Travel well

It has been very warm here in the UK over recent days. Some may say tropical and I have to agree with that sentiment. As I age it seems that the heat gets to me more readily and I feel rather unwell more often than I would like. Fortunately my parents are somewhat in tune with my inability to tolerate high heat throughout the day and night and they are aware that I need numerous trips to the garden during the twilight hours to make sure the carpets don’t need professional cleaning. During my day time wandering around the house, Lenny looks up from his various sleeping positions and casts a wistful eye upon my predicament. He doesn’t seem to suffer the same level of heat illness that I do, which is good. In any case we were supposed to go to the beach yesterday however, due to the weather remaining in the high 30’s and me still feeling a little poorly, we decided against it.

Waking up yesterday I strolled around the house, patrolled the garden looking for squirrels or cats and returned to be shackled and made ready to go for a walk. As I look up my dad looked at mum and said the phrase which is becoming far too familiar to my friends and I recently. He uttered “Another one has made their longest journey”, at which point Lenny and I got a tickle and were told that we are very precious.

Nine weeks old.

I have never met Tyrrell as she lived in Australia with her sister Tink, along with their mums. Lenny and I were privileged to meet their mums at the Beagle World Record Reunion. Tyrrell was fifteen recently and celebrated with a stroll into the park and a wade into the river. She was one of my first pals on Twitter and since I first spoke to her, I knew she was a funny and happy beagle. She was one of the naughty beagles who did some very silly things and cost her mum a fair chunk of money in vets bills. Eating part of her Greenies Toothbrush as well as chewing and consuming a nice handbag are a good indication of her ability to endear herself to her mum, as well as the vets bank account. She loved her little sister despite saying she “sort of liked” her but, I suppose, its a little like Lenny and I. Young siblings are a bit of a pain sometimes even if secretly we love them very much. I don’t think that Tink had the same vampiric tendencies as Lenny so Tyrrell was spared the indignity of having her ears look like colanders. Tink will miss her an awful lot, as they have been living with each other for eleven years or so. Tyrrell amused me by playing along with my stereotypical efforts at telling her to watch out for dangerous snakes, spiders, crocodiles, jellyfish and death drop bears all of which inhabit Australia. She reassured me that there were no saltwater crocs in her local river, but I wasn’t so sure. I do notice that she sometimes sent Tink into the river first though, probably just to check it out.

She was a friend to all, she laughed, joked and cried with the rest of us whenever we shared stories of fun and sadness. Now she is no longer in sight, only forever in our hearts and minds and we will all remember her with love and respect for being a fun and happy fur. When I heard that she hadn’t been well recently and, it seems, she was suffering, her mum took the most difficult but kindest decision. She was holding Tyrrell as she slipped away to make her longest journey. This is all we ask from our parents. Love and kindness when we are here, then love and compassion when it is time for us to leave.

I lay awake early this morning and looked around. Lenny was in his bed next to me snoozing quietly whilst my parents were catching the last vestiges of sleep before we pounce on dads kidneys on our way to the kibble bag in mums bedside cabinet. I realised that I am the luckiest beagle ever. I’m getting older and a bit wobblier every day but I still get to run around chasing Lenny and getting gently told off by mum and dad when I eat something disgusting on a walk.

Run free Tyrrell sweetie, find those who have gone before you and relax in the warmth of the everlasting meadow and their companionship. Your friendship, humility and fun will live on.

Farewell to another friend, never goodbye. Rest easy Tyrrell.

Gone too soon.

At 12.15 today 7th January 2022 my cousin Minnie made her longest journey. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on New Years Eve. I wanted to place in writing my admiration for her.

Minnie was found tied to a fence in Epping Forest, which is on the north east London and Essex borders. Her rescuers estimated she was between 15-18 months old when she was found. This was in 2017. Just let that sink in a little. She wasn’t even two years old and she had been abandoned!

Minnie’s first day

Once she had been rescued and was being looked after, my auntie and uncle went to see Minnie and decided she would go to live with them. I found out very soon after they had made the decision to adopt Minnie. My heart sang with happiness. I knew she would be looked after like royalty as they had rescued greyhounds before and both of the greyhounds had lived wonderfully happy lives. So it was that in early October 2017 Minnie found herself a forever home and she quickly set about making it her manor. She was swiftly into training her new parents and getting them used to servicing her every whim.

