Monday, 17 December 2012

The Hound

Regular blog readers might have noticed I've been taking a blog break. Apologies – this wasn't planned. A few weeks ago, The Hound (that handsome stripy fella in my photo) fell ill, and twenty-four hours later, he had to be put to sleep. This post is written in his memory.

Dear Hound,

Do you remember the first time we met? I didn't know this then, but you were always wary of people you didn't know. Yet that day, a chilly November Saturday, you walked straight up to me, leant on me and looked up at me. Your gentle gaze hit me like a lightning bolt, and I knew from that moment that you were going to be mine.

Do you remember that day the following weekend when we brought you home? You'd never lived in a house before; never had a proper bed. The first time you lay down on your duvet and blankets, I could see the wonder in your eyes. At first, you wanted to be left alone, but as the evening progressed, you inched closer and closer to us – first laying in the doorway to the living room, then behind the armchairs, and finally, curling up on your blanket by my feet. And do you remember when you found the toys we'd bought for you? You'd never had those before, either, and when you chewed one and it squeaked, you couldn't work out where the sound was coming from.


Do you remember your first night here? Alone downstairs, you cried, until, ignoring the advice we'd been given by the kennels, we came downstairs to comfort you. And do you remember, after that, how quickly you settled in? How everyone who saw me out walking with you exclaimed over your size, your tiger-stripe markings and your gentleness? Watching you unwrap your presents that first Christmas was a joy. You got an orange ball which you chased all over the garden, leaping around like you were on springs.


Then, thanks to something that had happened to you before you came to us, you got sick. It took four months and a change of vets to get a diagnosis, during which time you were wasting away before our eyes. I was terrified we'd lose you, and couldn't believe you were going to be taken away from us so soon. But you were a fighter, and we fought for you too, and slowly, you began to come round. You weren't the same dog, and you would never be truly well again, but for us, that made you all the more special. Despite everything, you loved and trusted us, and we had a bond I've never known with any animal before. Life eventually returned to something like normal, and we were able to enjoy you more than ever before.

Do you remember the summer evening walks we used to go on, where you'd stalk through the long grass in the twilight, ears pricked up, your sharp eyes seeing things in the shadows we didn't even know were there? Do you remember how you used to get all your toys out of your basket, one by one, and fling them around? Do you remember lying on your 'sun lounger' in the garden, and I fetched a cushion to put under your head? Do you remember how you used to wait behind the front door when I got back from work, whinnying in excitement? 

I wish we could have had one more day with you. Three years was not enough. Without you in it, the world is a very different place, and I don't know if we'll ever get used to it. But I'm glad we got to share our lives with you for a while.

Rest in peace, The Hound. We'll never forget you. x



42 comments:

  1. Oh, Emma. I'm so, so sorry. I know you must be devastated. It was a wonderful thing that you found the Hound and had a chance to be his family, even if for quite a short while. He loved you so much, and absolutely knew down to the tips of his whiskers that you loved him too, and I'm sure some part of him is still with you, watching over you, and eventually this will help you to heal. *HUGS*

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    1. Thank you, Zoe. I'm sure he's still with us too. x

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  2. You gave him the best home you possibly could. I hope that gives you some comfort now.

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  3. Remember that his last few years were probably the most loving and exciting of all. It's good to have given him that xx

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  4. Oh, Emma, what a beautiful post and such a fitting eulogy for your furry baby. I am glad you had the time you had with them and he'll always be with you in your hearts. The poodles send their love, as do I xxxxx

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    1. Thank you so much, Nettie. He'll be in our hearts forever. xxx

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  5. I so feel for you Emma, My dachshund, Theo, passed on two years ago, and I'm still emotionally raw. I really want another hound, but can't quite bring myself to take that step. They really are part of the family and they leave a void when then pass on.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about Theo, Sally. It's just heartbreaking, isn't it? You don't realise just what a huge part of your life they've become until they're gone. Sending hugs. x

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  6. My heart still aches for you, Emma. What wonderful memories you have. The Hound was blessed to have you. xx

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  7. Oh Emma I knew I should have waited till I was home to read this post :-( Trying to pass off my teary eyes as the start of a cold!

