All for love…

It was quiet, too quiet. For the first time in almost eight years, there was no bouncing mass of fur when I came home from work. No grinning muzzle, no tail wagging so hard that it wagged the dog too. For a split second, cold fear had me by the throat… then I heard her snores and breathed again.

Curled up on the sofa, her head on a cushion, the small dog was smiling in her sleep. So deep was her slumber that I watched her for several minutes before she awoke… alerted, not by my presence, but by the scent of chicken emanating from my handbag. You could see the twitch of her nose carrying the prospect of treats to her brain as she struggled to focus drowsy eyes.

She didn’t even attempt to leave the sofa, but caught my arm with her paw as I reached out to stroke her ears, holding my hand in her fur in the way that she has, reaching her muzzle to my face so that her whiskers brushed my skin like a whisper.

We sat there for a while, just being together, with love for this beautiful creature spilling down my cheeks. She asks so little of me… just somewhere warm to sleep, a little play, a walk and her food… and would accept even less, as long as she has love.

We cuddled, sharing warmth and touch and a wordless communication, until she felt the need to head for the garden. Usually, she is out of the door, like a cork from a champagne bottle, within seconds of my return, bringing the ball and determined to play. Today, she struggled to rise from the soft surface of the couch, and so did I. Heading to the door, she turned and grinned at me, as if to say that she understood and that it was okay. We are growing older.

We have a lot in common, she and I. Our bodies are changing shape, our hair is touched with grey, our movements are no longer full of energy and grace…or at least, not until we have been moving for a while. And we are both still pups at heart.

Neither of her parents came from long-lived breeds and, although cross breeds tend to live longer and healthier lives than their pure-bred parents, I can see Ani’s age beginning to catch up with her. I know that the years we still have ahead of us will be fewer than those we have already shared.

It made me realise that when you grow old with someone you love, be it ‘only’ a dog, the goodbyes begin early. Not in some morbid way that anticipates grief, mourning the inevitable long before it happens, but in love and joy, cherishing the moments spent together with an increased awareness and gratitude.

In some ways, acknowledging that there will be an end, one day, brings out the best in both love and in life, making you more conscious of how rare and precious a gift both can be. It makes it easier to ‘be the person your dog thinks you are’. It is why so many old tombs show death and life hand in hand in their artwork… a reflection on the vanity of worldly pursuits as well as a stark reminder of all we do have that is real, but which is often taken for granted in the pursuit of material success.

We have this unconscious idea that those we love will always be around… even though we know it to be untrue.  That there will ‘be time enough’… until there isn’t. And then, when the curtain falls without warning and it is too late, where there should be loving memories, there remains only regret.

I hope I will have Ani beside me for many years to come. That we will grow old together for a while, sharing laughter and adventures, and, if the gods are kind, that she will take her last breath with her head on my knee and my voice in her ears. But, if I come home one day to a silence unbroken by snores, I want to weep only for the departure of my friend, not for love ignored and time together wasted.

So now, I am going to cuddle my dog.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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116 Responses to All for love…

  1. Ritu says:

    Oh Sue. I teared up at this. Goodbyes are inevitable… But the thought of them are never comfortable… It easy. Be it human or not… 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You have me in tears. Happy tears for the love you’ve shared with us. Thank you ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ani is a beautiful dog and what you’ve written here about your relationship with her brought a tear to my eye; I hope that you get to hold on to this love you share for a long time to come :O) x

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  4. jenanita01 says:

    Doesn’t bear thinking about, Sue…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have been there with Sam and you are right those last few years are precious. Here is to many more years for you both to be together ♥

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  6. Gwen Plano says:

    Sue, this is such a beautiful and tender tribute. Thank you for sharing your love with us. I’m deeply moved. ♥

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  7. bobcabkings says:

    You are both blessed in each other.

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  8. willowdot21 says:

    Wise ,wise words that we should adhere to in all our relationships. …too much wasted time.
    Long live Ani 💜💜

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  9. So lovely Sue, and I know exactly how you feel. Our pets give us so much, become a part of our lives, even our soul sometimes, and as you say, a warm place to sleep, some play, food, and love is all they ask in return.
    Maggie is like Ani in so many ways, but her age is definitely catching up with her, and I am aware that our time with her is lessening. It hurts to think about it and makes whatever time we have left more precious. Her eyes and snout show a much stronger presence of grey, she’s stiffer in her joints sometimes and like today, the tummy is dodgy more often. She’s 14 tomorrow, and we’ve had her since she was a pup of 7 weeks. Some days, she acts as if she still is, and although I’m glad to see it, it makes me think of the candle burning its brightest…………..