Minnie walked every day, she went on holidays to Suffolk and Cornwall. When she was away, she waded in the sea, chased rabbits in the long grass, whizzed along the beach after her ball and laid roaching in the sand with a grin on her face. She was a pub dog, she visited homes and gardens, she went to see her grandparents and I even got to meet her once. Sadly I made an idiot of myself and I have felt guilty ever since. At home she would be chasing deer, rabbits and squirrels across the marshy areas around the river Arun. She even managed to need rescuing by the Fire and Rescue people as she got stuck on a little island in the middle of a tidal river. She had swam across and could not return.

After her shenanigans in the river she was limping a little and it wasn’t getting better so she was looked over by the vet and it was thought she would need some treatment for what seemed a strain type injury. When the X-Rays came back, the prognosis changed as there were signs of advanced cancer in her front right leg and shoulder.

Minnie made her longest journey today. She follows many others to the place where there is no pain or suffering and where there is only soft light and warm meadows. It is the kindest and yet most difficult decision that our parents can make for us when our bodies are tired and cannot keep going.

I will miss you Minnie. Very much.

Today I have the saddest ears, for Minnie was a sweetie of a dog. She was, and is, an angel in the true sense as she was happy and loved and she touched the lives of all those who came across her. She had a great life once she had been rescued and found her forever home. My auntie and uncle changed her life, and changed it for the better. They gave Minnie a life of love, comfort and showed her she was cherished. She will be looking down at them with love in her heart.

Run free Minnie furcuz, free from aches, ills and pain. Free to chase the rabbits for as long as you want. Free to feel the warm sun on your back. You are released from your duties down here. Farewell Minnie, for it is never goodbye. We shall meet again some day.

Time flies

It was Lenny’s birthday two days ago. He is now three. He had a good day with a nice walk in the morning and I noticed that there were some extra treats being slipped into his food. The parents think I don’t see these things. As a scent hound I may not see them but I do smell them. I don’t mind, it was his big day and as an older brother I am not going to spoil it for him.

Onto other things. It was a year ago today that my nanny went to the Rainbow Bridge. Time has flown since dad got a phone call whilst we were out on our walk, that nanny had passed away overnight. Dad was very sad to hear the news from his sister but knew it was coming. In fact it comes to us all at some point. I remember we finished our walk and Lenny and I got extra tickles and a kiss on the bonce once we had snaffled our second breakfast. He told us that nanny had gone to the Rainbow Bridge and was now in the company of too many of our pals who had already made their longest journey. We understood that we wouldn’t be able to get tickles or naughty treats from her, and nor would we be able to give her leg leans any more. We were sad as we liked getting tickles from nanny. She was the one who said “if you can’t say anything nice, then say nothing”. This is something I apply every day. I’m happy that she got to meet Lenny on a few occasions although she did get him and me mixed up the first time he visited her.

I know dad misses her everyday but he is comforted a little that she is no longer suffering or in pain. He cannot be naughty or cheeky and get told he will get a clip round the ear. We are all sad that she never got to see our new house as I think she would have liked it quite a bit. She is with grandad now and at peace.

Love you nanny, fly high.

Life is shorter than we all think sometimes. When we are young we think we are invincible and old age is in the far distance so we often don’t think to say what we feel. I will give dad an extra leg lean today so he knows we are all a bit sad.

We live in strange times

Dad went to my nans funeral on Friday. Lenny and I knew there was something not right as dad seemed a little apprehensive on our morning walk. We had a nice walk and dad told us what good lads we are, but there seemed to be something in his voice that told me things were a little different. We didn’t mess about too much on our walk or when we got back home. We got a big hug and a kiss on the head each before he left.

He said everything went ok on Friday afternoon, kind of as you would expect a funeral to go, really. Due to the current restrictions on people attending services, there were only 26 people so it felt a little more personal than when grandad passed away and there were about 50-60 people there. He did a talk and said to people about the link with the past being cut, abruptly and leaving you with regrets that you didn’t say what you wanted to say. When he got home, dad told us that he loved us very much and we got another round of tickles. I might have scored a couple of gravy bones too, whilst Lenny was walking around the garden but he doesn’t have to know, does he?

