On 28th December we finally had to say goodbye to our beloved dog Betty. We rescued her five and a half years ago from Animaux en Péril in Braine l’Alleud in Belgium when her estimated age was 10-12 years. She was in a sorry state when we first met her, with an infected paw having been bitten by another dog, and essentially we were her last chance before she reached her time limit in the shelter. She very quickly made herself at home with us having clearly been a well loved dog in her past, she knew just exactly what a sofa was all about and her ‘love me’ nudge became well known by all who met her. Whilst in Belgium she spent many happy hours chasing our chickens and stealing the stale bread we left for them, she would then give great consideration to the perfect spot in which to bury or hide the bread. Favourite spots for this included the girls’ beds, behind scatter cushions, in piles of clean laundry and occasionally in a specially prepared hole in the hydrangea border! Betty was extremely welcoming to any guests, barking madly until she had made her presence properly acknowledged by visitors. Friends, family and delivery men alike were required to administer the requisite amount of petting before being allowed to continue greeting us. She was a fussy eater until the prospect of leftovers was in the air at which point she was the canine equivalent of the Bisto twins!
For the past five years she has been my shadow, utterly faithful and always by my side. She was loved by all our family and the many friends who looked after her for us on holidays and between moves. But, she was increasingly lame and in pain. On Boxing Day we spent a last happy day together at the Oak Tree Barn having a post Christmas bonfire. Betty hobbled around but was happy to be in her favourite spot, she loved to visit the barn and was never happier than when there with us. But on the 27th it became absolutely evident that her time was up, she was hardly able to walk and quite withdrawn. I managed to find a truly lovely vet who came to the barn and put her to sleep there. He was so good with the girls, and Betty took a real shine to him. She fought to the last, but died in her favourite spot surrounded by the family who loved her. We buried her there and will plant a tree in her memory in the Spring.
I miss her more than I could have imagined, the house seems empty without her. No snuffling at the end of the bed, and no early morning nudge for a stroke. Today I even feel as though I’ll miss the Betty-hair tumbleweed rolling across the floors. We were so lucky to have such a sweet dog in our lives and I’m pleased that she will rest in peace at the barn where we will often remember her.