A dog’s tale…

posted in: Family | 2

It’s taken a while to write this and it wasn’t easy. This is also a rather selfish, mainly for me, blog post. I just felt a cathartic impulse to write. A lot of people will have been there and experienced the pain, while others (probably non pet people) will be thinking what the hell is all the fuss about. I am a pet person. I’m a massive pet person and that makes all of this oh so hard…

Calvin & Hobbes - Dead racoon

So for those who haven’t been bombarded with my incessant social-media updates recently, our beloved Springer Spaniel, Baggins, died on 29th November. He was in a bad way. To be honest he had been for a while, but we were clinging on in the hope of a cure. Sadly it wasn’t to be, so we had to make the hardest decision we’ve ever made. And boy was it hard. I honestly can’t imagine ever having to do something worse than this. Baggins had been a huge part of our lives for almost 12 years. Baggins had been a part of Sawyer’s entire life. We told him that Baggins might not return from the vets and perhaps he might want to say goodbye. We thought it best… It was absolutely crushing to see Sawyer so upset.

Lots of people had told us that we’d know when the time was right, and they were bang on. If I’m honest, I never imagined there would ever be a right time to give up on my beloved dog.  That’s why we clung onto him for as long as possible. Praying for some magical cure. An incorrect diagnosis. A miracle. Neither came. Sadly our beloved Baggins just got worse, very  quickly and it was painful to see. The vets had suspected a lung tumor, which we’d instantly dismissed. Wrongly!!! Surgery for a nearly 12 year old dog would be hugely risky, insanely expensive and offer hardly any real hope of curing our lovely dog… As hard as it was, we did know that our time with Baggins had come to an end 🙁

Yes it was quick and yes the vets were lovely (they really were), but boy was it heart wrenching. For Baggins I have to keep telling myself that it was a massive relief. He really was in a bad way. For the rest of us, we are now left with this gaping hole where once our bouncy crazed hound had once been. We see him literally everywhere and it’s oh so painful. Our sofa is empty without him marauding upon it, our house is deathly quiet without his clattering of feet, knocks on the door are now bark-less, food leftovers are now tipped into the bin, our carpets are hairless, walks are a lot less fun & visitors to our house are now greeted with a kindly hello, instead of the explosive tail/bottom wagging that usually met them; he liked people (all people) a lot!!!. I’m sat typing this late at night, alone on a sofa, where usually I’d be battling for space with a larger than life springer spaniel. Time will heal, it always does and eventually we’ll be able to laugh & reminisce about all the fun we had with our beloved pooch…

Hard to imagine that our crazed hound began life being terrorized by our cats. Our tiny dog (yes he was small once) would sit trembling in the corner of the room. Our stairs were too big and even the sofa, which he would later adopt as his own, was too high for our little dog. The cat-flap however was perfect and he spent the first few months of his life leaping happily in & out of our house. Baggins grew quickly. He continued to use the cat-flap, but now needed a little brute force to squeeze through. The outcome was inevitable and our poor cat-flap was patched & taped back together more times than I can remember. Eventually he would just stick his massive head through and wait for the door to be opened!!!

It’s probably a good time to apologise to all the people that Baggins has stolen things from over the years. It was mostly food, but not always. Sawyer still has a vast collection of cuddly toys that have suffered horrific injuries. Most kids would wince at the mere sight of the stitched together toys. For us, they’re a little reminder. Shoes were another favourite. He also had a brief mobile-phone phase which a few stunned friends unfortunately discovered. He was very thorough and not a lot remained 😯 Luckily this was a while back; pre-smartphones & when mobiles were a little more dispensable (that’s what we told people anyway!!!). Books, cushions, birthday cakes, tupperware containers, blocks of cheese, frozen meat, fish from the oven, loaves of bread, the contents of the bin, the post and Sawyer’s breakfast, dinner & tea were other favorites… He was a prolific thief.

Baggins made our life hugely complicated & stressful at times. He was a nightmare on his lead and even more so off it. He had absolutely no concept of how to safely travel in a car/camper-van. People on push-bikes were a complete mystery to him (I’m amazed there weren’t more casualties!!!) Containing him inside a tent was impossible. Keeping him out of other people’s tents equally so. Taking him to work was a complete minefield (I gave up eventually). Mud, leaves, twigs, bramble & grass would be constantly traipsed through our house. He loved to roll in cow shit!!! Almost everything we owned was covered in dog hairs. He snored, very loudly. Barked (loudly) at the slightest noise. He was clumsy. He would break things. He would choose to lie in the most awkward of places. He would kill practically everything I attempted to grow in the garden, not by pissing on them, he simply trampled things to death 😯 We truly hated our beloved Baggins at times… But never for long; you couldn’t. Even the people who’s shoes he ate or mobiles he destroyed didn’t seem to hate our dog for long. The day he ate one of my trusty sketchbooks took a little longer to forgive…

We’ve been through a lot with our loyal hound; a hell of a lot. For the last 12 years he’s been there (usually sat on my feet). He’s been on holidays with us, he’s been to parties with us. Baggins has moved house with us (twice), he was there when Sawyer was born and he was also there when our house caught fire!!! The poor fireman who carried Baggins down a ladder probably still tells people how our dog pissed all over him!!!

Baggins was loved by many, he was larger then life, a character. He was special, he was loud, he was lively, he was a bugger. He was spectacular. He was so much more than just a dog. Baggins was a massive part of our family and we’ll all miss him dearly. We could never replace Baggins (there was only one), and until a few days ago I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of ever having another dog; the loss was just too painful… But we have now started to look at puppies 🙂 It won’t be Baggins, but it will go some way into filing the huge hole that our crazy, lovely, hound left us.

To our beloved Baggins & all the fun you gave us XXX

Baggins (Jan 2002 - Nov 2013)