Dogs, ah dogs. I have lived with and loved dogs since childhood and, when it is time to say goodbye because of illness or accident, and that fateful decision must be made for the sake of the beloved dog, the heartbreak felt is unbearable but I honour my dogs by writing a short piece, I would like to share this with you in memory of a a good dog.
The Irish ambassador .
An Irish ambassador has died, you won’t know his name, you probably have never heard of him, but behind the scene, his name was know to a small group of people and he was dearly loved and well respected. He wasn’t famous, he wasn’t a politician or a banker. He wasn’t a movie star, he hadn’t written a world’s bestseller. He didn’t own a yacht or a villa in Barbados. He didn’t even have a paid job or a pension. What he did have was a tremendous joy in life, what he did have was of huge influence on people and yes, on their dogs. What he had was priceless, no value could be set on it.
You see, this Ambassador was not a person, he was a dog. A dog of a certain breed, one of the “feared and aggressive” breeds. A breed never to be trusted, certainly not with kids or adults for that matter. A breed so misunderstood and feared that they must always be muzzled when out in public. The breed? A Rottweiler , yes, one of those.
This gentle teddy bear of a dog, this dog who was kept as a “guard dog” in a dismantlers yard, to protect against “intruders or thieves” , was utterly useless as a guard. Why? Because he was terrified of his owner and scared stiff of people. This soft-hearted dog was misunderstood. He just had the normal temperament of a good dog, a good dog that was not kept in good conditions, who was fed scraps and the odd bone. A good dog that was so used to being kicked that he would not make eye contact with anyone. A good dog, who, when I first saw him, shivered in fear when I approached him. A good dog who managed, through sheer courage and desperate need, to come close enough to me to allow himself to be touched. This good dog broke my heart and some days later I returned and, after much haggling on the owners part, took him home with me for the small sum of €150.00.
This good dog had never met cats, this good dog never harmed a hair on their heads. This good dog became an Ambassador for his breed. This good dog played with every dog he met when walking in the woods. This good dog managed, through his absolute love of people, to overcome their fear and prejudice. This good dog made many friends in his area, adults, children and dogs loved him. This good dog, in the short time he had with us, changed the perception of the breed and people were impressed at his friendliness and his charm. This good dog became a friend to many dogs and people. This good dog was always greeted by name and his master was greeted as an afterthought. This good dog was well known in his locality, this good dog was impressive in size and in spirit. This good dog was impressive because of the lasting impressions he left with everyone who met him.
This good dog was diagnosed with bone cancer in early September and this good dog could not be saved. This good dog was only three years old when he came to us and this good dog was only six years and ten months when he left us on the 23rd December 2013. On that fateful day we had to make the heart-wrenching, gut-churning decision to let him go. He told us it was time and we knew it was, he did not want to go for his walk in the woods. His eyes clearly expressed his sadness and so we did what had to be done, even though saying goodbye tore us apart inside. Two surgeries to remove the dead tissue in his jaw and many, many pain relief tablets bought him time for a while and he enjoyed his life right up to his last day. He was still chasing deer in the woods and returning from the chase with his happy face but on that day sadness was all he showed.This good dog was, at times, the most stubborn and wilful dog I have known. This good dog was also the clumsiest dog. This good dog was loving and gentle. This good dog loved life, his people and all who encountered him. This good dog impressed the vets by his exceptional well-behaved manner and the fact that they could do whatever they wanted to him, he would not bat an eyelid.
This good dog allowed his teeth, eyes and ears to be examined without a murmur. This good dog sat patiently in the surgery while the vet examined another of my animals.
This good dog was just that, a good dog. This good dog was our dog, our dog that wagged his stump of a tail every time we looked at him. This good dog greeted the cats with a sniff every time they returned home. This good dog loved his food and treats and lying by the fire and rooting for rubbish in the woods, This good dog begged for food from workers in the woods. This good dog always got some of their lunch. Over the years, many people have told us that Bruno had inspired them to go out and get a dog. This good dog has left such a gap in this household and in our hearts and in our lives. This good dog was loved. This Irish Ambassador did not have a state funeral, there was no champagne, no caviar, and no bugle call over his grave. This good dog will live on, in our hearts and in our minds. This good dog was a Rottweiler. This good dog was our beloved dog.
From The Corner of My Eye
Sometimes, from the corner of my eye,
I see your shadow, but know you’re not there.
There is no substance to you now,
Only your memory remains. Still you exist.
I have felt your presence, but cannot see.
You liquefy in a teardrop, and in my mind’s eye
I see you clearly. The past rolls away.
Still you exist; your eyes clear brown pools of love.
Memory lives, and while I live you will never die.
Still you exist. December, a time to remember.
Dog, vet and death too. Arms missing your warmth.
You sleep, but weave your shadow over me.
The days have passed, yet you remain,
Close in my memory. Still you exist.
Sleep on, my dog, sleep on.