This week my 11-year old yellow Labrador passed away. At 11 years old he was up for retirement but it did little to stem the tsunami of grief that flowed from all family members. Even his closest mate, Pom the cat, (with whom he shared a water bowl) seemed to want to join in, uttering long low howls while she searched for him around the house.
Leo was, how can I put this delicately, not under-nourished. He weighed 54 kilos. This gave him a certain presence that was difficult to ignore. Couple that to the gentlest of natures and an indescribable loyalty (mainly to his mum) and you can understand why he earned a place right in the heart of and in the hearts of the family.
Having never owned a dog as a youngster the whole dog-owning journey was a first for me. I now know how easy it is to be beguiled by the love and attention of these characterful and entertaining creatures. How over the years this can become an indescribably close bond and how grief-laden its conclusion can be. It’s a big commitment but a huge reward.
Leo had a pretty good life as dog’s lives go; we gave him all the love we could. The difference is he gave us all the love he had.