I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

"ONLY A DOG"

(click any picture to enlarge)


Sabre "found" us, aged two. A local German Shepherd Rescue Society directed me to him and he came untrained, ungroomed tangled coat and with the strength of a young horse. However, I have an affinity with dogs and with the help of a Halti lead and that splendid book, "The Dog Listener" he learnt that I, not he, was the Alpha Male.
Happy with this understanding he took his place in our "pack" and became a great softy who loved a romp with our 6 grandchildren - I have a happy memory of him vainly trying to shepherd them as they ran over a local field.
We caravan and he was a constant companion on all our holidays, making the load area of the estate car his own sleeping area. When we visited towns or country houses he was happy to be left guarding the car, loosely chained with the back door open.

With us he "triangulated" England. From Hadrian's Wall in the North,




where he became "mascot" to my fellow members of The Ermine Street Guard,



South-West to the Cornish coast


and, nearer to home in the South-East, walking the paths above the White Cliffs of Dover with my eldest grandson.

Reaching the age of twelve he was still happy to romp in the recent February snows.

Three days before our Australian holiday he showed signs of panic and distress - meandering around the house, pushing his head into tight corners and upsetting objects. He was due to be cared for by our son and I could not leave with him in this state, so the day before we flew I took him to the vet. She immediately diagnosed a brain tumour, to which elderly Shepherds are susceptible. Our eyes met and I knew there was only one decision to make.
A great English countryside writer is able to tell the rest far better than I:
"he died, swiftly and easily, with his head in my hands. Such is the price of love, which exacts nothing less than a part of ourselves, great or small, according as the occasion and our temperament decree. A dog is, of course, only a dog. His death is universal and not new. Two thousand years ago a Greek countryman suffered a similar bereavement, whereof the monument was discovered by archaeologists. "If," said the inscription, "you pass by this way, and happen to notice this stone, do not laugh, even though it is only a dog's grave. Tears fell for my sake, and the earth was heaped above me by a master's hand, who likewise carved these words."












Goodbye old friend.

34 comments:

Judith said...

Oh!Avus,how unspeakably sad for you to have to say good by to Sabre just before you left on your trip to Australia. Perhaps, though your antipodean family will have compensated you to some extent with their loving welcome.

herhimnbryn said...

Read this with Bryn sitting next to me. We are due to go for a walk in the next few minutes. I have to go and dry my eyes first.

He was a great dog, your Sabre. You know the story......one day you will whistle and he will look up, ears alert and find you.

Anonymous said...

oh, how awful! rotten animal friends, leaving us much too early, leaving us to grieve for years....
: (

at least you have some wonderful photos of Sabre, but small compensation for the pain. i hope it eases for you soon.

: (

squrilleus

Barrett Bonden said...

I hope there's some compensation in having caught him photographically at his very best.

Anonymous said...

i think the photo of Sabre playing in the snow is such a lovely photo...

sq

Kay said...

He looks like he enjoyed wonderful scenery as much as his master does.
A beautiful dog. He will live on in your photos and memories. It's such a shame our pets don't live longer ... they leave such an aching gap when they go.

Vita said...

I'm so sorry.

Maureen and Eric said...

Avus, both Eric and I are very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful dog your Sabre was.

mm said...

Avus, I am so sorry. What a touching tribute to your friend and companion.

You have some beautiful photographs to help you hold the memory of Sabre. And didn't his name suit him well?

Isabelle said...

Oh dear, how sad. I'm sorry.

Great photos from your GW trip. I really like that poem too.

Robyn said...

So sad....what can I say? ....except that I know how it feels.

Avus said...

Thank you for your comments and condolences, folks.
I felt he was worth remembering in a posting. The fourth of the dogs who have lived with us. Trouble free and tranquil - even his "departure" was quick and perfectly timed (although there are better ways of starting a holiday!)

Helen said...

What a beautiful dog and such stunning photos. We are so lucky to have these beautiful souls accompany us through our lives. You will miss him for some time, no doubt.

valonia said...

Oh, how sad, Gandalf. I'm sure his spirit lives on with you. What a magnificent dog he will always be.

xxx V

Lucy said...

Oh dear, I only just found this. It's never less than a heartbreak to hear about such a loss... and he was such a beauty. But you know you didi the right thing, and what a blessing that it wasn't left for your son to decide and you to come back to.

Beautiful quotes, now I'm tearful!

Avus said...

Lucy:
Like HHnB (above), as a dog owner you understand. Tears are a compliment to his memory. Thank you.

Zhoen said...

My heartfelt condolences.

Nea said...

Oh my, oh my......just a dog, never......I know the love and the loyalty and well, I still remember a black and white dog jumping straight up in the air when he would see me. Can't help but cry......I am not even sure the date on this, I forgot to look, but I am just reading it now, end of May....

Lovely pictures of his life with you.....hugs my friend...

Avus said...

Nea:
thank you - and so great to have you back blogging again. I was getting worried about you!

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windblownbutterfly said...

Avus, I am so sorry for this loss. I've been there, had to make that horrible decision. I'm glad that it happened before you left and that you were able to be there with him at that most important time.

I'm sorry it took me so long to see and comment on this post, I've just not been "here" for a long time, trying to get back into it again.

Avus said...

Butterfly:
So good to hear from you again. Welcome back!

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HeatherLynn said...

This Post was really touching.

The pictures gorgeous.

the feelings, heartfelt.

~hl~

Glos said...

That brought tears to my eyes. I had the same with my beloved Tara. The vet put her on the table and I held her head in my hands. She looked up at me and seemed to say "what are they going to do to me this time master ?"

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Anonymous said...

Sabre didn’t die. He lives on in your heart and now mine. Sabre didn’t end. He made a transition. God bless.