musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: Pet

Losing a pet

Yesterday when I got home I had a message from my brother telling me that one of his dogs had passed away. This dog that went by the moniker “Ladybird”, was one of two that he got from the local SPCA many years ago and they were both probably about 4-5 years old at the time, although I always suspected that she was a bit older. She certainly had that grey look that an old dog has, and suffered from fits and was partly deaf, but that did not prevent her from squirming her way into his affections, just like the dog he had before, and the one before. And, when each one passed away he was left devastated. Such is the love that an owner has for their pets.

I never really bonded with her, although when I was looking after the house when he was in hospital I was her best friend because I wielded the tin opener, and I ended up having to deal with her fits. There isn’t much that you can do except make sure she doesn’t fall off the couch or injure herself as the fit happens. It was not a pleasant thing to experience, and I am sure that it was even worse for her. My brother did not use that as an excuse to have her put down, instead he kept her safe as she would have her fits and then made sure she had come out it properly. They were very attached and he will miss her terribly. Like so many dogs she would follow him around, and in spite of her deafness could sense the opening of a tin or the slight rustle of a packet from a mile away. She was not a picky eater and would gobble her food as well as the other dogs food and then still wander around looking hungry. I remember when he got her how thin she was, and after a few months she had definitely become more rotund around the midriff. When I saw her earlier this year she had taken to wandering around the kitchen in circles, in one door, out the other. She was however looking her age, which was over 10 years, possibly closer to 15.

Ladybird (L) and Teddy Bear (R)

They say that your pets wait for you at the place where you go when you die, in fact most people bank on that and I know it will be disappointing if it does not happen, because whether we like it or not pets give us a glimpse of unconditional love unlike many human relationships.

The other dog remaining is somewhat of a loner, he preferred corners or being underneath items of furniture, and it often made us speculate on his former owners treatment of him. But, he loved a good scratch, sleep and fart and was not that obsessed with food, instead he tended to nibble, but his partner would gulp it all down while he chewed thoughtfully. Unfortunately he is partly blind now, and I expect he will miss his companion, even though they were never really close. I hate to say this but think his time is not that far away either.

I have never had a dog of my own, although I was very attached to our first dog from when I was very young. That dog was the one that cured my phobia for dogs, and when he was killed I was devastated. I have however enjoyed the company of other people’s dogs and cats and most have left my life just that little bit richer, and sadder when they left after a long and fruitful life.

Ladybird may not have been a beacon of light in the world, but she was my brothers beacon of light and he will miss her terribly, This is the third dog that he has seen leave him, and each parting has been difficult. But, she will live on in his memories and in mine, just like Nelson and Skipper do, and she will not be forgotten.

Update. 25/11/2017

This morning I saw one of the locals that lived in my area walking up the road, usually she doesn’t go anywhere without her little King Charles spaniel and will walk it many times during the day. I asked her about her little dog and she tearfully told me that she had to have him put down as he was suffering from what sounded like dementia and was unable to function. She was devastated, and I could see that she did not want to talk because of the anguish she was going through. I asked her whether she would get another dog and she replied, “I am old, there was only the two of us”. Her life has literally been turned upside down, and I felt very sad to see this woman in this state. The loss of that dog was traumatic for her, it gave her a reason to get out of the house in all weather and multiple times of the day. That reason no longer exists for her. Her life has become empty without her pet and I sincerely hope that one day I will bump into her walking another dog,

I enjoy seeing all the dogs in my area, and watching them chase balls in the field, they enrich our lives, and when they pass on they leave a large hole in our hearts; ask anybody that lost their pet, and they will agree completely. Dogs may be animals, but I would rather know some dogs than some people.  

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 18/10/2017

Updated: 01/01/2018 — 17:02

Happy New Year

It is now 21H42, and in South Africa it is 23H42, almost 2015. I have had an interesting, if somewhat odd year, and up to a point it was going reasonably well. However that has since changed.

The year saw many highlights and lowlights too, these are a few of them.

January.

I started my year with a bit of shipwatching, the Maiden arrival of Norwegian Getaway in Southampton.

