A wonderful and honourable friend made their longest journey earlier today. I wish to pay tribute to a true buddy.
I am a member of the #BTPosse – I was invited to join by a great friend called Hamish, some years ago. The Posse is very much like the BeagleBugClub in that it is full of friends who look after one another, who cry or laugh together and always look out for everybody, with a kindly word or metaphorical shoulder to cry upon. One of the first Border Terriers I was introduced to was Macbark who lived with his parents, and joined more recently by his little brother Fin, in Edinburgh. Mac was a jolly, cheerful, wise and very handsome fur who always had time for some laughter as well as friendly advice for his fellow BT pals. Many a time did we speak about important subject like Aberdeen FC, Whisky distilleries, Bellfield Brewery and hikes around Arthurs Seat amongst so many other things. He was a font of knowledge on many subjects. He loved travelling to different places in Scotland and even made it down to the Lake District in the north west of England. Apparently he enjoyed that too, in spite of it not being in Scotland. Cheeky wee fella he was. He was at tweet ups and always able to show the many pals around his locale with a smily face.
His little brother, Fin, arrived in early August and proceeded to turn Mac’s world upside down. He was typically grumbly about his new little brother but I think deep down he was chuffed to bits that he would have a new pal to play with. Also he had the chance to show Fin all the wrong things to do.
Within the last week Mac was diagnosed with an advanced case of Gallbladder Mucocele which is apparently fairly common in Border Terriers, sadly. Today we heard the terrible news that Mac had made his final and longest journey over the Rainbow Bridge. He was only eight!
Run free wee fella, free from cares and woes amongst the everlasting meadow with the warm sun on your fur. It is a privilege to say you are my friend and that we will miss you terribly. Farewell Mac but never goodbye.
Another of my friends is making ready to take her longest journey very soon. I have known this particular pal from very early in my social media career. I will be extremely sad to lose her to the Rainbow Bridge but will remember that, all the while, we will all end there once our time here is done.
I read the message that her mum had posted. There was a little video of her snoozing away, snoring gently. I read the words that were written and wondered how much pride, bravery and despair must have gone into the composition of the messages telling her friends that she would be making her journey soon. I cannot yet comprehend how words can be formed into coherent sentences whilst watching us slowly slip away. It must be terrible enough when we make our journey suddenly but to watch us, knowing that at a set time on a set date we will take our last breath and fall asleep forever, takes courage and fortitude beyond my understanding currently.
When does love overcome despair? When does pride overcome the emptiness of loss? When does grief become overtaken by remembrance of those times shared? I cannot answer any of these questions directly.
The original friends that I was lucky enough to find are diminishing faster than I would like. The days upon which I do not hear of another pal making the journey seem fewer. I have never met most of my friends, and likely I never shall. Some who I have met, have become wonderful pals and their loss is felt greatly. It is the family effect that we feel amongst our group that holds us together. People may disagree on so many things in life however when it comes to looking out for each others dogs, there is this unity of strength. A bond if you will. A bond of the strongest substance of love and friendship.
The world still turns, the sun still shines and we will all go about our daily business until we falter and fall by the wayside. More friends will come to the party but it will not diminish the memories of those who have passed, those who we have loved and continue to love even though they are no longer in our sights.
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.
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.
I saw this question raised in a tweet from an author in America and it got me wondering. People don’t really talk about it. It seems as if it is a taboo subject sometimes. Firstly let me assure everyone that I am ok, I am not ill and I am not feeling unwell or had bad news. I am just having a ponder.
As people who have followed my blog for a while may have noticed quite a few of my friends from around the world have sadly departed for the Rainbow Bridge. The description of Rainbow Bridge we use is softer, as it conveys less of a final ending to the life of a beloved pet on earth, and more of a farewell to another place where we will meet again. We will all make the journey to the Rainbow Bridge as none of us is able to beat that one opponent who always wins, Time.
The subject is treated, at least amongst my friends, with compassion and thoughtful attention to the words used to try and comfort those who are grieving. I realise there are few if any words that can comfort the people who are left to remember the good and bad times when we were around in the immediate times after we have gone from sight. A simple sentence sometimes conveys enough sentiment to allow people to smile with love and remembrance, and lift the heart slightly from its depths.
I lost both my nans in 2020, thankfully not to Covid-19. I saw what happened to my parents when they got their respective news. I kind of instinctively knew what to do and of course how to behave. With both nans it wasn’t unexpected however it was still a horrible shock when the news was received. We were out on our walk on both occasions and both Lenny and I changed our usual malarkey of pulling and yanking about on our leads, to walking and sniffing more sedately. It wasn’t innocent and all that loose lead stuff by any means however we did rein ourselves in. When we got home we both gave out leg leans and curled up next to the parents. We were told this felt good and that they loved us very much. It appears that stroking a beagle and telling them how much they are loved is food for the soul and helps to alleviate some of the sadder or more pensive moments.
I am going slightly off topic so I apologise. I don’t think I am afraid, as such, of making my way to the Rainbow Bridge. When my time comes, for it surely will, I hope that I will take the longest journey with love in my heart. I know I will leave people behind who will miss me and maybe that is a sign of how much affection people hold for one another in our groups of friends. I suspect people will cry because I am no longer in sight but I know I will make my journey having had a full, interesting and fun life. I am told every day that I am loved which is more than I could ever have asked for when I was adopted many years ago. In my minds eye, I will be off to see my buddies who have already made the transit across the Rainbow Bridge and who now happily run free in the everlasting meadow. They have no cares or woes and this gives me comfort when I think about it. I wonder if, instead of being afraid, I will be sad to leave behind many pals and people who are in turn saddened at my leaving.
Again don’t worry, I am alright and I am just having a little think to myself.
My internet has been non existent for a week or so which means I have some serious catching up to do. I feel like I want to tell you about everything that has happened in one message. I will string them out a little however.
There was sad news indeed that on 4th February one of the best, brightest and most lovable furs made his longest journey to the Rainbow Bridge. Boot was the brother fur of Charley Beagle who sadly made his way to the Rainbow Bridge in September 2018. Boot was the sensible one (I know Boot and Charleys mum wont mind me saying that) whilst Charley was the maverick with the cheeky streak. Boot was a working Cocker who was always happy when he was out on the moors doing his job. Mind you he was equally as happy curled up in front of the fire, resting his head on a beagle belly, whilst savouring the warmth of the flames. He knew where the pub was so he could walk his parents there without fear of recrimination and they could sit and enjoy themselves. He was the animal whisperer as he had a special knack of being so gentle with every other creature he came into contact with, be it sheep, pig or even a parrot. Boot loved to curl up on his mum and enjoy gentle strokes and ear ruffles.
I had the pleasure, nay the privilege, to meet Boot on a number of occasions and I even introduced him to Lenny. He was at the Beagle World Record when we became record breakers and he was at his home when I arrived unannounced with my parents to help deliver Charley’s bench. I met Boot for the first time when I, again, arrived unannounced at the meet up in Yorkshire. Throughout every meeting he was a fun, happy and wonderful fur who knew he had the best of life with loving parents who looked after him. Even in his dotage, when his legs were beginning to fail him, and the forgetfulness was becoming more prevalent, he still managed to encourage his mum and dad to push him in his chariot wherever he needed to go. He went to his favourite cafe for a cinnamon bun and a ponder.
The world is an emptier place without friends like Boot. Sadly the Rainbow Bridge is gaining more friends whose calling has come. Rest easy Boot my friend, and fare you well. Seek out Charley, Raffa, Gunner, Fred PH dude and many more who have preceded you to the everlasting meadow. I miss you but my heart is full of pride for knowing you and, better still, being your friend.