Then on Saturday we woke up, had our first half of breakfast, went on our walk, returned to our second half of breakfast and proceeded to settle in for a nice snooze. Suddenly, knock knock on the window and Raffa Beagles mum is standing there waving furiously at us. What a lovely surprise for Lenny and I. We greeted auntie J in normal beagle fashion and then proceeded to play hide and seek in the garden. She lost as we are quite good at finding people.

You go that way Lenny

After an hour or so we calmed sufficiently to roll over and snooze whilst the humans had a chat and caught up on life. We haven’t seen auntie J since early December 2019 and then were very saddened when poor sweet Raffa went to the Rainbow Bridge on 4th February this year. We had been saving up our leg leans and licks for her since then. It was a lovely sunny day so we went into the garden and showed everyone how fast we can run circuits around the flowerbeds and across the patio. I think they were impressed. We were just settling in for a long laze and looking forward to tickles when auntie J said she had to leave so we gave her a cheery beagle send off. Then it was off to sleep.

Strange days clearly follow one another. From sadness and reflection to a feeling of joy seeing friends in the space of 24 hours. Take life as it comes everyone as you won’t know what is around the corner. As Raffa said, never give up when faced with challenges and live life to the full.

We only get one shot at this.

The frailty of life

I am going to let my dad write on my blog today as, in the early hours of this morning, my nanny passed away in hospital. She made her longest journey to the Rainbow Bridge, as it were. I loved my nanny, she was the best.

Watching the person who gave you life, who then preserved and progressed your life, gradually deteriorate is a strange and slightly surreal experience. Seeing my father shortly after he had died was somewhat of shock to the system and I suppose the only redeeming factor to his death was that he did not apparently suffer toward the end and indeed the end came quickly.

Conversely I, along with my siblings, have watched as our mother at first slowly and then more recently deteriorate markedly to what is sadly the inevitable conclusion. Looking at the person who gave you life, now being relieved of pain by medical means at the very end of her days is a thought provoking thing. It is said that as people near the end of their life, they seem to become a shell of their former selves and this seems to ring true in respect of my mother. Seeing her in the last seven days she seemed at once to have no cares in the world, yet at other times had her life etched upon her face. We were assured that she passed away in peace and was not in pain. This provides a modicum of solace to us all.

My mother and father had five children in eleven years. They watched as one of their children died at far too young an age. The family was raised in the age when predominantly dad went to work and mum kept the house, along with the children, in line until they flew the nest. In addition she managed numerous jobs for around fifty of her eighty three years on this earth.

Born prior to World War two commencing she was evacuated and then returned to her home in south London at the time of the Blitz. She was one of four children (the others were boys) so she would have been used to the general disorganisation of life that conflict brings to any scenario as well as having many children in the same house at the same time.

Malta

She met my father who then served his National Service in Malta between 1958-1960 and they returned to the UK to set up home and start their lives together. Along with my father they worked hard to ensure that the children had a roof over their heads and that they would grow up with a good moral compass and a clear understanding of right and wrong. Maybe I messed about along the way with some of their efforts at showing us the good from bad, but overall their teachings have succeeded I hope. In her later life, as her health failed to a constantly greater extent she relied more and more upon my father until his untimely demise in December 2017. Dad had been, to all intents, an unpaid and on site member of the wider care team that looked after her needs all day and night. At the point of his death both of my sisters stepped up admirably and assisted mum where they were able to do so. Without their help, she truly would have been lost. Problems with mobility as well as various further health scares and the odd fall meant there would be a move from their house of some 50 years to a flat where it was easier for her to get about. Subsequent visits to hospital for various ailments ended with her being looked after in a nursing home for the final 8 months of her life. It seems to have been a fairly painful end to a life lived fully by someone who felt that her task was to try and ensure her children were level headed, reasonable and didn’t get into trouble. My mother, along with my father, achieved these goals.

Best mum in the world

The inevitability of the end doesn’t dampen the feeling of emptiness in your stomach, the knowledge that you will no longer be able to call and tell of good and bad news, to be able to sit down, have a cup of tea and chat about whatever comes to mind. The contact with the past is broken, abruptly and permanently. However she said she doesn’t want sadness, foreboding and a sense of navel gazing. To her life is to be lived. We get one chance to get it as right as you can so we have to take it.

Thank you mum, for giving me and my siblings that chance.

I love you nanny. Fly free.