May 9th 1998 - October 20th 2012
Many of you will know about my three dogs - Taz, Jack and Pip. I have occasionally posted photographs on blogs and Facebook, and some readers will have met 'the boys' at talks I have come to give around the UK.
Today's post is especially to remember and celebrate Taz.
He was a rescue puppy. His mother had an irresponsible owner who had not bothered to spay her, and would let her out when on season. She was 10 years old when she gave birth to Taz and a brother and sister. At that point, she was taken into the care of a charity.
We were looking for a pup for my dog-mad 12 year old son and were put in touch with the charity. My son chose Taz from the litter and at 7 weeks old, he joined our family. My son was also a huge fan of the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character at the time, hence the name. It was good from out point of view because it was short and strong and an excellent training name.
|Taz (right) and his brother as puppies features in our local newspaper|
and held by the kennel manager where they were being housed.
|Taz the tiny (just visible) puppy, already being introduced to the allotment!|
|Taz as a handsome young dog|
|As above. About one and a half|
He loved his walks and despite his short legs could go for miles and miles. He would chase rabbits and squirrels. A few he caught, most escaped to live another day. He was an expert ratter, and mouser. There was the embarrassing time he caught a pheasant on our walk, having veered off the path and onto a private game reserve. Then trotted all the way home behind us with his contraband booty in his mouth.
He wasn't a knee sitter at home, but out and about was a different matter and he would enjoy plonking himself down in your lap while he gazed round at the world. Wherever we were, he was always close, always attentive.
|On the steam railway train to Whitby|
|One dog and his man|
|Settrington Yorkshire during research for To Defy A King|
|A wet car in prospect!|
He adored the snow and the moment any fell he would be out in it making doggy snow angels.
One of his most favourite occupations was riding in the car. He especially loved it at night, where he would watch the lights like a child watching the illuminations. Even in his last days when he was too poorly to go for walks, he still liked a trip in the car and some of his old spark would return. Taz had a weakness for soft toys and always had a favourite one that would be chewed, sucked and carried round until it fell to pieces. We always knew when it was bed-time because Taz would trot past us, his teddy in his mouth, run up the stairs and climb into the built in wardrobe where he slept. Never in the bed; always in the wardrobe. He stored his marrow bones in there too.
Taz was equable about sharing his humans. He got on with our cats when we had them. There was the occasional spat, but it was all mouth and no trousers. Later, when he was an elderly gent, but still with all his faculties, he weathered the arrival of two spirited Patterjack pups with aplomb. They might have seemed as if they were running rings around him, but he was always in charge, even to his final days and always led the pack out on walks.
In later years, medication for an enlarged heart kept the problem well controlled. A benign tumour that could have turned nasty was dealt with by an operation and he went on for another three years until the increasing problems of old age finally overtook him. He started refusing food and his quality of life diminished to grim existence, so we took the hardest decision any pet owner has to face.
Taz was our first dog and a deeply loved, very special family member. We had the joy and privilege of knowing him for more than 14 years and there is a place in our hearts that will always be filled with his presence, and empty without it.
Farewell but not goodbye forever, our lovely Taz.
|A blissful doggy moment. |
|On the train to Whitby|
|Waiting for instructions on his walk|
|Enjoying the Cleveland Way|
|An Ear Tussle (Ludlow)|
|Any rabbits in here?|
|Trying to sleep in the cat basket|
|Seeking prey on the disused railway line|
|A summer day walk|
|a dip in the river|
|Wet dog after a dip in the river!|
|Alert at Castle Acre Priory|
|Inspecting the well at Castle Acre Castle|
|More well inspection|
|On a beach somewhere in Norfolk|
|Exploring castle walls last year|
|Photo taken this spring and still full of bounce.|