A whole year without you buddy. I am still adamant that the main reason Greg married me was so that he could have a dog. The weekend we came back off our honeymoon I woke up early and Greg was already dressed, ready to go to the rescue centers. The deal was if we got married, he could get a dog. We got married on Feb 16th and found Dyson at the RSPCA two weeks later. Actually, I found him, hidden in a kennel behind a ‘no entry’ sign. Of course, me being me I went past the sign and found this quiet dog with a pink nose and the biggest ears looking at me. As I said “hello”, he came over and wagged his tail. I called Greg over “I think he might be fun”. And fun he was, not all the time though. He was also naughty and stupid and frustrating.
Dyson had been subject to a lot of abuse, but he still loved every single person who showed him any attention. Even when you tried not to give him attention, he won you around. He was loved by everyone who met him. I always found it incredible how much love and trust he had in humans despite his past. His past stayed with him though. He was scared of bubble gum, cans opening, guitars, puppets, people in fancy dress, loud engines, whistles and being left alone. Not long after we brought him home, he destroyed our house on several occasions by ripping up the carpets and anything else in sight when we went out without him. We soon got him a dog walker who he adored. Chris would send us photos of Dy out with his doggy friends enjoying walks in the Peaks. Dy was always the one stood by himself facing the wrong way whilst everyone else was playing or be peeing against a tree gazing into a fence.
We were told when we got him, he couldn’t go to some parts of West Yorkshire, something to do with his previous owners. When the RSPCA took him in, he had a branch wedged behind his eye socket and weighed just 13kg. He had his cheek bone replaced by a steel plate and his weight stayed at a constant 23kg, he was a good boy. Instead of taking him to West Yorkshire he would go on weekend visits to the North East where he paddled in the sea, ate ice creams, fish and chips and parmos. Then, in 2014 we made the big decision to move to Qatar – he was going to be a desert dog.
Dy loved Qatar, he enjoyed days out at the beach, camping in the desert, playing in the dunes and all the attention. So much attention. During the day he was cared for by Mandy and he absolutely adored her. Probably because she spoilt him rotten!
After Qatar came Egypt, I think Dy found living there as difficult as we did. There were so many stray dogs it was very hard to walk him, and he became quite depressed. As soon as we knew we were leaving we sent him back to live with Gregs’ family for a bit. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in the North West – especially his visits to Wales and Ormskirk market where he became very popular with the stall holders!
When we came back to the UK we travelled for a while with him. His first visit to Cornwall and many trips to the Lake District and the North East. When we stayed at my dad’s Dy was often found on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket with a constant supply of biscuits. My dad became his best friend because he allowed him the comfiest seat and the naughtiest treats. He loved his morning walks taking my niece to school and becoming center of attention in the playground. He could spot my sister coming a mile off and would nudge her hand so she could retrieve a biscuit from her pocket. He was not always stupid. He loved Sundays because Greg’s mum would serve him his own roast dinner.
Then to China. He arrived in the early hours of the morning after a stressful flight in which Cathay Pacific lost his paperwork and he was refused entry into HK and refused exit back to the UK. After a few frantic phone calls, he was brought across the border and before he knew it, he was eating a bowl of noodles and accompanying us to the Evil Duck. Dy had an interesting time in China, walked by the police so they could ensure he wasn’t dangerous (he needed a license) and getting ‘stuck’ in kennels when we couldn’t get back to China from Vietnam during Covid.
But we knew something wasn’t right. I am so thankful that we spent so much time with him during online learning. In those 2 months as he huffed and sighed and yawned through my zoom lessons about the Cold War, we started to notice some changes. Nothing major – less energy, lack of appetite, sleepier, losing a lot of fur. We took him to the vets, it turned out he wasn’t bored of my lessons, they thought it maybe a heart murmur. They gave us some medication and we took him home. Surely there couldn’t be anything seriously wrong? This dog had survived abuse, falling into a duck pond at Chatsworth house, heat stroke, missing his flight from Jordan to Egypt, getting bitten on his head by our friends’ dog, eating raisins and being locked outside in the garden in the snow. He was indestructible. But we were wrong. Instinct told us. Spending so much time with him, we knew there was something not right and back to the vets we went.
A tumor, in his stomach, too big to operate on. The kindest thing would be to put him to sleep. And so, after 7yrs of being part of us he died with us holding him. The few days afterwards were so unbelievably tough. But now we can look back and remember how much fun, laughter and love he brought to us and everyone who met him. Thanks buddy, you were the best dog we could have ever wished for.