How do you cope with the loss of a loved canine pal? Should you just get another dog and carry on? Perhaps fostering provides a bridge to your next four legged family member.
When we lost Lily, our beloved ‘blond bombshell’ golden retriever, my husband and I were not sure about having another dog. Changed personal circumstances and our obvious grieving meant that for the first time we wondered whether we could cope with another canine companion. Our hearts said yes but we had serious doubts.
A simple walk in the local park on a crisp Spring morning changed everything. I got to talking with a woman about her dog – a large happy retriever who immediately rolled on it’s back for the obligatory belly rubs. To my surprise, the lady told me that she was not the owner, and that she was fostering the dog whilst it’s real owner was in hospital for a few weeks.
Soon after the fortuitous encounter in the park, we fostered two adorable characters from ‘The Cinnamon Trust‘, an organisation that specialises in helping elderly, infirm, and terminally ill dog owners manage their canine companions. The process was easy but thorough, and the organisation were always on hand to answer any queries. Digger, an overweight Chihuahua, and Suzie, a Chorkie or Chihuahua Yorkie cross, were our new doggy friends.
The two dogs were inseparable and were quite the team. Despite their small size compared to our previous dogs, the two really kept us on our toes. Domineering Digger ruled the roost and the two pals would fight like demons and then quickly make up with some loving licks.
As the months passed, we realised that we were ready for another dog of our own. When it came to bid a sad farewell to Digger and Suzie, as their infirm owner decided she could once again cope with her beloved pets’ return, we acted straight away.
If you are interested in fostering in the UK then please use this link:
And, now we have Lucy, our lovable though extremely active Sprocker Spaniel. We are so pleased we tried fostering. If we had not, we may never have considered owning another dog. I recommend that anyone facing a similar dilemma as ourselves consider fostering as an option.
Please visit my website, where you will find information about all of my books plus a gallery of my paintings and photos. Love, Katy.
Remembering my canine pals. A warm, lighthearted look at dearly departed pets and their quirky habits. Whilst these memories often bring on a tear or two, I still smile at their fun-loving antics.
Before Lucy, my lovely though lively Sprocker Spaniel, my husband and I were blessed with a succession of other dogs – each with their own distinct personality. Here are some random snippets of our time with these wonderful family members.
Jim – Victor of Jimbolia – a male Hungarian Viszla
Jim was our first encounter with the Viszla breed. As a side note, the breeder’s children nicknamed the pup Jimbud because of his little Buddha belly. Very independently minded with a rather crafty edge, Jim would, despite his many walks, find ways to sneak out of our house and take himself on an adventure around the town.
Taking nearby footpaths and alleyways, the wily dog kept a sharp eye out for our car as we searched for him. Sometimes we would catch a glimpse of an orange head peering around a far corner. As you would expect, he had always vanished by the time we got there.
At one time, Jim invaded the pitch at a local football match – an important fixture for the home team. Play was halted as the fearless Viszla chased both the ball and various players.
We were never surprised upon receiving a call from the local police station, where Jim became a well known felon visitor. Sheepishly we collected our errant family member, always promising to be more vigilant in future.
Most of the time, Jim would get bored and wait for us in his favourite park. He always stood, semi hidden, in some shrubs at the edge of the green, and silently submitted to being put back on the leash. As we drove back home he usually just fell asleep on the back seat.
Beth – Bethany of Bethesden – a female Hungarian Viszla
After Jim sadly passed away, Beth, our second Viszla, presented us with a very different personality. Loving and motherly, Beth never took herself away on adventures, but instead kept an eye on our family. She was far more of a guard dog than Jim and would always growl through the letterbox when a stranger came to our front door.
Despite her protective motherly ways, Beth never gave up being a lapdog. We all, especially my husband, endured the pain of a large bony dog clambering up and awkwardly settling herself across our laps. She would lie there, cutting of the circulation in your legs, for as long as you could endure it.
Strangely, Beth also loved the same park as Jim, and spookily liked to play around the shrubs where Jim used to hide. After many joyful years, both Viszlas’ ashes were scattered here. My husband and I still sometimes visit the park and like to think that our beloved pets are still there, waiting for us.
Lily – the Blond Bombshell or the Disco Diva – a female Golden Retriever
A cross between a force of nature and a ditzy Hollywood blond, Lily, the golden retriever really kept us on our toes – or our backs if we lost our balance. Extremely friendly and always happy, she would almost bowl you over as she excitedly raced over to greet you at the front door.
More than any of our previous dogs, Lily would meet and greet anyone who passed by as we walked along the promenade. Her happy go lucky nature was infectious and she demanded and always enjoyed a lot of attention. Perhaps her favourite place was the beach, where she would splash through the surf and launch herself into any large puddles she could find. In fact, she got so mucky that we often returned home to a battle in the shower.
Lily spent many hours watching me write my latest greatest novels. I like to think she she was impressed by my ‘stream of consciousness’ writing style as I rapidly typed away, but it was probably the dog treats I kept in the drawer below.
Like her predecessors, Lily found her way into my stories. In the novel ‘The Wounded Therapist’ – part of the Doctors In Love 2 boxed set – Lily has a prominent role and even has a love interest of her own. Now that Lily has also gone, that particular book holds a special place in my heart.
So, now we have Lucy. Whilst I type away on my PC keyboard, she sits close by on the sofa. Sometimes she ignores me, but there are many times where I get the uncanny feeling that she is taking a real interest in my work. … and I’m sure the two of us have many surprising moments and adventures both real and written ahead of us.
I hope you liked these brief glimpses of my canine pals. However, I am often asked whether I might get a cat instead. Well, we’ve had cats before and, knowing their dark ways, I’m sure it would find a way to delete my precious files while I go to the loo.
Please visit my website, where you can find information on my many books and a few slideshow galleries of my artwork. Love, Katy
Slumping back in my chair, after spending an age editing the structure of an awkward sentence, I am almost ready to engage in writer vs monitor pugilism. Instead, I take a breath and reach over to stroke my dog’s head. Lucy, my attentive Sprocker Spaniel, looks up from her vantage point on the sofa – her sofa – and happily receives the attention.
“Little help?” I ask.
Lucy tilts her head in a quizzical manner, her shaggy ears flopping to the side. For a moment, we gaze at one another, staring deep into each other’s eyes, as if telepathically comparing notes. With a smile, I return to my keyboard and tentatively edit the sentence. Not quite there, but a good start.
“Thank you, Lucy”, I say, briskly stroking her head. She does not reply, not even a nod … because of course, she is a dog.
Do you have a canine collaborator, or some other pet that helps you with your writing?