We lost two dogs this year. Millie was only four years old. The kids had persuaded me to get another dog. George was getting on and wouldn’t live much longer and they were worried (ha!) that I would be lonely on my own. In the end I gave in, knowing that it would be me who did all the looking after, cleaning up and training, and so, just before Christmas 2009, we bought another Springer Spaniel.
Having competition gave George a new lease of life, he suddenly perked up and found energy from somewhere, eager not to let the young pretender usurp him as boss of the house. He was brilliant with her, the old master taming the young lively newcomer. He would lay chilled as she jumped all over him, pulling and nipping until he’d had enough and one snap would put her in her place. He was always the boss though, guarding the house, protecting our boundaries if anyone walked past. She would let him, always staying to the rear of him, respecting his position as family guardian. I thought that when his time eventually came she would never be able to bark or growl to scare people off. I was wrong. If George wasn’t around she strode around and held court, giving a warning bark to anyone that walked by.
Millie died suddenly four weeks after we’d been burgled. I often wonder if she had been kicked trying to defend our house. She certainly wasn’t the same afterwards but we shall never know. One morning in March she slipped away by my husband’s side as I spoke to the vet on the phone.
It was such a shock, that she went first. George went downhill soon afterwards and we finally had to have him put to sleep four weeks later. It was all very upsetting, losing two pets like that. George we had been preparing ourselves for but Millie was out of the blue. Losing a pet is like losing part of the family. There was no one waiting on the rug for me when I came home, no one hanging around for scraps, no one to sit on my feet in the winter.
So many things happened all at once that I wasn’t prepared to get another dog and focussed on the benefits of being dogless! It was so much easier to keep the house clean and I painted the utility room where they used to sleep in clean fresh white. Less time cleaning equals more time writing. Except soon I didn’t feel like writing, I didn’t feel like doing anything much at all.
Then along came Harry! My corridors are pawed with mud, my Barbour coat in shreds but he’s the reason I have to get up and go outside in all weathers. And I need a reason to get out and about. It’s all too easy to stay inside and hide away from the world. I walk in the fresh air, among the trees and heathland lifts my spirits and gets my morning off to a great start. I get time to mull over my ideas and sort a few knotty writing problems that always seem to flow better away from my desk. I’m not advocating that you get a dog to get your writing flowing but we can get outside in the fresh air and walk wherever we are. Try it and see if it helps get your thoughts in order.