A total change of direction

When Jasper left for rainbow Bridge fifteen months ago, he left a massive hole in our family, and and even bigger one in my heart.
Then recently Little Sal went to joint him at the bridge, taking another big chunk of my heart with her.
Only a pet owner will know that emptiness I’m talking about.

I know everyone is different, and we all deal with our grief in different ways.
Mine has always been to try and fill that hole as soon as I can as it gives me something to focus on, and if by doing so I can help another poor lost soul have a happier life, well that is reward enough for me.

If this poem is anything to go by, I’m sure Sally and Jasper will be happy too.

Before humans die, they write their last will and testament, giving their home and all they have to those they leave behind.

If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I’d ask…
To a poor and lonely stray, I’d give my happy home; my bowl and cozy bed, soft pillow and all my toys; the lap, which I loved so much; the hand that stroked my fur; and the sweet voice that spoke my name.

I’d will to the sad, scared, shelter dog the place I had in my human’s loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.

So, when I die, please do not say, “I will never have a pet again, for the loss and the pain is more than I can stand.”
Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope, and give my place to him.
This is the only thing I can give…
The love I left behind.

In my mind, I was looking for a long haired, male collie, but had gone to Wythall Animal Sanctary to look at an older, long haired female collie.
I ended falling for Misty a four and a half year old Staffy cross.

Talk about a total change of direction.

She had lived with a man and his five children, until his circumstances had changed and he became unable to look after her.

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Yesterday I went to collect Misty.

She has settled in extremely well, even taking Cindy’s Little Dog Syndrome in her stride.

More to follow, as and when I get the time.

 

***Sadly after three attacks on Cindy, I couldn’t risk a serious injury, so not long after this post was written I reluctantly returned Misty to the rescue. She has since been successfully re homed ***

 

Goodnight Miss Goody Four Paws

Little Sal, what a total sweetheart she was. Gentle, affectionate and extremely well behaved.

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She was a good car passenger, never pulled on the lead, didn’t run away when off the lead, didn’t chase livestock, she loved being brushed, never objected to her teeth being cleaned. I could go on and on singing her praises, but I think you get the picture.

I adopted her in September 2007 from the Border Collie Trust (GB) at Rugely. She’d only been there a couple of weeks, so I guess if I hadn’t adopted her, someone else would have snapped her up pretty quick.
But the story of her life prior to that really shook me, things could have been oh so different if it hadn’t been for a dear old lady with a heart of gold.
Anne Fowler (R.I.P.) lived in a small cottage near Barmouth in Wales.
She would visit local dog pounds, where dogs that had been found or handed in waited their allotted time on death row. Anne would take whatever dogs she could away from their death sentence and give them a safe haven until a space could be found in a rescue centre with a no kill policy. Anne worked closely with the Border Collie Trust.
Little Sal was one of these dogs, aged at approx six years, she was on day six of her seven day sentence when Anne took her in.
When I adopted Sal from the Border Collie Trust, I was given the letter that accompanied her from Anne Fowler.
This is what she had to say:

Sal letter
I respected Anne’s wishes and wrote to her a couple of months later explaining I was the person lucky enough to have adopted Sally and enclosed a few photos of her with HugehappyhairyHarry my other dog.
I received this lovely reply, from an obviously very caring person.

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A few months later, on a trip to Wales, we made a point of finding Anne.
We found her little cottage hideaway and I knocked on the door. A sweet old lady, wearing wellies and clothes covered in dog hairs answered. I explained who I was and that Little Sal was outside in my motor if she’d like to see her again.
Eagerly she came outside, saw Sal and smothered her in kisses. She’d remembered her, and went on to tell me all about how attached she’d become to the gentle sweet little dog she’d rescued within one day of death.
I wrote to Anne again several months later, explaining how Sally had been distraught at the death of Harry, but she now had a new friend called Jasper and I enclosed some photos of her with him.
I never received a reply, and it was only months later when chatting with the staff at the Border Collie Trust that I was told Anne had sadly passed away.
Such a sad loss for the dog rescue world.

Little Sal was diagnosed with kidney failure earlier this year, and after suffering a massive seizure late Friday evening, we took the heartbreaking decision to have her put to sleep.

