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A Dog Is For Life

Springer Spaniel family dog Staglers

A dog is for life, and their loyalty in our family has been amazing. Meet my first dog Cassie.

My wife, Sandra, comes from a farming background and has lived with dogs since she was small. I, on the other hand, did not own a dog until 1992 when I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to bring Cassie into my life.

Dad, kids, springer spaniel walking in countryside

Working Dogs

I carefully considered many different dog breeds. I knew the breed you choose will need to be right for the lifestyle you have. A Great Dane in a flat would never work. I admired the working dogs and after careful consideration about my lifestyle, I decided a Springer Spaniel bitch would be ideal for me as my first dog.

A recommendation of a local family who’s good-natured bitch had just had a litter of puppies. There was a remaining pup and her runtish smile was incredible. I picked her up, put her on my lap where she settled and remained sound asleep for 2 hours while the people chatted. My heart skipped a beat when I realised she had chosen me. Welcome to our family, it was puppy love.

Dog Training and Growing Together.

We went through puppy training together and fortunately was never a noisy or barking dog. As with everything I do I read up on the best way to do something from experts in their fields.  The advice I put in place not to make a big fuss every time you enter the house, not feed scraps from the table, or at all, and have respect resulted in a love and bond that was unbreakable.

Fond Memories

She loved nothing more than to hear the postman arrive. Grabbing the letters she’d dash off to wherever I was in the house to deliver them to my feet.

My wife at the time was Scottish. On every trip to see her family, we got 500m from the drive, and Cassie would be asleep, until a wee break at our destination.

Taking her with me into my next marriage, Cassie accepted our babies as her own. She was patient, endured hours of fluffy ear pulling, and playtime.

Looking back over family photos, she could always be found mooching around in the background. Priorities in her life included looking out for rabbits with her excellent nose. Her intelligence was incredible too.

Her party trick was to balance a biscuit on her nose and not move until she was told! The treat was then all the sweeter.

Child gardening with springer spaniel dog

Time is Cruel

After 13 years of loyal fun, our beautiful liver and white Springer Cassie had slowly become blind, deaf and her hips were very stiff.

We would guide her over the step and out into the garden for regular toilet trips. Fortunately, her nose could still find her dinner!

Painful Decisions

Family discussions began on what was fairer for Cassie. We all wish they could simply pass away in their sleep but the reality is different. The painful decision to accept what needed to be done took a few weeks. My wife sat on my daughter’s bed (while she was at school), and picked up the phone. In hindsight, she probably chose this room as it felt comfortable there but also because she needed to be a strong mum for Cassie.  She phoned the vets to see if it was the right decision. Yes, I was crying and processing the pain to come.

On The Day In Question

On the day, I’ll be honest – I fell apart. Sandra had pre-grieved and was displaying great strength. She held Cassie in her arms as the vet shaved her leg and administered the injection. They cuddled. It took a little longer than the vet would have liked and had to give her some more medication. It turned out that what we could see on the outside was the tip of Cassie’s problems. Her heart and circulation were not working properly resulting in the fluid traveling around her system slower than anticipated. We had done the right thing. She relaxed and went to sleep in Sandra’s arms.

A Dog Is For Life and she will always be a part of our family and never forgotten. Thank you Cassie Girl.

Losing a pet. How to process the grief by the Huffington Post.

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