We rarely include fiction writing on the blog here at Preloved, but we fell in love with this short story written from the point of view of one of our members’ dogs, Rocky. The story powerfully illustrates how rewarding giving a dog a loving forever home can be, whilst simultaneously promoting the notion that older dogs still have a ‘twinkle in their eye’ and will continually give their devotion right up until the end. Thank you Jeff for submitting the article. Enjoy Prelovers!
Dear Preloved Team,
I am not a writer, nor have I ever had aspirations to be one. However some 25 years ago I read a woman’s magazine whilst I was at the dentist, and one feature caught my attention. The feature invited pets to write in with stories of their lives, including interesting things that had happened to them or aspects of their family life. The feature was accompanied by a so-called letter from a cat who described its life, day and night.
This appeared to be a strange, seemingly ridiculous feature, but it gave an insight into the cat and its owner. The reason the feature was of interest to me was because the day before, I had taken my beloved pet dog to the vet, and unfortunately I was unable to bring him home again. His health was such that the vet advised it was best for him to be put down; there was nothing he could do for him. I felt so distraught for I believed I had killed him.
At this point I am sending you a copy of the letter I sent to the magazine, containing the words and thoughts I felt Rocky, my dog, was sending to me; thoughts that have given me comfort as I still remember him with love and affection.
The letter was alas not published for I received a reply saying that the magazine was intended as one of easy reading, and Rocky’s letter had everyone in the editorial office sad and crying. However, via word of mouth and placement of the letter in the vets, many people became aware of the letter, and I had requests to send it to a number of people who were pet lovers and who had been in a similar position; I also received letters from people who had lost family members who found comfort in Rocky’s story.
Now, 25 years later, may I thank ‘Preloved’ for this opportunity to share with others Rocky’s life.
‘You Never Killed Me, it was My Time to Go!’
Me, Rocky, sixteen years old. I never got a card from the queen, but do you realise that in dog years that’s equivalent to over 100 years as a human? I bet those corgis’ birthdays are never forgotten!
I still remember, when I was only a few weeks old, Donna picked me to join your family – me the weakest and scruffiest amongst my brothers and sisters. Maybe it was my lop ear that attracted me to her, or was it my bushy tail? Maybe it was my sad smile that I gradually learned to use over the years if ever I wanted anything.
When I joined the Evans’ family there was 11 year old Donna, Andrew aged 7, mother Trudy and of course father Jeff. Little then did I realise what a wonderful, happy, long life I was going to have.
We lived by the sea, and before those nasty dog wardens were about, I used to roam around strutting my stuff. I grew up to be the best looking dog around. I never had to chase around looking for bitches on heat, for as they came into season, they queued outside my house wanting to have pups by yours truly. I’m proud to say that my many heirs who inherited my good looks and charm prove that I never failed in that department.
I was originally picked as a pet for Donna and Andrew, and although Jeff believed he was my lord and master, it was Trudy who really loved and doted on me. I loved her so much; keeping her company, head on her lap, when Jeff was working and the kids were at school.
One day, for some unknown reason, Jeff brought home a black Labrador and called him Bruno. What a silly name for a dog. I lay down the ground rules from the start, and whilst he were to grow to double my size, he never forgot how painful a nip in the right place could be. Despite our initial feuds, Bruno and I became the best of friends, and together with our family we had a good loving home.
Alas, as we all know, everyone has to grow old, and although I still had that glint in my eye up to 15 years old, the ravages of time started creeping up on me. First the arthritis, then my vision as everything started to become blurred. When I went deaf, I really knew I had problems.
I still wanted to be a loving, obedient dog, but I really couldn’t help walking into things and knocking ornaments over. I would have come to you to be stroked if I had heard you calling, and Bruno must have thought I had become a grumpy old man.
I had always been a clean dog, and I apologise that for the past year I made a mess around the house; Trudy you knew that I couldn’t help it, and thank you for never complaining or chastising me. Arthritis, cataracts, deafness…could it get any worse? Well alas it did as I found one morning that I couldn’t get up. Even when you all helped me to my feet, I felt as if I was on an ice rink without ever learning to skate.
I was so tired. I didn’t want to leave Bruno, Donna, Andrew, Jeff, and I certainly didn’t want to leave my darling Trudy, but I knew it was my time.
For a few days you all tried to help me. You didn’t want to know or accept the inevitable, but in your hearts you knew it was time to say goodbye. Although Jeff took me to the vets in a last attempt to prolong my life, Donna, Andrew and you Trudy, said your goodbyes to me at home, knowing that this was the last time you would see me.
I couldn’t bear seeing you like that Jeff when you drove to the vets, as I knew and felt your words of comfort were said under a veil of sadness. The vet didn’t have to tell me it was my time as I already knew, but you Jeff, though you anticipated it, broke down and wept.
It was now your decision to take the advice of the vet and let me go, and although you knew deep down it was the right thing to do, you didn’t want to give him the go ahead. You asked to stay with me for a few minutes and you held me so tight. When your tears fell on my face and you stroked me through misted eyes, and when you placed your face against mine, I licked your cheek to thank you for the wonderful life you had given me, and in that moment I think you realised it was the only decision to make. Letting me go was an ultimate act of love.
I am so glad that you were with me as a pup, and that you were prepared to be there with me when I was finally allowed to go; I thank you for that.
You know what Jeff, Trudy, Andrew, Donna? I no longer have arthritis! I can see so clearly and I can hear again! I never want you to believe you were responsible for my death; it really was my time.
Bye bye to you all. Look after yourselves! Mention my name to Bruno for me! He was such a good friend. Take him for walks and throw him the ball we played with; he must wonder where I am and he must be lonely. Maybe you could find him another friend? I left many pups around with a sad smile and bushy tail.
Finally, don’t be sad. Remember the good times we had, and until we meet again, don’t forget I loved you all. A special lick (kiss) for Trudy, and when you touch that bit of my coat that Jeff cut, feel the warmth and love that we shared. XXXX