Seven years after Anne saved her from that fate, I think this time she was ready to go.
I hope she enjoyed those extra seven years with us and her two hairy friends Harry and Jasper.

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R.I.P. Little Sal.

Spring Bank Holiday

Monday the 26th May is a date etched rather deeply in my memory.

Today the 26th May falls on a UK bank holiday, six years ago it also fell on a bank holiday Monday, the next time this happens will be 2025…….. I wonder if my memory of that date will still be as vivid.

I won’t go into detail again, as I have written about it before here

But I will post this short video again.

Miss you Big Lad 😦

Cindy

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As a lot of you who read my blog regularly will know, Cindy my mum’s yorkie has been lodging with us for over a year, due to my mum’s deteriorating health.

Not too long ago (unknown to me), mum held T’s hand between both of hers and pleaded, that if anything should ever happen to her, would he promise her he’d look after Cindy.

On January 28th I got a phone call from Harrogate hospital, saying they thought I ought to be at the hospital.

We quickly packed the car, and set off in just over thirty minutes.

I stayed at my mums bedside until late Tuesday evening, and returned first thing Wednesday morning.

She looked very peaceful sleeping, occasionally appearing to be having a conversation with someone. She finally drifted away about 4.30pm Wednesday 29th January.

T only told me my mum’s wish on Sunday, so yesterday, I contacted the ID chip company and changed Cindy’s details from my mums to mine.

Cindy is now officially part of our pack.

R.I.P. Ella Kathlyn Teal……… mum………… I will keep T’s promise xx

******************

I have a lot of things to sort out, so there may be a lack of posts in the next few weeks – Vicky x

July-August catch up

I’ve just checked the date of my last post, I can’t believe almost a month has passed.

Not a pleasant month I will add. The initial feeling of peace and calm at Jasp’s passing, soon moved though the normal stages of grief, which anyone who has lost a beloved pet will understand.

Even though everyone around me was telling me I’d done the right thing for him, it still didn’t stop the arguments one side of my brain was having with the other 😦

Trying to get some sort of normality back in my life was difficult, he’d left an enormous hole.

On July 19th I answered the phone from the vet receptionist. I’d had Jasp cremated, so I knew before any words were spoken what was going to be said, but it still didn’t make it easy to hear.

“Oh hello Mrs H, I’m just phoning to let you know Jasper is ready to collect”

T was away for the weekend, and I couldn’t face collecting him alone. “Don’t worry, whenever you feel ready” she replied.

So on Monday 22nd, fully composed, I walked into the vets.

“I’ve come to collec……” was as far as I got. I took a deep breath and tried again. “I’ve come to collect Jas…..” It was a good job the receptionist understood my blubbering………. “Jasper? I’ll go and get him for you” she said.

I held it together long enough to pay my bill, then walked over to the car, sat down and placed the small oblong box wrapped in brown paper on my knee…………Was this all that was left of my beautiful 31kg dog?

It was the next day before I could bring myself to remove the paper, and the first time I can remember having a parcel that I wasn’t eager to open.

IMG_4372Not long after I adopted Jasper, I’d bought a model of a Pyrenean dog and painted it to look like him, rather fittingly it now stands on Jaspers box.

I’d been putting off the journey to Yorkshire to visit my mum, who was now settled as a temporary resident in a nursing home, but as one or two things needed sorting out, on 31st July we bit the bullet and set off in torrential rain.

IMG_0003Waking to a warm dry day on August 1st (Yorkshire Day), we decided a walk around Swinsty reservoir would be nice.

3.3 miles around, Jasper never did get to walk the whole way, but it brought back memories of Harry, who in September 1999 helped pull my dad up the slope onto the road that divides Swinsty and Fewston reservoir.

IMG_0011T checking to see if my dad’s seat, which looks out over Swinsty reservoir, needs repairing.

We popped into Knaresborough on the bus for the evening.

IMG_0021A popular view of the rail bridge over the River Nidd taken from the castle grounds.

IMG_0035….and from the other side, the view from the Harrogate/Knaresborough road bridge.

IMG_1467After a visit to a couple of real ale pubs and a meal at the Dropping Well Inn.

IMG_1462Sitting in the pub garden, at last I felt I was beginning to unwind a little.

