Spring is here

I think spring has arrived although it’s quite hard to tell as one day it’s sunny and then the next day it hails. We’ve even had snow recently. But overall I think it is here. The garden smells different and Deana’s been busy mowing the grass and planting flowers. And even though my eyesight is getting worse, when we go to the forest I can tell that everything is brighter and greener. Sometimes I don’t like this – the brightness hurts my eyes – but mostly it’s nice. The ground is harder and that means Harry doesn’t get carried over the mud (I feel a bit jealous when this happens even though I don’t like being carried myself) and there are just so many more smells to explore. Spring also means that the back door is left open for me and Harry to come and go as we please which is a good thing as the garden smells waft inside and also it means I don’t have to use the dog-flap. We have a new one and I’m not too sure how it works. Harry says it’s more or less the same as the old one but I’m not sure he’s right. If he is, why does he pee inside so much?

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And we’ve been to the groomer’s too, which is another sign that spring is here. Deana decided not to cut my hair herself this year, which is a good thing as she is not very good at it. (Even I could tell I looked like a flea-bitten teddy left under a bush for years). The grooming parlour is inside the same building as the vet and I could smell the vet as soon as Deana walked us inside and I thought oh no why has she brought us here? And I started to panic breathe and have bad thoughts about Harry needing the vet, not me, but fortunately neither of us was there for the vet and we went straight into the groomer parlour, which was a huge relief. Continue reading

Harry Came to Stay

A new dog has moved in. He’s been here for over three months now so I think he’s staying. I hope so. His name is Harry and he’s a very small, curly-haired white dog, who’s a Bichon Frise, according to Deana.

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I wasn’t sure that I wanted a friend but Deana thought it would be good for me after Mum died so we drove all the way to Somerset to collect him. I was a bit confused about where we were and what we were doing but then for some reason we had to walk him on a beach behind where he was staying with a foster family and I couldn’t stop grinning. It’s been so long since I had sand between my paws. Hundreds of memories came hurtling back – things I’d not thought about for years. I remembered living in Malta and how Deana would take me and Mum to beaches so that we could have a good run and how even though we were afraid of the water, we loved how soft the sand felt. I remembered finding a dead fish that tasted delicious even when it got horribly stuck in my jaw and Deana had to prise it out. I used to love the smells and the little rock pools, the seaweed and the way the sand just made me and Mum race as fast as we could.  Continue reading

On My Own

Hello again. It’s me, Buzbuz. I know I haven’t said much for a long while now but it’s been quite a year. My mum, Cinderella, died in the summer and, well…I didn’t really want to talk about anything much, to anyone.

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I’m not sure I want to say much about it now – it makes me too sad – but I want to let you know what’s happening in my life and I want to start feeling a bit happier, even though nothing is the same without my mum.

Mostly, it’s just really quiet without her. I was sure at the beginning that she’d come back. I knew she’d been ill and I knew that Deana was burying something in the garden and crying a lot, but I just didn’t make the connection. Mum wasn’t there but she’d come back. Of course she would. She’d never leave me. We’d been together every day for nearly 13 years. And so I just carried on, going on walks in the woods and sleeping lots but one day it hit me hard that she was gone, forever. I mean, I know I will see her again. All dogs know that. And I know that sometimes she comes back as a little ghost and has a wander round our house when she thinks we’re all sleeping, just to check on us, because that’s what dogs do. I can’t snuggle up with her or ask her to lick my face clean, but I can see her and that makes me feel a little bit better. But also a little bit worse when she leaves again. Deana’s dog before us, Luigi, still does it sometimes, even though he never lived with us at this house, even though he never even knew me and Mum. Continue reading

Goodnight Cinderella

This blog began as a project for my Masters. I decided I would write in the voice of my dogs and most of the blogs would be by Buzbuz, my now 12 year old dog, with the occasional comment from her mum, Cinderella.

I’m so very sad to write this blog as myself but I can’t really write this one as Buzbuz.

I want to write about Cinderella who died four weeks ago today. It has been too upsetting to write anything before now, but I’m going to try today, though I’m already crying. Again.

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Cinderella and Buzbuz came into my life a month after I’d had to put to sleep my beloved Border Terrier, Luigi. I’d never owned an older dog before. Luigi was only nine when he died and my first dog, Alfredo, was hit by a car when he was five. I was devastated at losing Alfredo, and then again with Luigi, and everyone, seeing how distraught I was, recommended I take a break from dogs. That I should give myself some time to recover. That I should avoid future dog-related heartbreak.

It was impossible for me to ‘take a break from dogs’. I didn’t see how that would mean anything other than more sadness and so I adopted the then nine year old Cinderella and her baby, Buzbuz, who was five.

