Monday, January 10, 2011

A page turns....

            Well I for one am really glad to see to back of last year, what with the draconian measures put in place at work, the lack of get up and go within myself, the seemingly grey and morose weather and the loss of my beloved walking companion ‘Lucy’, the year just went from bad to worse. From personal issues and monetary short comings to no holiday (vacation time) and a sense that every silver lining had a bloody big cloud behind it 2010 really did suck, big time. The events of Lucy’s demise at the end of the year left me and Clare heart broken and possibly at our lowest ebb ever. The house was silent and empty without her grumbling presence and memories passed before us to add to our despair with just the slightest nudge, you know the type; a ball of black fluff drifting from beneath a chair, her empty basket, and word slipped out which brought the pain fresh once more to stab at our hearts, I’d find myself calling her to put her out for her night time pee and then realising what I’d done wiping another tear away. The nights drifted into the days with barely any difference as sleep eluded me, food was only consumed mechanically and the days passed by robotically without taste or enjoyment.

We’d decided on the day of her passing to allow a few months to go by before searching out a new member for our family, but my despair was becoming so deep that Clare suggested that perhaps we ought to start looking sooner rather than later. It was her way to try and shake the melancholy that threatened to drag me down far enough to do some damage to my health and well-being. So we trawled the rescue centres, scanned the ads and asked around but nothing leapt out and called to us that ‘I’m the one’. Now don’t get me wrong ol’ smelly could never be replaced, not in a million years, and we were not looking to fill her paw prints, no, we were hoping for something to follow her lead and take the story on further, to weave the next lines of our lives and yes to help ease the pain as well.

Just when it looked as if this was not to be, at least not for a long time, we came across an ad. There was a grainy picture of a 6 & ½ month old lurcher bitch, she was 105 miles away. With little information other than her age and a phone number something just called out. A phone call later and the owner agreed to hold her till last Friday as long as we met the full asking price if we had her. Thursdays night shift dragged by and after a few hours’ kip I arose to be greeted by a blanket of snow, bugger. Checking the nationwide forecast it was reckoned to be cleared by rain in the afternoon so the decision to chance the trip was made. 2 & ½ hours of driving through some really crap conditions and I’m knocking on a stranger’s door trying to keep expectations low. Another 2 & ½ hours of driving home through even crappier road conditions and I find myself dragging my tired and knackered frame through my own front door.

Oh did I mention Willow? No? must have slipped my train of thought for a moment. Did you not read the first paragraph fully you know the bit where it says “The house was silent and empty” ah now perhaps the penny is dropping my dear but slow reader. It turns out that the lengthy drive to Mansfield was not a wasted journey. As I entered the strangers kitchen, prepared to be resolute, subjective and indeed professional when confronted with the lurcher bitch my composure lasted all of 2 seconds as this skinny, scruffy bundle of energy and hair launched her self into my arms with eyes that pleaded with me not to put her down. She had me straight away; hook, line, sinker, rod, reel and copy of the angling times – bugger so much for any idea of negotiation. So folks I guess I’d better show you all a picture of our latest family member, as my description of an Irish Wolf Hound that’s been shrunk (a lot) in a hot wash doesn’t really do the job.




So that’s Willow a ¾ whippet and ¼ Beddlington terrier cross, and no she’ll never replace Lucy but she’ll never have to live up to or be compared to Lucy. No, Willow is something different and she’ll weave her own story, I just hope that you’ll all stay along for the ride; I’m guessing that she’ll make it an interesting one.

Your friend, and slightly happier bunny,

John

30 comments:

Bob Mc said...

Good for you John! Old companions can never be forgotten, but it’s hard to beat the enthusiasm of a new young dog in the house. May you make many happy foot prints on the trails together for a very long time. Are you sure you can keep up with that slim trim running machine? :)

kmurray said...

Willow looks like an interesting character and it will be interesting to see what kinds of tricks she's got up her sleev... I mean behind her paws.

Clif said...

Oh splendid! I'll stay for the ride, and what a cutie.

3/4 whippet you say? Trade those boots for running shows if you wish to keep up.

Le Loup said...

Good one, excellent, and a hunting dog no less! This should be fun. I am glad you made the effort, I never could after losing my last dog.
I will stay tuned and wait in anticipation. I think that you may find those first walks a little hard my friend, I think there may be more tears to come yet. But it will be worth it, having a new friend.
Don't forget to train her well, right down to simple hand signals.
Regards.

Leigh said...

It is odd the friendships that are made through the world wide web. When you told of us of the loss of your dear Lucy I can't speak for all but only for myself when I say that I also felt like I had lost her as well and even worse though my heart ached for the loss that you and Clare were going through... like dear friends loosing a child. Today I can not help but to feel my heart leap for your good fortune, for you have been blessed with a new bundle of joy... I think that I now can speak for everyone when I say "Welcome to the family Willow, we look forward to getting to know you". :)
Truly all the best,
Leigh

gpc said...

I can see a lot of undiscovered character in that fuzzy face! Can't wait to hear of your adventures.

Stephanie and Dustin said...

Congratulations on your new addition. I look forward to following Willow's journey with you and Clare. Welcome to the blogsphere Willow! We are excited to have you. -stephanie

Gorges Smythe said...