Whether it was because on my previous visits to Yorkshire, I’d often left Jasp at home with T, or whether it was the relaxing alcoholic beverages, who knows, but that empty longing had gone until……

…..we returned home on Saturday 3rd.

I walked into the house and the emptiness hit me, my big hairy dog wasn’t there to greet me with a nuzzle of his wet nose 😦

Sunday and Monday are best forgotten.

Tuesday I knew there was just one place I could go that would lift my spirits, and that is Cleeve Hill.

Happy memories? beautiful views?  I don’t know what or why this place has such a pull on me, it doesn’t matter whether there’s rain, snow, gales or blue skies….whatever it is, it works 🙂

IMG_0090A few of the local residents.

IMG_0084T and Cindy looking out to the horizon.

IMG_0076The tree, I think I’d mentioned before, I’ve never seen this tree in leaf before.

Surrounded by a recently built dry stone wall, a big improvement on the ugly railings that were there before. There are smooth sections where plaques can be added commemorating loved ones (at a cost of course), the monies going towards the conservation and upkeep of the area.

It’s apparent I’m not the only one that finds this place special.

One of the things I found a great comfort and helped me come to terms with losing Harry was to make a video of photographs.

Cleeve  managed to lift my spirits once more, so I’ve done the same with Jasp.

The song is Let the Four Winds Blow by Robert Plant.

Perhaps one day, I may feel able to scatter Jasp’s ashes on Cleeve, and let the four winds blow.

Jasper – RIP

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Once again, a dog that stole my heart has left and taken a big chunk of it with him.

As many of you know Jasper had been struggling with his arthritic joints for several months now, but after returning from our Charmouth holiday, he’d developed open sores on the pads of his rear paws.

My vet tried antibiotics and cream to try to heal them, but nothing appeared to be working.

Jasper was having great difficulty even standing up so we would help him onto his feet, but he could only walk a few steps before collapsing.

His quality of life was fading fast, and I could see a big change in him. The once bright and alert eyes were now dull and he wasn’t smiling, as he so often did.

On Friday morning T phoned Vaughan my vet, who agreed it was probably time for Jasper to go to Rainbow Bridge.

Vaughan came out to our home just before 1pm on Friday 12th July. Jasper tried to stand to greet him, but his legs wouldn’t work properly.

Not wanting to play ‘god’ with Jasper’s life, I asked Vaughan if he thought we were doing the right thing.

I can’t remember his exact words, as by this time, my head was spinning, but they went something along the lines of……

We’d given him a good life, when no one else wanted him, he was getting on in years, and did I want him suffering in his last few weeks, because he’d only get worse.

So the heartbreaking decision was made.

It was all so very peaceful, and I felt a great feeling of calm as he drifted away, finally free from pain.

Happier Days

“It came to me that every time I lose a dog,
they take a piece of my heart with them….
And every new dog who comes into my life,
gifts me with a piece of their heart.
If I live long enough, all the components of
my heart will be dog …
and maybe
I will become as generous and loving as they are.“

Fossil on the Jurassic

I was beginning to think the motorhome was going to stay on the drive this year.

The weather had been cold and wet, and the last thing we wanted was to be stuck in a confined space with three wet dogs. Yes, that is three dogs, Cindy mum’s dog is still lodging with us, as my mum is still in hospital.

Anyway after checking the long range weather forecast (no idea why, as it is well know to change by the hour), in rather a spur of the moment decision, we booked ourselves on a campsite in Charmouth, Dorset.

Spur of the moment is an understatement.

We’d woken up on the Monday morning to blue skies and sun beaming in through the window, I looked at T and said, “we shouldn’t be here, we should be on the coast somewhere”

“Come on then Fossil, lets go then” was his reply.

So following a recommendation from a friend of T’s, we phoned Seadown Holiday Park at Charmouth, and booked ourselves in for a week.

There were a couple of minor problems though, Monday being our usual food shop day, we didn’t have much in the cupboards to take with us, and secondly, after six months of hair growth I’d started to resemble a shaggy dog, so I’d organised for my hairdresser to cut my hair in the afternoon. I was just contemplating cancelling my appointment when the phone suddenly rang….

Talk about fate!!  “Hi Vicky, it’s Marian, is there any chance I could do your hair this morning?” So I got my hair cut after all 🙂

In the meantime T set off to the supermarket for provisions, coming back armed with all the basics, which were soon stored away in the cupboards.