    We lost our youngest cat earlier this year and it still breaks my heart to think of him.
    How does the Hound feel about cats? Tell him to keep an eye out for my little Bear – I think they could get up to a fair amount of mischief together.

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    1. I'm so sorry about Bear. (((hugs))) The Hound was a bit too interested in cats, if you know what I mean, but a kitten once put him firmly in his place, so I'm sure Bear will be able to do that too. ;) xx

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    2. We had a golden retriever living next door - he used to bop it on the nose through the gap in the fence! :-)

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  8. I'm so sorry, Emma -- I know he was your constant companion. They really do become such a part of our family, I know what you mean. Sending hugs, Julia

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  9. I'm sorry to read this.
    We lost our old dog over the summer holidays so your words are still relevant to me.
    http://mymumdom.com/a-week-without-wilf/
    Almost half a year later, our Lurcher proved herself unable to go on without canine company, so we now have The Puppy.
    He's not a replacement, we still have a big Wilfie sized hole in our hearts but we've managed to find room for another rescue dog as well.
    Maybe that will be an option too for you sometime, maybe not, either way I hope it will be okay.

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    1. Thank you, Jacq - just read your post and I know exactly how you must have been feeling. (((hugs))) We will definitely have another hound one day. As you say, it won't be a replacement – it could NEVER be a replacement – because the dog who's gone always leaves a gap that can't be filled, but there's too many dogs out there in need of a loving home to not rescue another!

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  10. Such a beautiful post Emma, you were truly blessed to have him, and he to have had you! I'll be thinking of you and The Hound when I give my Roxy her Christmas treats... Lovely memories and some brilliant photos!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. Please give Roxy a big hug from me. x

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  11. oh Em I am again very so sorry for your loss. The Hound was a pleasure to interview and I know that he is feeling your love and heartache wherever he is now (and possibly with lots of toys). Nothing I say - I know - can really heal what you are feeling but I just wanted to say how sorry I am again and that I am thinking of you.
    xo

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    1. Thank you, Rachel, I really appreciate it. And yes, I'm sure he has lots of toys where he is now… and the best bed in the house… and as many ear rubs as he could wish for… at least, I hope so. :)

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  12. Oh no! I'm so sorry about this, Emma. Surround yourself with people who know how hard it is to lose a pet xx

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  13. I'm so sorry. I understand how awful it is to lose a much-loved pet and furry member of the family. He had a wonderful life with you but I know it's hard to bear the loss. ((((((huge hugs))))) Sarah xxxx

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  14. What a wonderful piece for your wonderful boy. Thank you for sharing him with us all. I feel so much hurt for you both xxx

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  15. The Hound was so very lucky to have you in his life. xoxoxo

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  16. What a beautiful way to remember Le H, Em, and gorgeous pics too. Glad you were able to write about him, and hope your memories help pull you through. Sending love and hugs and a whine to Le H from Mol xx

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    1. Thank you, Abi & Mol. Love and hugs back to both of you. Xx

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  17. Emma, this was a beautiful post. I'm so sorry about Hound--from what I've heard and read and seen of him, he was an awesome companion. He had a great life with you guys!

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  18. Oh, no. I'm so sorry to hear this. I know you two had such a special bond. Hound seems like such a wonderful dog who will be missed greatly.

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    1. Thank you, Caryn. He was and he will.

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  19. I wasn't going to read this yet but while organising your post I ended up reading it. Oh Emma, such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend. I am so happy there are other people in the world who love their pets like family. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. I hope this eased the pain a little xx

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    1. Thank you, Viv (and sorry for delayed reply, I tried to comment yesterday and Blogger wouldn't let me!). Pets are just as much family as anyone else, and I feel so lucky to know lots of people who feel like that too. *Hugs* xx

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  20. A wonderful, eloquent and moving tribute to a very special dog. You were lucky to have each other.
    Susan

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  21. I'm reading this post, years after it happened, and it brings tears to my eyes because it reminds me of my Caleb, my first dog, who had to be put to sleep in September of 2013. Dogs touch your life in such a way that we can never forget them. I'm very glad your Hound had time with you, to be loved and cared for the way a dog should be—completely, like the special treasure he or she is.

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