I can’t believe I’ve managed to go this long without telling you about Stanley, my beloved Stanley.
There are pets we have growing up who remain fond memories our entire adult life, who bring smiles to our faces when we talk about them and who we see in other animals we encounter over the years. There are others we are glad to be rid of, who bark or meow all night, wee up walls and poo under beds, who offer no affection save for that which they believe is required of them in order to be fed or walked or vetted.
There are pets who warm our hearts for a moment before being forgotten to time, and then there are those who when we lose them, leave huge, gaping, windswept holes in them.
Stanley was one of the latter. He was our beautiful chocolate Pointer cross. The kind of dog everyone in town knows about and who, even now 2 years after his death, people still ask about, “Where’s Stanley today?” they’ll ask mum, before calculating in their heads his age and returning that tell all look of all dog lovers before saying, ”Oh I’m so sorry, he’s gone?”.
It’s just past the 2 year anniversary of our loss and I’m not ashamed to say that on most days I still shed a tear for him, and miss him. I miss the way he smelt, the way his paws sounded across the kitchen floor, the soft felt like texture of his big ears, the sound of his bark, his presence at my side and most of all, his greeting at my homecomings. “Is that Ebby?” mum would ask him, and even 8 years after leaving home, he would bound to the end of the driveway at the sound of my old Daewoo.
When it finally came time to send Stanley off to that big farm house in the sky we were philosophical about it, he was 12, he’d had a good run and his quality of life was gone. We weren’t prepared at all for the grief, for the hole that would be left in our lives without him. If you’ve loved a dog, or any pet, you understand. But it’s not a grief that’s recognised by everyone, and it was hard to find understanding from those who aren’t “animal people”.
Mum and I aren’t “joiners”, we don’t do group activities and find it hard to put ourselves out in the world for fear of judgement and rejection. Having a dog FORCES you out in to society, they have to be trained, walked, socialised. Stanley got us up and moving and shone a light in to the dark corners of our lives where we’d spent so many years cowering away. He saved us.
I’ll share more about Stanley and my beautiful cats with you from time to time. Be patient with me, they have been my family these last 18 years and I love to talk about them. We lost the last of them in March. Our cat Mufti, a black mix of who knows what who was the last in a long line of pets. He was the most hated of all in the beginning, the meowing, peeing, pooing pet I mentioned above, but who outlasted them all in the end and earnt his own special place in our hearts. We miss you buddy.
I’d love to hear your stories about your beloved pets, the good, the bad and the ugly!