12th June was the day our darling Dusty Dog died. She got a womb infection, made it through the operation but then her heart murmur worsened and she couldn’t be stabilised. We had to let her go. Cue devastation, and it’s taken me this long just to be able to write about her…
Dusty was a six year old rescue dog when we got her, her previous owner, a gamekeeper, was going to shoot her as she was no longer of use to him. You see, he’d worked her as a gun dog and then kept her for breeding, but when she lost a whole litter and had a caesarean… well, he couldn’t breed from her anymore so he certainly wasn’t going to waste money on feeding her. A friend of a friend persuaded him to let her be rehomed instead.
I’ll never forget the day we got her. She appeared in a doorway, her thick coarse kennel coat covered in mud, she’d come straight from a shoot. She trembled when we put her in our car, and as we drove away, the mutual friend said, ‘Oh, she’s never been inside a house so expect a few accidents…’
We got home and Dusty ran to the centre of the cream rug by the fire, within twenty minutes it was black, she’d shed her kennel coat through nerves, but with a decent diet and plenty of love, I’m convinced of it, her coat became soft and shiny. We never had an accident, Dusty loved the comfort of blankets, sleeping on the sofa, she loved being stroked, she loved running in the woods and swimming in the stream.
Dusty was my friend, sweet-natured, gentle, protective, she knew every time I was pregnant, even before I did, she would jump on me and nuzzle her chin on my tummy. Then when I miscarried, she wouldn’t leave my side, even following me to the loo, she would lie on the floor when I was in the bath and would gently lick the back of my hand and rest her chin on my lap whenever I cried.
I miss her so much. I miss her snoring on the sofa in my office while I work. Sometimes it was so loud, I couldn’t actually hear myself to write. I miss her sitting next to me, looking all regal as she doofed me with her paw for a tummy rub. I miss her running the length of the garden towards me, then panting and wriggling her body with excitement. I miss her intelligence, you know, one Christmas, we wrapped up a bag of treats and put them under the tree, at least a week before Christmas Day, and she hadn’t even touched them. On the morning of the 25th December, we woke up to see her strolling into our bedroom carrying the present in her mouth! Now that’s magic right there.
When we brought QT home, Dusty turned into Mummy Dog, she would lay on the floor, putting herself between QT and the door, and the only time I heard her bark was when a builder came to the house and walked into the room where QT was playing.
When we got Dusty, our vet diagnosed a grade four heart murmur and said we’d lucky if we got a couple of years with her. He also said that she may live longer if she was happy… we had six wonderful years with her. I like to think she was happy and that she’s running free now, our wee soul, as Mr B always called her.
Right, I’m off to find a tissue and to give Monty Dog a big cuddle…