Thursday, September 24, 2015

Farewell, Old Friend..

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Farewell, Old Friend

She lay still on her bed, knowing that her old body was slipping away long before her head and her heart were ready. I cupped her heavy head in the palm of my hand, nuzzled her old grey face and she gazed back at me with her black eyes, pushing aside the pain she was enduring.  Both she and I knew what that nuzzle meant.

It was a little over a month ago when our beloved HoneyDog above left us at the ripe old age of seventeen. I haven't been ready to share, not so much because of any great sense of overwhelming sadness, but more because I wanted to write about her with spirit, with happy reflection and with love - completely befitting to the gracious old dame that she was.

We are well aware that we shared so much more time with our Honey than many; seventeen happy, healthy years is considered to be a life well lived in a rescue dog like her. And she knew it too. Honey always had a sense of owing those around her - it's weird to imagine a dog embracing the concept of gratitude, but she really did live her life with a serve, protect and behave mentality. I think if you're an animal person, you will always have that ONE companion who you remember as the 'special one', the one who had the greatest impact on your life. To me and in fact to all us, that was definitely her.

We knew losing Honey was coming but the knowing doesn't really make it any easier. From around the age of about fourteen, we began to see any year that rolled past as a bonus and thankfully, we had an abundance of those bonus years which were largely free of illness. Last year she was diagnosed with suspected cancer, but when a dog is sixteen cancer seems like a non-event as you're aware that there's a multitude of other things that could take her as the old body gives up.  So, on the vet's advice, we basically forgot about it, did nothing and thankfully it never had any impact - it was not the reason she left us in the end. One night, she had simply had enough.

Honey came to us in 2001 on the day before the twin towers came crashing down. We bought our first house as a couple and promptly marched to the RSPCA to select the perfect 'furbaby' to complete our 'family'. Truth be told, she wasn't anywhere near perfect in the early years - a messed up rescue dog who has been badly treated bonds to you like superglue much quicker than you expect and of course, quickly decides that whenever you're out of sight the world is coming to a dark end. Separation anxiety becomes an inconvenient part of your daily ritual and I laugh now at all the things we would do to try and trick her into thinking we were still there while we were actually at work - generally she couldn't be fooled for long though so there was always something unpleasant to come home to. Still, you learn to deal with the anxiety and you're more than rewarded by their love, loyalty and staunch companionship. Looking back I wouldn't change a thing (except maybe having to re-spray Mr MotherLoad's prized 1971 Porsche after she dragged her enormous bone onto the roof of the car so she could keep a closer eye on the street where we would eventually return - OUCH.)

Nonetheless, resprayed cars and ruined back doors in every house we ever owned aside, she was truly worth every maintenance bill and headache. As fate would have it, we recently sold that first house we bought in 2001 and the day before we handed the keys onto the next owner, Honey died, closing that long chapter in more ways than one. Saying goodbye to our house and to her in one day was very strange and poignant but weirdly appropriate in some ways.

Honey was our companion, our comforter, my co-worker and protector for fifteen years and while it was hard to say goodbye, we hope she's up there with the countless number of other pets who have come and gone in our family during our lifetime. We imagine she's swimming in an ocean and catching a frisbee somewhere up there, and we hope there's a chicken neck or two waiting for her at the end of each day.

Vale HoneyBear.



  1. As an owner of four dogs and a complete humaniser of dogs I can say that I feel your pain Sophie. The terrible thing about having a beloved pet is that they're only with us for a short time. Honey Bear clearly lived in a loving family and had a wonderful life. I'm positive she's chowing down on chicken necks as we speak.She looks like a grand old dame indeed.

    1. Thanks for your lovely words, Pinky. I'm truly impressed by your ownership of four loving hounds! It's very strange having a dog free house for the first time in my life. There will be another furry family member one day soon, I'm sure. x

  2. Dearest Sophie
    Quite your finest piece of writing. beautiful!
    Thank you! Xxxx FGM

    1. Thank you so much, FGM - needed to be written. And look! You commented with success! I love that. xx