On Grieving For A Dog

Grief is a bastard, isn’t it?

Ten days on from the unexpected loss of one of our family dogs, it’s still hiding in unexpected places and jumping out and slapping me around the face quite regularly.

Happy  Willow

First, let me reassure those of you who have lost humans that you care about, that I’m not complaining our loss is as big as say, the loss of a child or parent or friend. Our dogs are not child substitutes.

They are pets. But they are also family members. I feel like our family is now incomplete and will make no apologies for using the word ‘Grief’ when talking about what I am feeling at the moment. I am crying, I feel sad, it bloody hurts inside. This is what I am feeling and I will not downplay it by saying ‘She was only a dog.’

I have no doubt at all that I am grieving for our lost pet, just the same as I grieved when my father died 20-odd years ago.

For the first 24 hours I pretty much cried at the drop of a hat. I couldn’t stop, my eyes just kept leaking.

Then I teared up regularly for the next 48 hours. Mainly when talking about Willow. That was The Lurcher’s name- there is no point in not using it anymore, is there?

I keep thinking I hear  her or catch glimpses of her from the corner of my eye. I still expect her to be sleeping beside my bed when I get up in the morning.

Last Monday  was the worst. People at school knew she was having her surgery on Friday so I had people asking after her, and had to explain. Everyone was sympathetic but you could tell the dog/ pet owners. A couple of them were in tears too which I weirdly felt guilty about.

And then I took our other dog to agility where I managed not to completely fall to pieces, and everyone has dogs so they all ‘got it’.

Social media has been a great help in telling people what happened as I could tell a lot of people all at once, but just when I think I’ve finally told everyone, someone else  turns up. Today it was the gardeners, asking where ‘the grey dog’ was.

And our remaining dog breaks my heart, because you can’t explain to a dog that his friend has gone.

In the house he likes to sleep on her bed, and keeps rushing in the door each time he comes back from a walk, just in case she has come home. And on walks he is no longer running through the woods, exploring and chasing squirrels. Instead he sticks close to me and waits and watches for her to coming running over to him for a game.

waiting, watching

Every day I find myself thinking how long it’s been since I’ve seen her. Already ten days has passed, soon it will be two weeks, then a month. But life has to goes on, doesn’t it?

RIP The Lurcher

Willow in Autumn

About a month ago, I wrote this post, about the Lurcher being hit by a car.

She went on to have surgery on her kneecap, which seemed to go well, as she was weight bearing on the leg two weeks after her surgery. Then her sutures came out and she was allowed to go for up to 4 x 10 minute walks a day.

The first day she seemed fine, but things didn’t look quite right by the morning of the second day. And by the third day after her stitches came out, she was not walking on her poorly leg at all. I took her up  to see the surgeon who had operated on her and he confirmed she would need more surgery. But it was her tendon that was a problem now, and he felt that a special implant from the States gave her the best chance of recovery.

We did discuss the possibility of amputation as this would mean a much quicker recovery time, but the Lurcher wasn’t yet five and very accident prone. We felt that if her leg could be saved, it should.

So we waited for the surgeon to find one of these implants, then for it to be allowed into the country ( this took almost a week), then yesterday we drove her up to the veterinary clinic and left her there. She was upset at being left, so I didn’t make a big deal of saying good bye, as I was sure I would be driving west to pick her up today.

But it wasn’t to be. Last night, when the Surgeon rang to say the operation had gone well, and she was recovering nicely, I managed to relax for the first time all day.

Then 10 minutes late her was back on the phone with bad news. Our beloved Lurcher had collapsed and died shortly after he had got off the phone to me. They had tried to resuscitate her, but to no avail; something had gone terribly wrong.

We could opt for a Post Mortem but it would cost more money and not necessarily answer any questions. We’ve said to leave it but will get her cremated and have her ashes returned. It may be just ‘one of those things’ but we are all devastated by the loss of our lovely girl.

This is the last photo we have of her, taken yesterday before we headed off up the M40.

lurcher on the sofa

As you can see, the sofa will now have a lot more empty space on it.

Run free Willow. We hope the rainbow bridge has plenty of comfy beds and squirrels to chase.

The Gallery: Light

At this time of the year, I really start to miss the light that fills our garden during summer.

It’s hard to believe that in a few short months we will be able to turn the heating off and leave the doors open. As the kids get older they seem to prefer to spend time indoors, even when the sun is shining, but I don’t care as it means I get the garden all to myself.

We have all had a lot of fun in our garden in the past and of course, my camera has been well used.

My favourite photo of DD3 was taken in the May of her 4th year, in the garden. Every year we get a bunch of poppies appear and the kids have always loved watching the bees bumble along from flower to flower.

Girl and poppy

You can’t see the insect that she’s watching, but I love the way she’s obviously interested, yet cautious.

I also love that I have such a nice picture of her hair when it was blonde, and that the grass is so green and the poppy so orange.

It reminds me that I’ve had enough of winter and can’t wait for the English version of summer.

