This is the
tail tale of an incredibly feisty Jack Russell cross called ‘Lady’.
I spent most my childhood, (and early teenage years), begging Ma for a dog. Ma didn’t like dogs, but I figured that if I wore her down she’d give in… I was wrong.
Ma: “Whatever it is the answer is no!”
Me: “But Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum”
Me: “Can I have a dog?”
Ma: “No you bloody well can’t!”
Me: “But you said…”
Ma: “I know what I said, my girl, but I’ll be the one who ends up walking it, feeding it and cleaning up after it blah blah blah”
Me: “Yeah, but no, but yeah, but honestly Mum…I’ll walk it ten times a day, I’ll go without sweets to feed it, I’ll pick up it’s poo, I’ll get a job, (even though I’m only 10), AND I’ll wash the pots until I die… I PROMISE, Oh please Mumsie, Mother Dearest.. PUUUURLEASE????
It was a relentless bombardment designed to grind her down but Ma was made of stronger stuff. She was in the WRAF but the SAS would have been more suitable.
Needless to say she never cracked.
Once I left home, one of the first things I did was to get a dog.
Lady was one of litter of puppies found in a cardboard box on a moor in the middle of November…some lowlife had left them there to die.
The story ends well, they were all rescued.
Lady was about 8 weeks old when I saw her and her siblings in a big cage. She trampled over their heads to get to me and went on total lick-fest on my hand. She stole my heart that day and 17 years later it broke to let her go.
Lady was a challenging dog to say the least. As dogs go, she was fairly ‘orrible.
She hated ‘walkies’. How many dogs do you know who hate walkies?
She detested being outside even in summer. Our other dog would be sprawled out on the lawn, belly in the air, basking. Lady would be curled up on the sofa.
She would wee in the house when we went out (separation anxiety) and she would wee with excitement when we came back in.
Then there was t’other ‘ole…
On the few occasions when we actually got her out for a walk, she’d wait until she was directly in front of a family having a picnic and then she would turn her back on them and take a dump. She would not shift until the deed was done. The times I’ve heard ‘EWWWW! what’s that doggy doing mummmay?’.
‘Don’t look darling, some people have no shame!’
I’d apologise profusely as I cleaned up after her…(not that we’d actually done anything wrong). What can I say? The bitch liked an audience!
She woofed and snarled at any dog, (or person), who came within 50 miles of me, (or the boys). She trashed cupboard doors, TV remotes, Christmas trees, cushions, shoes, books, front doors, carpets and wallpaper.
She trawled bins, crapped on carpets, scoffed cream cakes, (from off the table), vomited in shoes, peed on the other dogs, (regularly), stole their food, (regularly), howled when left alone longer than two minutes and was a general nuisance.
And she hated the vet!
And the car!
I’m not joking she was that bad. Most people wouldn’t have put up with her. Maybe she would have been passed from pillar to post or worse. But fate threw us together because somebody up there knew that I’d never give up on her. She was damaged by the trauma of her abandonment and as a consequence the world overwhelmed her and I understood that.
We had her spayed after we found a scruffy terrier attempting to ‘give her one’ in the street. She’d got out through the fencing one day after a particularly windy night. That was the first and only time that she ever ventured out on her own.
Despite all these problems, I loved her. I really loved her. The children came along and she accepted them. More than that she protected them, (and us). I’m convinced that the fearless little bugga would have given her life to protect us.
She would fall asleep on my lap in the day and at my feet at night.
I loved nothing more than to bury my face in her fur and breathe her in. She smelt like biscuits but in a nice way. Whenever I was upset, she would nuzzle me and lick my face. Some people say that dogs are not capable of empathy but I disagree. That little dog knew when I needed comfort.
I watched the transition from juvenile to adolescent and from adult to geriatric.
Age faded her face from brown to white and her beautiful chocolaty eyes became opaque. In the last few years she slept most of the time. She didn’t like to be touched and towards the end, I had to pick her up wearing a pair of cricket gloves in order to take her up the garden because otherwise she’d pee where she lay. She was on medication but the vet said that she wasn’t in pain, she was just elderly. But sometimes we heard her crying and we’d find her trapped behind the fridge or outside behind the bushes. It was becoming more and more obvious that she was no longer firing on all cylinders…
I’d convince myself that it was time for her to go to the vets and then she’d have a good day, as if to say, ‘Not yet, Mum, there’s life in me yet’.
Then one day I found her collapsed on the floor and my heart sank…
We took her to the vets and for the first time ever she didn’t fight. The vet sounded her heart and advised that euthanasia would be the kindest thing for her.
I said goodbye to my old friend with tears streaming down my face. I told her that I loved her and held her tightly, breathing in her familiar smell for the last time, then I whispered in her ear ‘Thanks for choosing me’.
I didn’t think of it as ending her life…I thought of it as the last act of love that I could ever do for her and with that she closed her eyes and made her way to Rainbow Bridge
I’m glad that I found the courage to hold her and see it through to the end. It remains, to this day, one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do..
In my wardrobe, there is a small wooden box. The box contains her ashes and it’s my wish that it will go in with me when it’s my time to go. I know I’ll see my little girl again. I know she’s waiting for me.
I don’t think I’ll ever find another dog quite like her.
She was unique. A one off – my four-legged soul mate.
“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” ~ Josh Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love with the Worlds Worst Dog.