Yesterday I lost my dog.
He had battled kidney failure, arthritis, spinal problems, hip dysplasia and anaemia. He was hard of hearing, and he couldn’t see well, but that totally didn’t stop him. He was 13 and 3/4, his birthday was coming up- he was a Christmas eve puppy.
In his younger days, he was the fastest dog on the block. He would run as fast as he could to the front door and jump up with a splat, woofing from his boots. This fearsome display would terrorise postmen and boilermen alike, until they realised that he was only jumping up because he was far too pleased to see them! He would lick you to death, we would always say, and that was true. Terry had the biggest heart of any dog I have ever known.
If any of us were sick, he would come and sit with us until we felt better. He would lift up his big, soft-furred head for us to stroke, and the end of his tail would swish gently on the floor in bliss. He was exactly the same with me whilst I was really depressed. He would lick my hand to try and cheer me up, get me off the floor when I was crying with his no nonsense happy attitude- he needed a walk, and he needed it now! I have lost count of the tears I’ve cried into his fur, him sitting there stoically and taking it all like the noble hound he was. Just seeing him in the morning could flip my day from bad to bearable, or good, within a matter of minutes. He was my personal therapy dog, patient and loving and loyal.
He was hilarious, too. He was big and a little goofy and so over-enthusiastic about life. He would bring you his scruffy bit of rope with a huge doggy grin plastered all over his face, and you would try to take it from him only to find he would back off, that long shaggy tail switching to and fro in excitement. “Chase me!” was written all over him, so of course we would oblige. He would gallumph off and we would run with him, laughing our heads off.
One of his favourite games as a youngster was ‘get that dog!’, which involved him whizzing around our back garden, evading capture as we each tried to catch him. None of us were able to! He was speedy and light on his feet. Many was the time on long walks that I had to yell at him “not too far Terry!” and he would whip round and wait patiently for me.
He lived for food, too. Oh gods, did he love his food. The same dog food he ate for years was the best thing EVER, no matter how many times he ate it. He would perk up immediately if we mentioned breakfast or tea, and he used to bow for his meals. He would stretch his front legs out, low to the floor, so his back end would stick up comically. He would pirouette in tight circles in glee, excited for his tasty tea. He was so funny at Christmas- we used to give him a little bit of Christmas dinner, as a treat from his tightly controlled diet, and he would stare at us in rapture as the heavenly dish descended. He would glomp, smacking his chops in anticipation, even if it was just a dog biscuit.
Walks were so much fun. He was so happy to go- he would leap into the boot and sit down smartly, excited for the chance yo go and swim, or play with the other dogs in the fields, or scavenge for unwary fishermen’s sandwiches! Naughty boy. He would attempt to eat the bread left for the geese and ducks, and quite often get pecked for his trouble! He loved to sniff and run and be free for an hour or two, and he loved playing chase or fetch or silly games with a plastic bottle. He could jump, although he wasn’t allowed to, and quite often he would surprise us by jumping over a fence he wasn’t supposed to!
He was a big softie, too. He would climb up on your knee for a cuddle, despite his size. He was as heavy as a ten year old child, but that didn’t stop him from climbing onto your knee and groaning in happiness if you let him stay for half an hour. He would often fall asleep there, only shifting to bark loudly at the doorbell. He would fall asleep on the floor at your feet with one slim paw wrapped around your feet. He used to drag my mum in the house with gentle teeth round her sleeve, so pleased she was home.
Terry was a pretty handsome boy. He was born into an old bloodline so he was brindled- the flecks of grey around his mouth and on his legs were originally golden brown. His head was proud, his tail full and swishy, his coat shiny and smooth. He had a lovely, gentle face, and was kind with children and attracted admiration from everyone. He was pretty much incapable of taking a bad picture- a goofy one, a silly one maybe, but never an ugly one. He was good inside and out.
In these last few months, I have tried to give to him everything he ever gave to me. He was my best friend- I tried to be his. He helped me through the darkest time in my life- I tried to help him through his last illness. I hand fed him, I cuddled him, I kissed his head and cleaned up his messes. I told him he was a good boy- because he was. He was the best friend a girl could ask for.
I will miss him every day. I hope that he us with my gramps on the rainbow bridge, Gramps throwing sticks and he fetching them and trying to get a younger, fitter Gramps to chase him. I hope one day I get to see them again.
Thanks to everyone for being here for me. And join me in raising a glass to the best dog who ever lived- Terry Jason Bone, my best friend.