"One day before our dog, Lady, died, I was penning this post, but as she gradually started to fade, I left the post to one side, as it hurt too much to read it. Sadly, we lost our Rough Collie, Lady, last Monday and she is greatly missed. I now include the post as, it probably resonates with most dog owners out there who experience such loss.
Happiness is many things to many different folk, but without the constant pleasure of literature, writing, music, nature and having my dog and Sheila around me in my life, there would be less daily pleasure for me. Running alongside my dogs in earlier years as a young boy and then teenager, walking with Lady and Sheila on the Haworth Moors and seeing Lady run and prance in a way that neither she nor I can any longer do, is one of my happiest memories.
Today, happiness involves no more for our dog than it does for myself. All it requires is that simple stroke that tells Lady 'I love her.' Gently cuddling her furry back and soft underbelly whenever she seeks reassurance of my presence is all she asks in return for her total loyalty and unconditional love.
I hope that you're taking all this in, Sheila, as I roll over for some attention?
As Lady and I each move towards the autumn of our lives, quite often we appear to mimic identical symptoms of our age; arthritis in the legs and hips, increased deafness, shortness of sight, the need to take many more afternoon naps and stopping at lamp posts more often when out and about. We even have this canny tendency to like or dislike the same people whom we may encounter!
All in all, any dog, is one of life's best creatures who is capable of loving you more than themselves. In fact, the only fault I have ever found in dogs is that they don't live long as long as humans do, and when they die, part of us always dies with them. Dogs have a loyalty towards humans that they hold not for any other dog and that is what makes the dog, man's best friend. Dogs effectively remain dependent on their owners far longer than any child stays dependent on their parent. For a child, dependency tapers off the older they grow, but for a dog, they remain dependent on its owner forever and their dependency grows stronger with each year they grow older!
As our children grow older, a good parent encourages greater independence in them and knows that the day may even come, many years down the line, when the parent becomes dependent on their child. But dogs are different. They attach themselves to you as pups, but unlike the child/parent bond, their attachment grows, not lessens throughout their lives. However old they get, the simple fact is that every time you go out, there is an inner fear that you may not come back, and that is why, when you do, they signal their happiness and affection in abundance through their excitement, bark greeting and the wagging of their tail.
What I really admire about dogs however, is that dogs are totally unpretentious creatures. They act the very same way we would, if we had no shame. Like an innocent child, they will play with themselves while the world looks on. They mark not their day by the hands of the clock, but instead by the presence and absence of their owner. Before meeting Sheila, the two people in life I could always rely upon were my mother and my dog. A few yesterdays ago, there were two Ladies in my life, and now sadly, it is one!" William Forde: September 23rd, 2016.