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The View From Here

PUBLISHED: 13:17 30 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:08 03 July 2010

By Anne Edwards

IN my position as editor of The Mercury, I am often called on to give talks and attend official functions - I enjoy it. I talk about my job and the newspaper and what we are trying to do in supporting the community in which we live.

By Anne Edwards

IN my position as editor of The Mercury, I am often called on to give talks and attend official functions - I enjoy it. I talk about my job and the newspaper and what we are trying to do in supporting the community in which we live.

So why am I telling people at talks that my little dog died a few weeks ago? I suppose it's because he was part of our lives for nearly 17 years, and he was my baby.

I feel myself being drawn to tell all the details - like now.

Perhaps it's part of the grieving process.

“Pah!” I can hear some readers spitting as they read this. Hopefully, not while they're eating muesli.

“It's only a dog”, they'll mutter grumpily.

Err, no. I beg to differ. He was a living being, who felt pain and anger and joy.

Okay, I've started and so I'll continue...

We had had Jack Russell Max since he was six weeks old - a bundle of fun who enjoyed me leaping out from behind a door or a chair and scaring him. We played hide-and-seek: with me being the one who hid - he wasn't very good at finding a suitable spot.

And when he found me, he grinned, oh yes he did!

He had been a faithful companion, providing us with many hilarious moments - and you know, I could swear sometimes he looked at us quizzically when there was a knock on the door or a noise outside; as if to say, who's that, what's that.

He followed me everywhere and slept on our bed; in the winter sneaking under the duvet.

For the last three months of his life he had been blind; a victim of old age and a failing liver. I knew I had to make the decision to put him to sleep as it was the kindest thing I could do for him. But the decision was the hardest I have ever had to make.

On the fateful day of our appointment, I stood at the entrance to the vet's, Max cuddled up in his favourite blanket in my arms - and I cried and I couldn't move. Every time I thought I had pulled myself together to take that one step inside the surgery, the sadness welled up again.

And then I did it, and we went into the treatment room where Max was given the injection; I cradled his head in both my hands, breathing on him and talking to him so he knew it was me and he shouldn't be afraid.

It was over...

Of course, the inevitable happened. Floods of tears, so much so that I couldn't drive home for a while, but sat in the car park getting sympathetic and knowing looks from other pet owners; they knew - and they knew how I felt.

The house for several weeks felt empty. When I come home from work, no-one hurtles in delight along the hallway to bounce up and down, hindering me getting fully into the house, and laddering my tights with claws.

I miss jokingly shouting "get down, get down" but patting his head at the same time and making him worse.

It is getting easier, but his dog bed is still in the kitchen; his bowls too. His toys are still strewn around the house.

An old jumper of mine which he used to sleep on is still on the settee and most nights I put it to my face to smell his special smell, but it's fading.

His collar is on the mantelpiece.

His things will stay where we can trip over them until we're ready to let him go - as we will, in time.

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