We grabbed an armful of clothes complete with hangers out of the wardrobe, and hung them straight into the motorhome wardrobe.

I always take plenty of jumpers and my waterproofs, but after being caught out with the glorious weather in Whitby last year, I made a point of taking several vests and shorts, just in case.

Dogs safely zipped into their travel crates (yes an extra crate had to be bought for Cindy), by 1pm we were on the road.

Fuel and tyres are normally done the night before a trip, so that was our first port of call, followed halfway down another stop for a ‘doggy stretchy leg break’ we pulled onto site about 5.30pm.

WOW, we’d hit gold again!!

The site was immaculate, totally flat well maintained pitches, which T said resembled a golf course.

We sited the motorhome, hooked up the electrics, and before we’d even put the kettle on, set off to find the beach.

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The River Char runs along the campsite grounds and into the sea. Walking along the riverbank, 150 yards later and over this bridge we were there.

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Heading back to the motorhome, we discussed attaching our new drive away awning. We’d bought it last year, but circumstances had stopped our holidays, before we’d had chance to try it. So we expected the next hour to be fraught and possibly argue filled.

Did I say hour? Ha!……….

…………….three hours later, and almost dark, we collapsed in a heap, totally brain dead and shattered.

Erecting the tent part was easy, attaching it to the motorhome, so we could actually get inside wasn’t. A few days later, talking to a couple pitched nearby, they had been in a similar predicament, and had been watching us hoping to pick up a few tips. Needless to say, we scrutinised every new arrival, hoping to do the same 😀

The idea of the awning, was for the dogs to sleep in it, giving us a bit more floor space inside, but the temperature had dropped, and there was no way we were going to make them sleep in it. The other problem was Cindy, being so small she could have escaped under the van.

We all settled down inside for a much needed night’s sleep. Sal and Jasp, seasoned motor homer’s now, crashed out straight away…….but not little Cindy, she decided she was going to dig her way out through the carpet. I’m not a nice person, when I’m tired and want to sleep, and by 3am, I was ready to chuck her out of the window. Eventually, as dawn was breaking, she drifted off.

I must have done so not long after, as the next thing I remember was T waking me up with a cuppa at 8am and demanding “This is our first and last holiday this year, and that (pointing at Cindy) is in the awning tonight!!!”

Hey, at least the sun was shinning, so after breakfast, we all set off to the beach.

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This coastline is called the Jurassic coast, and is a World Heritage site, literally thousands of fossils have been found as the cliffs crumble into the sea. This Jurassic rock, runs through The Cotswolds to the North Yorkshire coast, two of my favourite places. I wonder if that’s why T calls me fossil?

Copied from Natural England website

Marine Jurassic rocks comprising mudstones, limestones and sands run right across the country from Dorset to North Yorkshire. Lower Jurassic rocks are superbly exposed on the Dorset and North Yorkshire coasts, while Middle Jurassic oolitic limestones deposited in warm shallow seas and over tidal flats now form the broad ridges of the Cotswolds and their continuation through Northamptonshire and into Lincolnshire.

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I have a fascination with rows of beach huts. I just love the colour of these.

Jasper was finding the beach difficult to walk on because of all the rocks, so we made our way back to the site, and spent the day relaxing.

After a second night of Cindy playing up, we were about ready to call it a day and go home, but the third night she suddenly became ‘Ms Perfect’, perhaps she heard us talking 😉

Much of the week was spent doing the same. We took in turns to go out, so poor Jasp could relax on site, as his legs were giving him grief.

T went into Lyme Regis on the bus one of the days. That same afternoon, I walked to the top of the cliff with Sal.

IMG_4257Halfway up looking down at the bridge and the River Char.

I went into Lyme Regis the next day.

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Lyme Regis harbour.

In the centre of the photo, where the cliffs dip is where the River Char flows into the sea.

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Lyme Regis sea front.

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We managed to catch the tide out on one of the evenings, so a walk on the sand was called for.

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The last afternoon.

With the tent awning packed away ready for an early departure, once again we relaxed for a final time.

We’d had a week of stunning weather, and a holiday that almost ended early, finish with us not wanting to leave.