Bertie by Louise / Louise.

You were six weeks old when you first arrived at our house. You were a cheeky puppy, always up to something and always giving us things to worry about like when you broke your toe and when you were ill before we discovered you were allergic to meat. You were also adorable, especially the way you’d lay on my shoulder and
fall asleep, contentedly grumbling.
We called it your sleepy mode.

As time went on and you grew up you became more sensible we knew it would soon be time to say goodbye. You were destined to be a special dog, to help someone live a fuller life. So at 10 months old you went off for training. Although I’d always known the day would come it still broke my heart as I went off to school that day, not knowing
if I’d ever see you again.

We were all so proud the day we got the letter to say you’d ‘graduated’ as a Guide dog. You were so special you were going to be helping someone who had hearing problems as well as being blind and you’d had to have extra training.

For the next seven years we had a few letters from your owner updating us on how you were both getting on. I finished school, went to college and then university. Although you weren’t with me I never forgot about you and would often wonder what you were up to.

After four years I graduated and moved back home. A few weeks later we got the letter to say you were retiring and would we like you back. You’d timed it perfectly! Mum wasn’t too keen, but I pursuaded her and on 5th June 1998 you came back to live with us, I was so happy. They said you’d slowed down, but you were just like you were when you’d left, a big soft puppy, just a nine year old one.

When I moved out of home I couldn’t leave you behind, so you came too. We had some good holidays doing loads of walking in the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District.

Last year your back legs began to wobble a bit, so we went to the vet. They gave you tablets which worked for a few months, but then stopped working as well. As the dose kept increasing my heart started sinking further each time we went back. Eventually the vet said you were on the maximum dose and there was nothing more they could do once these stopped working. It was the beginning of March and the vet said you’d enjoy the summer, but the winter would be too much for you. So I started trying to enjoy our last few months together. You had your 14th birthday and Easter arrived. I went away with the Brownies, leaving you with Mum and Dad. I came back and they told me you’d been ill, but you seemed to pick up again when I came back. We went on the beach and you paddled in the sea.

When I had to go away for the day I left you with Mum and Dad again, I never thought for one second that I’d never see you again as I gave you a quick pat and said goodbye. But the next day you decided you were too tired to go on, you couldn’t stand up, so they called the vet.

I wish I’d had the chance to say a proper goodbye. The house is so empty without you. When I wake up during the night I still listen to hear you breathing from the end of my bed, but there’s only silence.
I’ll never forget you.


Lots of love from,
25, Apr 2003