I was lucky to have Cinderella for almost seven years. She was funny, beautiful and always a character – a mis-shaped dog with a too-long body and enormous ears that she would unfurl to express her demands for more cuddles and more goodies – she would sleep in sock drawers, climb inside wardrobes and become ‘lost’, she would sit on my chest when I was lying on the sofa and use those ears to tell me things I wish I’d properly understood, she would huskily bark at every dog and the occasional cow she came across, she would prance rather than run, with her tail held high, up and over her back.

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My children loved her. She was cuddled and carried and danced with and fussed over. She’d never lived with children before she came to us but she quickly knew that she was the type of dog that all children seemed unable to resist. my birthday 2008 096

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In her later years she slowed down. It all happened quite quickly. She developed heart problems and stopped running unless there was something really fun to chase. She would bark at squirrels from the back of the sofa but she no longer did it with the same enthusiasm. We’d find her making her way up the stairs to my room (and her bed) at about 8pm, an early-to-bed old lady.

I’m still not sure what happened four weeks ago. Yiannos and I went away for a weekend, and we were staying at a dog-friendly hotel in the Cotswolds. Sometime over the weekend Cinderella must have suffered something like a stroke. We’re not sure when or how. We went home and saw the vet who said we were near the end. She’d stopped eating and had to be fed water with a pipette. And so I held onto her for two more days, sitting on the sofa with her on my lap and Buzbuz at my feet. I carried her for a couple of walks through the forest, wrapped up in a blanket, and friends who saw us said they’d come with me to the vet, if I needed someone with me. That it was time.

In the end I took her to the vet by myself. I hoped he’d say there was a chance and she’d turn a corner and all would be well. But I knew in my heart that she was already gone. She always had a little mischievous light in her eyes and now there seemed to be nothing. And so I put her to sleep and bought her back home and buried her in the garden.

I’ve buried three dogs now. While I’m better at the practicalities than I was the first two times – I know it’s better if I dig the hole before; that I put heavy stones on top of the grave – I’m just as devastated at the loss. And I know that I will be with every dog I’m lucky enough to have.

Dog-walking friends in the forest ask me where she is and each time I explain I burst into tears. They all understand. Most of them have been here themselves. It’s the only horrible part of having a dog. An immense love. A life that’s always too short. We all love our dogs so much. We don’t need to explain to each other than they are our family.

Buzbuz is coping. I think she knew what was happening. I wish more than ever that I knew what she was feeling. I think she understands that Cinderella has gone and I think Cinderella would have said her own goodbye.

We will always miss her.

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Following in Mum’s paw prints…

I haven’t been well. Deana thinks I have what Mum has. She took me to the vet, so that I could have the same meds as Mum has but our normal vet had gone home to Romania for a few weeks and we had to see a vet who doesn’t know me well. Deana wasn’t very happy. He said I might have cancer, pneumonia or a cough, which she has told everyone seems a bit hit and miss. He gave me antibiotics and said to come back but Deana said we will wait a few extra days and see our regular vet. I don’t know about pneumonia but I’ve had cancer twice before so I know it’s not that. I think Deana is right and I’ve got the same condition as Mum. Our hearts aren’t working the way they used to and we can’t clear our lungs and spend a lot of time coughing and spluttering. This makes Deana and my other family members, Bano and Sid, very worried, but I think it’s the fact that I can’t walk like I could just a couple of weeks ago which makes Deana even more concerned. We went away to the Cotswolds to stay with her sister and on one of our walks I couldn’t make it and I let her carry me which I have never ever done before. I tried to not let her see that I was tired but I just couldn’t make it.

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Continue reading

Hello Again

It’s been ages since I said hello but I’ve been very busy helping my owner Deana finish her Masters.

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She decided that her final project would be a book about being happy, written by me. It took so much time for me to tell her everything I know about happiness (lots!) and we had to spend ages in the kitchen at her desk. By the end I almost wished I knew a little bit less about being happy, but now it’s done and me and Mum are having nice long walks again and I can fit under the desk (one of my favourite napping spots) now that all the books and papers have been cleared out. There’s also more time for cuddles on the sofa and trips in the car. Deana says she will never study like this again so I think the extra cuddles, long walks and car rides are here to stay. Continue reading

Daisies

It’s been ages since I wrote anything. I’ve had a few changes to get used to.

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Firstly, my hearing’s gone, like my mum, Cinderella. I’m not totally deaf, like she is, but I can’t hear much anymore. My mum doesn’t seem to mind at all but I keep getting lost in the woods and Deana has to come and find me. She has to wave her arms at me, but because my eyesight isn’t so good, there’s no point unless she’s really close. I thought my eyesight might get better if my hearing went. That would make sense.  But it didn’t. So now I can’t see or hear well. It makes Deana sad. She says I’m very old now, even though Mum’s still running around at 15. Continue reading