That Gaping Hole

It has been a difficult few days…

I know she was an old girl. I know she was ready to go…but ouch, that huge gaping hole…

Like an old pair of shoes

she fitted so comfortably into our lives. Had skilfully trained us all up to meet her every need. Always a huge smile on those chops as she came bouncing out of her kennel each morning, tripping you up in her haste to roll over onto her back for a belly rub. Always begging at your heels for whatever tasty snacks were on the go. Always fussing. Always in the way and always just the way we all loved her.

She arrived on the farm, a little tornado full of mischief

A surprise for the children, my parents kindly collected her from her Ayrshire family and delivered this squirming, wriggling bundle of fluff into our lives. Her introduction to life at Persabus began with her sizing up and taking on the  Happy Farmer. Wielding one of his seemingly huge boots, nearly as big as her stocky little puppy self, she hauled it, dragged it, fought with it with all her little might until she had it sat in the middle of the sitting room rug. She then proceeded to sink her sharp little needle-like teeth into the soft leather. One eye cocked on the Happy Farmer looking for a response as she soothed her ‘puppy gums’, little tail wagging ten to the dozen. She had those puppy teeth ready to clench into anything that dared to take her on.

It really did not take her more than a few seconds to endear herself to the whole clan, except the Happy Farmer, who could see all of the wonderful trouble that lay on the path ahead. Not a fan of dogs as pets, Ruby knew it would not be long before she had him chasing after her every demand too.

Part of the Persabus welcoming committee

Ruby would always take it upon herself to sneak round to meet new guests on the farm. She would belly wriggle across the yard before flipping herself over onto her back, at their feet, a huge grin across her face, as she demanded belly rubs. She could suss out the dog-loving guests, and happily turned a deaf ear whenever the opportunity of such a meeting arose, making sure she never missed out on that infamous ‘Ruby welcome’.

On hot summer days she would sneak across to the pottery for a nosey, happily adopting a family, she would sprawl out her long body in the sunshine beside her new friends at the picnic benches, enjoying all the treats of the day, as they would feed her cakes and crusts. Oblivious to her presence as I served more teas, I would venture over to say hello to the pooch on the lawn, and realise it was my own Ruby, who should have been tucked up in the garden at the back of the farmhouse.

She quickly became my little shadow

everywhere I turned Ruby would be following. Lazing out beside me as I weeded flowerbeds, smiling as she sniffed at pottery pieces on photoshoots, running at my heels through the grass, up the hills and down to the shore.

The farm was her home. A place where she enjoyed absolute freedom, during lockdown, with all of the family home. She couldn’t have enjoyed more love, more snuggles, so many walks every day, and of course lots of her favourite belly rubs.

She had perfected the

‘I don’t want to go in my kennel just now’ routine

down to a tee. She would fix her eyes on mine, stand perfectly still, and give me that ‘Ruby look’. If that did not work and the word ‘kennel’ was repeated, she would look again, before slowly dropping her head, then those shoulders, and then ambling one paw in front of the other, she would take two small steps, before stopping again, to repeat the process.

How could I resist?

Ruby always got her own way. She refused point blank to stay in the farmhouse at night though unless she was ill, on those occasions she would lie on her seat, staying firmly put.  You always knew when she was starting to recover as she would once again jump up to go out at night. Even wakening the Happy Farmer in the middle of the night, demanding to be let back out to her own bed. Latterly we had to lock her out of her kennel knowing we would struggle to convince her to come out again.

I have tried to remember the downsides, to see if that would ease the painful gaping hole. The times Ruby arrived back from her run, caked literally in thick wet manure, a huge smile on her face. She loved a good scent around her. Countless times I would tussle with her, struggling to hose her down as she looked on sorrowfully, soap suds everywhere, one very bedraggled looking hound.

The times she would take off after a rabbit and just ignore my shouts.

Those muddy paws. Her smelly wet coat.

It’s been a difficult few days. I know she was an old girl. I know it was time for her to go, but it never makes it any easier.

Lying in the sunshine, enjoying those lovely belly rubs, under the washing line, she peacefully slipped away….

‘Miss Ruby Rose Berry Bramble Rhubarb Rhupinder Maisie Tilly Lilly Coll Snuts Jetta Dusty Posy Cocoa Cola Irn Bru Shadow Molly Fletcher’, yes there were a few issues on which name to choose at the time, and the kids could simply not agree, so to keep everyone happy we kept them all in and she ended up with a very posh, long list of beautiful names… but was definitely a ‘Ruby’ on most days.

I miss my old ‘rug’ dreadfully, losing one of the clan is just the pits…so, give your furry friends an extra wee snuggle today.

Thankfully, Bramble dog is not feeling our pain.

Instead, she has happily stepped into her new role as top dog, snoring away contentedly in her chair, waiting patiently to go for her run….

Until next time…

Puppy chewing a boot
Puppy Sleeping
Smiling dog
Black dog
Dog on beach
Dog walk on beach