This post was written for this week’s Gallery over at Sticky Fingers.

If you’ve had enough of the winter gloom and fancy some light, then pop over and check it out.



Party Invitation Problems

A few weeks ago this story  was doing the rounds.

In case you can’t be bothered reading it, it’s the story of the wee boy who was invoiced for non attendance at his school friend’s party. There was a lot of discussion on social media and forums about it and the general consensus was that the people who sent out the invoice went  a little too far, BUT a lot of people felt some sympathy for them.

It seems that most people have a story to tell involving childrens’ birthday party invitations. Their complaints usually fit into one of five categories

1/ People don’t RSVP. At all.

This has happened to me and for one party I had 12 people not reply either way. I also had no way of contacting them so assumed they weren’t going to show up. Two of them did.

In the future, I am going to make sure I have some way of contacting parents before handing their child an invitation!

2/ People don’t RSVP in time.

One mistake people make is to not put a RSVP date on the invitation.

I have done this a few times and have always regretted it, as people reply in dribs and drabs. Someone always rplies the night before, just when you think you’ve finished with the party bags.

Again, if you want to be organised, make sure you have contact details for everyone.

3/Uninvited kids turn up.

This can be a real problem if the party you are holding limits numbers, or asks you to pay per attendee.

I’ve had families bring siblings along to the party without asking, and also had one parent say they won’t be coming but turn up anyhow. Luckily I’ve never had to say ‘No, there isn’t space for you’, but I have had to pay extra.

I’ve also heard of people writing ‘No Siblings’ on the invite.

4/ Kids who have said they are coming don’t turn up.

This is the most common party problem and happens all the time.

There are lost of different reasons; someone gets sick, there is a double booking or sometimes people just forget. It’s easy enough to do if you have a busy weekend.

It’s annoying , but mostly understandable as I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past.

5/ Guests turn up late.

I’m not talking about people who turn up 5 or 10 minutes late. In fact anything up to 30 minutes late is just ‘one of those things’.

The traffic may have been late, a previous appointment may be running late. These things can’t be helped.

But turning up for a party 90 minutes into a 2 hour event just seems a bit odd, especially when nothing has been said previously.

Have you got any suggestions about how to avoid the above scenarios?



The Best Birthday Present Ever For A 9 Year Old.

Brand New 9 year old

This evening the smallest DD turns 9.  It’s her last year in single figures. My babies are growing up so fast!

We used to have lovely relaxed present giving ceremonies in the mornings, but now the oldest two are at secondary school, it doesn’t work out like that.

The big girls usually leave for the bus stop at 7:15 am; the little ones don’t get up until 7. They normally pass like ships in the night ( morning?) so don’t have much time for the giving of gifts, but today I made it happen.

I got the little ones up 5 minutes early and bellowed down the stairs to the big ones that they should come up. I had been unusually organised the night before and had forced everyone to write cards and wrap presents for their sister/daughter. DS headed straight for the loo for his early morning sit down and DD2 shut herself in her room to put her tights on. DD1 started shrieking that she needed to sort out her boil and bite mouthguard and all the while DD3 was sitting patiently on our bed. I left the room to hurry up the others and by the time I had them gathered, DD3 had disappeared.

Arghhh! Finally everyone got together and we started giving cards and  presents, when the older two noticed the time and started wailing they would be late for the bus. I pointed out that if they hadn’t faffed around so much beforehand we’d already be on our way, but they continued to fret and everyone got grumpy.

As I said, it used to be much more relaxed when they all went to the same school.

The main thing was that the birthday girl was happy with her loot; she especially loved her microwaveable panda that she’s cuddling in the photo above.

She also has some presents to open this evening, when everyone gets home again. But apparently this was the best present of all.

Dog home from vet

We have The Lucher home again after her accident last week.

The family is all back together again.





The Baby Turns Seven

It’s the first day back at school  after the Christmas break for our eldest two today, but the youngest two have an ‘Insect’ day.

Insect days are a throw back to when DD1 started school, misheard the term ‘Inset’ days and imagined that all the teachers turned into minibeasts for the day. We soon explained the real purpose of the day, but her idea was much more exciting and the term has stuck.

This is fortuitous as today is also DS’s birthday. He’s the baby of the family and he’s seven today.

newborn baby boy

Here he is, all newborn and goopy. He was a big boy, weighing in at 10lb 13 and like all our kids he had really obvious stork marks on his forehead. These did fade with time, but you can still see DS’s if he gets upset or runs around a lot.

His EDD was New Year’s Day, so he did keep us waiting for a few days. In fact I was in hospital, waiting to be induced, when my waters broke and he was born at 6:15 am, unlike the girls who were all born in the evening.

Here he is this morning, pulling his special ‘photo face’, waiting to open some of his presents.

new seven year old

He’s just a normal sized boy now;  his high birth weight didn’t result in a XXL child. But I think you will agree that being seven means that he isn’t a baby anymore.

Seven is definite Big Boy territory.