You're right, she'll never replace Lucy, but she won't have to. She'll make her own precious memories. In fact, it's obvious that she has already. I've been praying for you almost daily, because I know how painful it is to lose a good friend and member of the family like Lucy. I see you're getting better, though. May God bless your new buddy, Willow, with a long, happy, healthy life. (And God bless you as well!)

Stephanie and Dustin said...

Congratulations on your new addition. I look forward to following Willow's journey with you and Clare. Welcome to the blogsphere Willow! We are excited to have you. -stephanie

(sorry if this posts more than once; blogger was a bugger tonight.)

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

John, I am so happy for you and Clare. Willow looks like a wonderful little dog. Cute as cute can be! I am so happy that you made a connection with her from the start. Sometimes you just know when it's right. I can't wait to hear all about
the adventures that lie ahead for the two of you!

Casey said...

I am very happy for you John! She's a cutie to be sure, and her own personality will shine through very soon. I hope she turns into a good trail dog for you.

Take care -

Casey

Bill said...

John I hope the new bond you and Clare are forming with Willow helps to ease the pain a bit. You have a whole new adventure ahead of you now, enjoy it!

2 Tramps said...

How truly wonderful! Your new dear Willow looks to be a great new dog for you. It wasn't too soon - it happens when it is supposed to happen. We are still waiting for the next dog here...

Damn The Broccoli said...

I did wonder how long it would be!

There are those who advise proper pause between things like this. My attitude has always been get back on the horse. You seem to have the right attitude as well, this isn't a Lucy replacement, but a new start with an adorable new dog.

I am sorry for your loss, but equally jealous of your gain, I can't have a dog yet, can't wait till I can.

Enjoy her company mate, I am sure there will be plenty of happy futures.

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

Oh. Oh. Oh, John. She is GORGEOUS!!! I LOVE and ADORE her already. As a fellow dog owner, and "replacer of dogs" I know EXACTLY what you mean. Lucy will NEVER be replaced. But your home is not complete with a dog, and so, you need to fill the hole there, and in your heart. You're not replacing Lucy, or forgetting about her. SHE has a permanent place with you, and within you. But your heart expands to make room for the next one who needs you, too. And Willow certainly does. Oh I'm SO glad you got her. I have a Willow too. Neat-o! Happier days are around the bend, John. They just are.

Shoreman said...

Morning (California) John. I'm so glad you found a new friend. I was getting a little worried, but now I can relax. What a cutie, and that face, classic. Going to be fun reading about your antics together. Glad you're back.

Mark

Fish Whisperer said...

Congrats. She looks to be the a right good fit.
I await your tales of adventure with Willow.
Cheers

Wolfy said...

I thhink she klooks great, John. She's never intended to replace Lucy - just, as you say, write another chapter.

She sort of has payful eyes, too. Looking forward to following your trevails.

Wolfy

Badger Watching Man said...

Congratulations John - I always say that you don't find the dog, the dog finds you - and Willow certainly looks like a character!

Diane-Sage Whiteowl said...

Congrats! She is a beauty. Every time I lost a dog I would say no more. The pain was so unbearable...but so was the pain without having a "best friend" in my life.
You did the right thing...enjoy!

danontherock said...

John its sad to lose a dog but a dog around the hose just makes you feel better. Hope things start to look up for ye. A new dog is a start

regards
dan

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

I filled maddie's void with a nasal bulldog bitch called constance
you did right john
x

knapperbill said...

Hey John,

I can't tell you how happy I am for you! It really does help with the healing process. I went through this exact same thing 3 years ago and swore I wouldn't get another. Well, I did not long after, and it helped me in so many different ways. Congrats on your new Willow:) She's beautiful. She looks like she might bounce off the walls too:)

Mel said...

Great day, John, knowing that you and your wife have a new member of the family! I was hoping that would be the route you took (finding another friend makes Lucy happy, too!)

She will be keeping an eye on you and Willow as you make your path on the trails of tomorrow.

God Bless, My Friend.

CDGardens said...

Welcome to your new walking companion Willow!She definitely will have a story tell...with your help. ;)

moschops said...

She is absolutely GORGEOUS! I did hope you would have a new family member but didnt want to ask!
I am so glad that you have found a new member of the family (or that she chose you which it sounds more like!) She is a very lucky dog.

Lucy will always have a very special place in your heart but there is a space next to her for Willow.

I hope you, Clare and Willow have many happy adventures together!

megan x

Jennifer Montero said...

A perfect next chapter. Now you have two dogs in your heart, and a damn sight more fluff under your couch I should imagine. Willow looks smart (and fast!). I've never had either breed - a lucher or bedlington - and I look forward to hearing more about them (well, 3/4 of one and 1/4 of the other...) Give her a pat from us.

Murphyfish said...

Hi all,
Just like to say a big thank you for all your recent comments, time is at a premium at the moment so please forgive me for not answering individually as is my norm. I'll be playing catch up with your blogs sometime next week.
John

amesababble said...

I had a terrier mix for 17 years, they are the best!

Albert A Rasch said...

Good on you Murph! She looks like a bundle of good dog if you ask me!

I'm looking forward to her evolving story.

Best Regards,
Albert Rasch In Afghanistan™
Scouting for Hog, Chronicles Style!