the tears (coming in the back door after feeding the hens: where is he, he should be at the door checking out whether anything exciting is about to happen?). My face is sore from being dried off with a salty wet hanky. I can’t remember ever feeling like this, not even when I lost my mother last year. I feel a little guilty about that, but haven’t the energy to analyse it or apply any logic to it.
So there you are, I’ve nothing to give you this week, dear reader, other than to share a few uplifting images and a couple of treasured memories. Sorry about that. I was going to do something about Kevan Hall’s new book on Matrix Management, but that will have to wait. Possibly for some time.
Call to action: recognise how lucky you are, capture the good moments on camera when you can, take nothing for granted and never forget that we own nothing – we are just passing through.
Rest in peace Rufus, my old friend. You will never know how much joy you brought into our lives.