Within the world of dogs in which I find myself, there is a date that arises once a year and is a cause for celebration, thanks and thoughtfulness. Whether the fur concerned is a pup, re-homed or rescued like I have been, the day in question is the Gotcha Day. It represents the first day we wandered into our new forever homes to start our new lives.
I arrived in my forever home on 19th December 2013 and I really didn’t know what to think, let alone what to expect from this new house and these new pawrents. I had been in a home before and for one reason or another it hadn’t worked out. So, here I was in another new home and it looked nice, it was warm and there were plenty of beds and places to sleep as well as a crate with blanket covers so I could retreat there if I felt anxious.
Fast forward five years and I have a great life. I am safe, loved and I know that this is my forever home.
I can celebrate my luck in finding the right pawrents to look after me.
I can give thanks to them and all my friends who welcomed me and made me feel loved and wanted.
I am thoughtful for the other furs who remain in kennels, pounds, rescue centres and worse still are unloved and abused all around the world. If I could wave a magic wand and give them all a loving home, I would do without a seconds delay.
Occasionally I hear of people and I sit up and listen to every word. In this vein, there was someone born on 13th December 1963 who was bright, intelligent and funny. He was good at school, was a great son and brother along with a good friend to all. He looked out for his siblings and was always there to ride his bike, play games with his brothers and was forever seeking to listen and learn about new things. At school his teachers all said he did well in his lessons.
Then on Good Friday 12th April 1974 he went into hospital and doctors found out he wasn’t very well. There was an initial diagnosis of pneumonia. When they found out the real cause the doctors said he needed to have treatment which would be painful and might not work. This made his family and everyone else worried. They all wanted him to be better and able to do well at school and grow up to be a fine man. Sadly he spent a long time in hospital having the painful treatment and he couldn’t keep up his school work. He couldn’t have fun with his brothers and sisters, as well as his friends. He went back to school in September 1974 once the chemotherapy had been stopped and radiotherapy commenced. He couldn’t walk the mile and a half to and from school as he was so weak, but he was determined to live as full a life as possible. He had been on holiday to Cornwall with the family, in the summer.
On Sunday 8th December 1974 my nan & grandad were crying when my dad got out of bed. My uncle David died of lung cancer. Apparently it was genetic.
The funeral was on his 11th birthday on 13th December 1974. All the family were present. His entire school class was there. Everyone loved my uncle David and everyone misses him so much now. I know my dad and Minnie da Minx’s mum miss him every day, as do his other siblings. My nanny has a quiet time to herself every year. I will give her special leg leans when I next see her.
Listening to my dad, I miss my uncle David. He is the uncle I will never meet.
It was the dead of night and my parents were out of bed and making ready for the day ahead. After weeks of chicanery and subterfuge with various friends, we were at last on our way to rural Shropshire to make Charley’s parents cry, albeit in the nicest possible fashion. They were blissfully unaware of our impending arrival and this was the way it was supposed to be.
We met up with Raffa Beagle and her mum, and thence on to Charleys house. “Oh my, what are you doing here?” asks Charleys mum, whilst his dad expressed similar surprise from an upstairs window. “Who, us? Oh we were just passing and thought we would drop by to see you”. Griff the Beagle and Boot the Cocker bounded out to greet us and the humans settled down for coffee, buns and chatter, all the time waiting for the unexpected delivery.
After an hour or so, panic sets in as there is no sign of the delivery truck bringing the unknown gift for Charley’s M&D. Off we set on our walk with Raffa and her mum having to turn back as it is feeding time. After phone calls it appears that the delivery will arrive, however not until later in the day. “Do you not realise we have people from London and Liverpool who have taken time off and driven for hundreds of miles to be here?”. The rest of us kept going around the fields and arrive at Charley’s final resting place. It is a place of contemplation and maybe some sorrow but also of great beauty, looking out over the fields where he would run, roam, laze and watch the world go by, all in the shadow of the Shropshire Hills.
“Who’s that at the door?” – action stations and all hands to the pump time. Charley must have known something was up for, as soon as the unknown package was removed from the truck, a wonderful double rainbow appeared over the house with one end landing close by Charley’s last resting place. To see the look upon the faces of Charley’s M&D when the bench was removed from the crate, of joy mixed with reminiscence of some long held thoughts, was strangely comforting to us all. The culmination of a plan to honour Charley had borne fruit, and the fruit was mellow and welcomed. Griff explored the bench quizzically. Boot strolled in his nonchalant fashion toward the bench. Charley’s M&D sat upon the bench and looked at the rainbow stretching over the house and toward the fields and hills.
A suitable tribute, a timely reminder and a place of contemplation. All considered, it was a good day. I could return home content. I am not sure that we made Charley’s M&D cry, but I hope we made their hearts feel full of the love of their friends.