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  10. Helen Jones says:

    Happy New Year, Sue! This is just beautiful – there are few loves as pure as that of a dog. We’ve just started down the route, our puppy girl now seven months – yet I’m already conscious there will come a time when we will part. Cherishing moments and being grateful for them is such a deep truth. Thanks so much for sharing xx

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  11. It will be so hard. Finbar is eleven and a half and is as quick on the trigger as ever, though he doesn’t gallop for as long as he used to do. I don’t know how long we can hope to have him with us as nobody is quite sure how long Galgos live if they’re allowed to—the Spaniards get rid of most of them by the time they’re two. He has rescue friends who are pushing 17. They’re tough as old boots.

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    • Sue Vincent says:

      Looking up Galgos set me off looking through the rescue sites… always a bad move. I need a bigger house, more money and a couple of fields…

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      • Friends in Spain tell me it’s getting better/less awful, but the regions were the abuse is centred are the poorest and the least likely to change. I don’t look at the rescue sites anymore. Too distressing.

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        • Sue Vincent says:

          I try not to… I want to rehome them all.

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          • I’d love to have a whole herd of them but one is difficult enough to handle…

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            • Sue Vincent says:

              There is that 😉

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              • Though I’m sure there are some that are more biddable.

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              • Sue Vincent says:

                I’ve met them… I just bever seem to live with them. I wonder what that says about me… 😉

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              • You mean sighthounds in general? I don’t know. It maybe just means you come from an environment where ‘dog’ was a mongrelly sheepdog terrier sort of a dog. A ‘normal’ modern sort of dog. We never had a dog, so I just got one that tugged at the heart strings. The sighthounds were the dogs that were accepted in the house as companions in the Middle Ages, because they were ‘nice’ dogs. People were different then and homes were different too. They’re funny dogs, not really domesticated, more like tame wild animals. I love Galgos but they don’t fit in with most lifestyles. Greyhounds might be easier, more domesticated.

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              • Sue Vincent says:

                I mean dogs in general. 🙂 We’ve had everything from a small army of pedigree Irish Setters to German Shepherds and mongrels. Greyhounds are lovely house dogs…40 mph couch potatoes… but they still have minds of their own. I’d rather have it that way. An intelligent dog may take a bit more effort to train…and you may only train them to obey when they so choose … but they are always real characters.

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              • Yes, you’re right there. The Spaniards say they’re stupid because they don’t do what they’re told. I think there’s a world of difference between understanding what you’re being asked to do and refusing to do it, and just not having a clue. They do know what you want them to do, but unless you give them a very good reason for doing it, they prefer to carry on with whatever it is they’re doing. I know that ordering Finbar to do something like ‘sit on your chair’ just makes him think I’m cross with him. He’ll do it eventually, but only after he’s slunk up to me with his head hanging down to ask for forgiveness. They hate raised voices. Just like people really.

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              • Sue Vincent says:

                Same with Ani. Certain words, like ‘bath’, will send her immediately to bed… but ‘bed’ won’t unless she’s sleepy 😉

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              • I see it as a higher form of intelligence than blind obedience. That is a human way of looking at intelligence. A dog needs to be an intelligent dog and know how to do dog stuff, not play dead or walk on it’s hind legs. It’s like teaching people to sniff out cat poo in the grass or bury bones. They might be able to learn how to do it, but would they ever agree to?

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              • Sue Vincent says:

                More to the point, would we want to?

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              • Most of us wouldn’t. I don’t suppose most dogs want to play dead either, but if they get thumped when they don’t they give in.

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              • Sue Vincent says:

                No way to treat any creature…

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              • I don’t think so.

                Liked by 1 person

  12. Well that’s got me crying ❤

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  13. Mary Smith says:

    You made me cry – but in a good happy/sad way.

