I recently went through the heartache of having to let my beloved dog go; after 13 years together it has been a terrible wrench and I still expect to be greeted by my faithful companion when I get up in the morning, or see her standing at the window looking for me to return home.
I got my "Babe" from the SPCA Rescue Centre, there were many dogs for re-homing, but she wrapped herself round my heart from the first moment. She was a frisky 3 year old (at a guess as they knew little about her) who was sociable and happy from the moment I got her home.
I needed an adult dog who would not mind being alone much of the day, as I worked full-time. Apart from a couple of mishaps, (buying a bean bag was not my brightest idea, especially when you have a dog who tries to bury her toys in it), she never chewed a shoe, never barked at passers-by and never failed to greet me with a huge "smile" and a tail wag that was so exuberant that her entire back end went round in circles.
My neighbour had a son who was afraid of dogs, but so gentle and lovely was Babe's nature, that they soon became friends, and he often came to ask if Babe could take him for a walk:-).
When my father became hospitalised after a stroke, I was allowed to take her to visit, and he was clearly uplifted when he saw her. I could instantly see the therapeutic benefit of having dogs visit long-term patients, as she was a real draw when we went to see Dad. She made fast friends of everyone she met.
Over the years, we grew "older" together, and for the last few years after I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I've been very glad that she was no longer interested in the long walks as I was not able for them, and she herself had arthritis and was often happy just to take a turn around the garden. I was able to spend a lot of time with her for the last 4 years, as I was no longer able to cope with work and took early retirement.
I swore I would never go through that heartbreak again, but found myself contacting the SPCA Rescued Animal Centre when I reminded myself of the 13 happy years we spent together and the joy she brought to everyone who knew her. I went for a visit, but I did not feel that "tug" that I felt when I first saw Babe......maybe I won't feel it again, but I know that I will have another dog, and I know that I will have a dog whose past life might have been less than happy.
I am currently considering an older dog, for what the SPCA call their "Forever" home, as many have had unhappy, sometimes abusive lives, and it would be nice to care for one with love and kindness in their later years.
This is a kind of Obituary to my darling old girl, who couldn't have given more pleasure if she tried, and to let people know the joy of having such a friend who never judges you, never argues with you (although she was quite good at the cold shoulder if you had to be away and leave her with someone else:-)) always knew if something was wrong, and knew how to cheer you up.
I don't think she would mind if I adopted a dog to give a better life to.