And I made a trip to Bristol to photograph Arnos Vale Cemetery, and managed to squeeze in a visit to the SS Great Britain.  It was a great trip, and on my way to Bristol I passed Bath Spa, and decided to make that a destination for a road trip. 

 
February.
 
My first exploration of that month was to Old Sarum in Salisbury, and it was one of those strange places that leave you thinking. And, there was a lot of thinking that month as we gathered in Southampton to commemorate the memory of those members of the SANLC who perished in the Mendi Disaster 
 
 
March.
 
The 1st of March is also the first anniversary of my arrival in the UK. Time has passed, and I have seen much since I stepped off the plane into the unknown.  I also managed to get to Bath Spa and it was a very pretty city.  
 
April

In this month  I moved into my own little pad in Salisbury. Bliss, no flatmates, no shared facilities, privacy!! YES! But what a lot of hoops I had to jump through to get there. Unfortunately it was a longish walk to work and often I would start out in the morning and be worn out by the time I got there. 

May

My birthday month. And in mid May I took a trip down to South Africa to settle some of my affairs. To be honest I do not really miss the place.

 
June.

I returned to Salisbury in June, and it was interesting to be able to consider the UK as my end destination, and not the place I was leaving from. I also paid my first visit to Brookwood Cemetery and the military cemetery there was huge. The largest congregation of military graves I have ever seen in one place. 

 
July. 

This was quite a busy month, my first trip destination was Portsmouth and Gosport, and a visit to HMS Alliance and the Royal Navy Submarine Museum which was really fascinating. 

 
I also visited Haslar Naval Cemetery and photographed most of the World War II graves there. Unfortunately I was not able to complete the First World War Graves so would have to revisit at a later date.

I  took a trip on Shieldhall down to Ryde, which is the longest trip I had taken on this preserved vessel. I was also keen on doing a trip on her to Poole, but I just did not do it. It was also my last trip on her for the year. On a shipwatching note, I was able to photograph Emerald Princess.  

August
 
On the 4th of August we remembered the start of the horror of the First World War.
 
The biggest highlight of August (and probably the whole year) was definitely the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red Memorial at the Tower of London.
 

 

It was a very memorable thing to see, and it was only probably a quarter of the way done. The images that I have seen of the end result have really been breathtaking, and I know it was probably the most effective memorial and tribute I have ever seen to those who never came back from the First World War.

I also made a visit to Tower Hamlets Cemetery, which was number 6 of the magnificent seven  Victorian Garden Cemeteries, and of course finally got to see the Imperial War Museum which had been on my bucket list since I was a a boy.

It was also the month when the Maritime Festival was held in Southampton, and to be frank it was not as good as the previous years one. 

 
September

Somewhere along the line in August I probably injured my ankle, and was not able to do much in the way of day trips. In fact September was a very quiet time altogether. The only major expedition I made was a return to Gosport to complete the World War One graves I had not done earlier in the year. The rest of that month I seemed to spend in a state of advanced vegging.

October. 

In October I started job hunting as I was concerned about the situation where I was. Fortunately (or with hindsight, unfortunately) I was able to find a job almost immediately in Basingstoke, and I made plans to pack up and leave Salisbury. Packing and arranging my move and finding new accommodation took up a lot of my time, and the only real highlight I had was on the shipwatching front when the worlds second largest cruise ship: Oasis of the Seas called in Southampton. 

 
  
November.

In November I closed the book on Salisbury and at the end of the first week of November I moved to Basingstoke. It was also Remembrance Day in Salisbury.

 

And while on the shipwatching front I went down to Southampton to see Quantum of the Seas. This was the maiden arrival of this new ship too, and she was interesting to see.

 

 

That was the last bit of shipwatching I will do for awhile, or at least until next year, although that does depend on where I am.

 December. 

December was a quiet one. Winter has set in and the weather has gone pear shaped along with it, although we have had some really beautiful days. Christmas Day being especially nice. I did three lots of gravehunting over December, the two local trips being especially memorable. I also revisited Brookwood, although I did not really have any specific grave that I was looking for. I do however have a new appreciation for it. 

