"It fills me with deep sadness to witness the last hours of our Lady's life. It is a hard thing to bear when the time comes for someone or creature you love to leave this earth. Even as a lover of gardens and flowers, it often wounded me to see the death of a delicate flower strangled by the unexpected visit of a cold night-time frost. How much more I feel, now that I know our Rough Collie, Lady, will soon become a loving memory of all who knew her gentle nature; that very friendliness and gentleness mirrored in the character of her Mistress, Sheila.
This past weekend has been the worst I have had to endure for a good many years and I haven't missed as much sleep or cried as much since my dear mother died thirty years ago. I have watched our dog, Lady, approach her end of life and the only thing I've been able to do as she has whined with pain is to be by her side night and day over the past 48 hours and stroke her each time she looked up at me with those pleading dog eyes that said, 'Please take it away.' Each moment I have left her sight, she has instantly cried for me to return. It has been heartbreaking to see her in pain and to ask her to wait until Sheila's return from her holiday break in Singapore this morning until the three of us can make her last journey to the vets.
Two days ago, Lady's hind leg collapsed, leaving her unable to stand and removing from her the dignity of performing her doggy functions unassisted. Her hind leg has been troubling her for months now and both me and Sheila have been unconsciously preparing for this moment of decision. Sunday was spent by some of Lady's human friends who have loved and cared for her, visiting to say their final goodbye; in particular Colin who always looked after Lady when Sheila and I holidayed and my brother-in-law Richard, whose love of myself and Sheila is enjoined with his love for Lady. Both Saturday and Sunday nights have been spent by me sleeping in the kitchen by her side for most of the night, stroking her whenever she whined.
Sheila returns from her ten-day break in Singapore within the next half hour to the type of homecoming nobody should ever be asked to endure. As we take Lady on her last journey, I will try hard to remember that Goodbyes are not the end; they simply mean, 'We will miss you, Lady, until we meet up again.'
Lady will remain forever buried in the heart of her Mistress Sheila and myself. To live in the heart of another is never to die in their memory. In the end, we all must one day part from those we love dearest, only to meet again in another place where unity is restored. I know that at this precise moment as I pen these words, I am very sad and am on the verge of tears yet again, but when I look into my heart, I can see the truth that what I weep for has been nothing short of my delight in knowing such a sweet dog over these past six years since I met Sheila. Even in the throes of unspeakable grief, when we think of you, Lady, happy memories can be found, like those in Knaresborough. God Bless you. We both love you dearly and will scatter your ashes on the moor that you and Sheila walked since she found you. You have been a true 'Rescue Dog' for bringing into our lives, a joy that no human ever could." William Forde: October 19th, 2016.