FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS! The Canines who stole my heart.
There have always been canines in my life. If I’d suffered from any dog-driven allergies as a child, it would have been really ruff because my parents would have had me re-homed.
FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS! HONEY
When I was still strapped inside my pram, my parents bought a Corgie puppy, Honey. As soon as I was upwardly mobile, Honey became my constant companion for the next fourteen years.
While still adjusting to life after my father’s death, I was looking forward to the summer holidays. De-mob happy, after being released from that borstal-like boarding institution that my mother referred to as school, to enjoy endless weeks in the summer sunshine, with the ever faithful Honey by my side.
My recently, but very merry widowed mother was nowhere to be seen when I arrived home, and neither was Honey. I ran around the house and garden calling her name – Honey, not Mummy. It was my mother’s handyman who delivered the core-shattering news that Honey was now buried under the cherry tree in the paddock.
I sat with my back propped up against the cherry tree nursing my broken heart until it was dark, which was when my mother rocked up. I startled her and she panicked. She thought I’d run away from school because my face was covered in tear-stained mud. Apparently, she had forgotten I was coming home that day.
‘Why didn’t you tell me about Honey, Mummy?’ I wailed. For once, she was speechless.
After Honey’s demise, I spent eight years roaming aimlessly in the dog-less wilderness, until I visited my mother and step-father one weekend to get my canine fix. Their furry four-legged family had just increased to three with the addition of a springer spaniel puppy called Tiger.
FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS – TESSA
I was fed the story that we were going to visit the owners of Tiger parents, to show them what a handsome boy he was growing into and, apparently, there was still one puppy that hadn’t been sold. When we arrived, my step-father put that puppy in my arms and said, ‘I think we should call this one your dog.’ I was over the moon dog.
I wanted to call my new baby Bessie, which was quickly vetoed by my mother who thought Bessie was a name for a sheepdog, and Tessa might be ‘more appropriate’. Curiously, the name Tessa would become synonymous with my writing life.
Springer spaniel Tessa and I absconded to the Channel Islands a couple of years later, much to my mother’s pique.
Tessa loved me so much. She was a one woman dog. Insanely jealous of anybody coming near me, especially boyfriends, which made it difficult to sustain a long-term relationship!
At 14, Tessa, like Honey, sprung over the rainbow bridge. Yet again, I was devastated, finding myself alone in the dog-less wilderness nursing a broken heart. I vowed I would never to have another dog because it is too painful when something happens to them.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATS – TILLY, OLLIE AND MISHA
Desperate for a furry friend, I went catty. Not that being catty makes the pain of losing them any less. I also found out that giving your heart to a cat is so much more stressful. They come and go when they please. You spend sleepless nights worrying about why they haven’t come home. When you finally do drift into a fitful sleep they bound in announcing their arrival and demanding attention at 4.a.m.
Never lose your heart to an animal, because, after they love you, unconditionally, they’ll break your heart. It’s a cruel twist that their lifespans are so much shorter than ours.
FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS! CASSIE
A few years ago, the catties got a shock when we bought home a Shorkie and christened her Cassie.
I had said over and over again, ‘I don’t want another dog!’ But my arm was twisted and Cassie found her way into my heart as soon as we made eye contact and I can’t imagine life without her.
She is the only one that never complains when I sing. I can sing my way through a whole performance of Blood Brothers when we are out walking in the fields and she never bats and eye, or an ear. Although I suspect that, sometimes, she may be selectively deaf. For example, the words come here are often difficult to catch, especially when it’s windy, and you are feisty by nature.
I’m always bending her adorable little floppy ears when voicing my concerns, and she listens to me intently, agreeing with everything I say.
She is my constant companion, my leveler and my muse. She never answers back and everything, perhaps with the exception of bath time, is her favourite thing. Oh, for the love of dogs, here I go again.