Friday, 26 April 2013

Gotta love a dog

Lad was my first dog since childhood and he was the kind of dog you dream about: intelligent, loving, loyal and always ready to join you on a long walk or a beach ramble.

We'd been living overseas for several years and on our return my HH promised we'd get a family dog once we were settled. After much research into breeds and several visits to the lost dogs home (where the dogs we wanted were either already promised or 'unsuitable' according to the staff) we'd gone out to see some golden retriever puppies at a breeder's place in the country.

When we got there I looked and held and cuddled and felt... not much. Oh, they were cute and furry and appealing but they didn't touch my heart. As we left the pen, the breeder's eight full-grown dogs were playing on the large front lawn, but on the verandah was another dog, lying alone on a bed.


As we watched the dogs at play, he suddenly got up off his bed and came across the lawn towards us.
The breeder said quietly, 'That's Lad, he's been really ill and is convalescing.'
Lad stopped right in front of me, and without warning, reared up on his hind legs and ever so gently placed his front paws on my chest. I looked down into his beautiful brown eyes and my heart melted.
'This is the one,' I said and the breeder nodded.

A week later we brought him home and the next day took him on his first-ever trip to the beach. It was amazing to see him tentatively approach the waves only to shy back as the white foam edges rolled towards him. He gradually grew more confident, however, and the beach soon became his favourite place. We'd go often and he'd swim and chase sticks and lie beside me and put his wet, sandy nose on my leg. Walking with Lad along a beach was my kind of heaven.

Is there anything more trusting, more knowing, more heartwarming than the way your best furry friend looks into your eyes?

Lad was there through all my writing: PhD, books, letters, articles. My constant companion and beloved friend. A true prince.

Vale Lad, I miss you.

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