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  14. This made my heart melt. Yes, pour every ounce of affection into your beautiful dog and make sure not even a second is wasted because seconds have a tendency to slip through your fingers like sand. She’ll appreciate your love just as much as we appreciate you, knowing that you’ve cared for her with such tenderness.

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  15. memadtwo says:

    Also tears here…we always think there is more time. Best to use today wisely. (K)

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  16. Very recognisable symptoms, grand thoughts.

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  17. Dale says:

    I feel the same about Zeke. He’s already 9 and is a pure-bred German Shepherd.. I hope he has many more years ahead but know it is less than more…

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  18. V.M.Sang says:

    A beautiful post. May you grow old disgracefully together, for many more years and remain puppies inside.

    Like

  19. Pingback: All for love… | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  20. My Annie is eight also, and her hips are not that good (like mine :)) but every now and then, especially when Dad comes home, she forgets that and dances around like she’s still a pup. Those moments warm my heart.
    This is a beautiful post for your baby, Sue. May she enjoy many more years of your love ❤

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  21. Adele Marie says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. I hope and pray that you and Ani will have many long years together and that Dante and us will too. ❤

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  22. Darlene says:

    Such a sweet and heartfelt post. I couldn’t imagine life with a dog and now I can’t imagine one without our Dot. We have to make the most of the time we have together. You are so lucky to have Ani!

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  23. Widdershins says:

    Never, never, let it be said on our tombstones (in whatever form they take) that we died without enough cuddles! Please give her a soft ear-skritch for me. 😀

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  24. Beautiful, Sue… Love is what it’s all about. May you and Ani share the magic of love for a long, long time. ❤

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  25. Beautiful words, Sue. I’m still trying to get used to the silence greeting me when I come home. Henry’s presence is missed in every moment of our day. I can relate to knowing the inevitable but living through the loss is sometimes unbearable.

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  26. Beautiful, Sue. I know exactly how you feel. You both are fortunate to have each other.

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  27. This is so touching, Sue. I’m feeling very weepy, and my old pups will get extra cuddles this evening. Give Ani a good ear rub for me. ❤

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  28. We have one aging fast, though I think slimming her down may help her live a little longer. We have one medium dog and one young one. It’s hard getting old, harder when the furry ones age as they inevitably do. But we need to keep loving them all the way, beginning to end.

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  29. dgkaye says:

    Such truth Sue. You bring to light many of the thoughts many of us contemplate. I especially love it summed up by you with this: ” I know that the years we still have ahead of us will be fewer than those we have already shared.” I’ve often thought about those things in life. Good to bring to light, but better not to dwell on. 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  30. You scared me for a moment there, and she’s not even my dog. I’m glad Ani was just slower to get up than she used to be, and is doing alright. I hope you’ll have plenty more time with her yet.

    Like

  31. Jennie says:

    Oh, Sue. This was so loving, a pierce right to the heart. ❤️

    Like

  32. Eliza Waters says:

    Oh, gosh, there’s a lump in my throat. ❤
    You are so right, we really have to be grateful for every moment we share with our loved ones, and waste nary a one.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. This is very touching, Sue. I share the same view, make the most of the people [and dogs] you love while they are still alive to appreciate it. My life has been touched by death more often in the last six months than ever before. It is hard to think of young people dying.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. olganm says:

    So beautiful, Sue, and so true. ♥

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  35. Yup, my throat is tight, holding back the tears. You describe how important and wonderful our dogs are in our lives – perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. My dog Oreo passed away a year ago. I still say her name and miss her all the time, especially when I talk to my other old lady pup. My little sister said “I am never going to have another dog again, if it means saying goodbye.” I told her what you have to understand is that these pups are going to live with or without us, why not give them a loving home filled with so many memories? “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” -Winnie the Pooh

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  37. Oh, Sue. This brought me to tears. I just happened to come across this when looking for your site. Beautifully expressed, Dear Girl! I know just what you mean. My little furball has started slowing down. I’m seeing more grey in his fur. Things like that I find myself taking the more time to really express my love and affection for him. More cuddles, etc. I’m pretty sure I will have him for several more years, but yes, the goodbyes have begun.

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  38. I’m so sorry. It’s the good memories that sometimes will keep you afloat during this hard time. ❤️

    Like

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