And that was my year. I also had some finality on the job front, and from next week I am in the market (as they say). Whether I will remain in Basingstoke remains to be seen. My heart really wants me to go back to Southampton, but I have made no real plans. It all depends on the job market. On the gravehunting scene I will probably be returning to Brookwood, and I have a few churchyards on my list, I will also probably go to London one of these days to look up a few graves there, and of course to visit Norwood Cem. But until then the only thing I can say is…..

 
© DRW 2014-2018. Images and links recreated 21/05/2016.  
Updated: 22/06/2018 — 12:48

Rest in Peace Dokes.

This morning I got the news that one of the pets at my other home had left us. It was an inevitable passing though, he was 20 years old, and when I saw him in May he was obviously on his last days. 

 

Like most pets he was part of a family, he was always there, it is hard to remember a time when he wasn’t. He decided to adopt the family many years ago, moved in, took over and soon became a cherished family member. 

 

And like all family members he had his foibles and his routines.
 
We used to joke about the discoloured wall roughly 30cm’s high where he used to rub himself as he walked. In fact he was famous for not being able to walk past anything without first rubbing himself against it. Then there was the morning water drinking session out of the handbasin. The water had to be the right height, and fresh and he would delicately lap at it. Nobody was allowed to use the bathroom while this happened, and he could drink for hours. At one point he was notoriously obsessed with his food, he would only eat “pilletjies”, and would look disdainfully at anything else. He was also responsible for the demise of numerous catnip plants, as well as numerous birds, lizards, mice and anything that caught his eye. He once considered taking on a Hadedah, but decided it was just too much of a mouthful
 
In his younger days he was a bit of a streetfighter, coming home after an evening brawl with a sullen look and sometimes bleeding and battered. However, in his later years he really preferred regular hours, and would snooze the night through tucked into his owners shoulder or hip or wherever his new favourite spot was. He used to enjoy joining everybody outside when the sun was hot and there was a handy blanket for him to stretch out on. Although the blanket usually came out especially for him. 
  
Like many cats he had an innate ability to decide to sleep wherever he could create the biggest obstacle or inconvenience, and often would turn up at the right moment to catch a nap on your chest or keyboard or foot. And once ensconced would rarely be disturbed. It was just how things were. 
 
When I left South Africa in 2013, he was already thin and sleeping much more than before, and when I arrived in May 2014 for a visit I was shocked at how thin he was, and it was obvious that he did have very little time left.  He passed on 20 days after I returned to the UK. I am glad I got to say my goodbyes to him. 
 
The problem with a pet is that they are more than just pets. They are the part that gives unconditional love, and who listens patiently when you tell them all your troubles, although they often drift off for a snack in the middle of your woes. But they are always there when you need them. And when they leave us they leave a void in our lives. We expect to see them, to feel them, and to hear them. But they are no longer there. Your life is been enriched by them, and now it is saddened by their going. 
 
I come from the school of thought that says somewhere out there your pets are waiting for you to come home to them, I do not subscribe to the notion that pets have no souls, they certainly have feelings and a personality, and often have a sense of fun. I like to think that if there is a place where they go to, I would like to go there too. 
 
It’s difficult to write something like this, a kind of eulogy to a cat that belongs to a friend, even though  I expected the news I was heartbroken when I heard it. I knew Dokes too, he sat on my lap many times, and rubbed himself on my legs, and ducked and dived when I wanted to take pics of him. I laughed at his antics on many occasions, and was amazed at how he could balance a straw on his head. He was the alpha male cat in the household, and whichever cat becomes dominant now will have a hard act to follow. I believe the other cats are lost without him, just as his human family is. 
 
He is buried in the garden that he enjoyed. He may no longer be with us in body, but will always live on in our memories.
 
Rest in peace you old streetfighter, may all your days be full of sunshine and comfortable laps. Thank you for being with us for so long, we will miss you. 
 
 
© DRW 2014-2018. Created 26/06/2014, images recreated 17/04/2016
Updated: 30/12/2017 — 20:44
DR Walker © 2014 -2018. Images are copyright to DR Walker unless otherwise stated. Frontier Theme