I wrote this little piece about my parents’ dog, Daisy, just under three years ago. Sadly, their other dog, Sheena, passed away this week and I have written up my memories of her as well. I didn’t have a blog at the time that Daisy died, but it only feels right to publish them both now, as a record of my fond memories of two lovely dogs who had a positive effect on my life.
On New Year’s Day 2019, my parents lovely little Border Terrier, Daisy, died.
Daisy was born in July 2005 and came to her new home not long after that. I was 25 at the time and was living with my parents, having not long returned from living in Japan for two years. In fact, it was a new home for us all as we had moved there in the March 2005 (if memory serves me), around the same time that my dad retired. It felt in every sense, the beginning of a new chapter for my parents. They had moved into a big new house, with a huge garden, that would become their big project for the next 14 years (and counting).
Daisy arrived, tentatively exploring the outer edges of the garden on day one. On her first night, she cried, scared and alone in the kitchen in the puppy cage we had erected for her. Of course she received a lot of love and affection that night, and always.
She grew up to be a very hardy little dog. As a young dog, I would spend ages kicking a football which she had to nudge with her nose, before I would then throw a tennis ball for her to catch and return. She had passion for tennis balls and run up and down the garden until she literally dropped. She soon got tired of the football and developed a passion in chasing and destroying tennis balls so we had to move on to more durable play balls.
She would also partake in a game called ‘heads’. This is where I would run into the lounge, lie down on my front and cover my head. She would then sniffle, and barge and nuzzle her nose in between my arms and my head to try to lick my face. It became quite a (always friendly) tussle. Of course I eventually let her win, and she triumphantly jumped on top of me wiggling and ‘biggling’ (good Roberts word) in joy.
Not long after Daisy arrived, we inherited a young Cairn Terrier, Sheena, from my elderly grandparents who realised they had taken on one puppy too many. It took a while for Daisy to warm to Sheena, and perhaps she never really did, but they would play-fight very nicely (especially if they knew they were being watched), and would also snuggle in the same basket if it was chilly.
There was the odd scrap between them, generally over food. They sounded worse than they were, but still it was usually pretty unsightly and one felt they didn’t quite know how to end it themselves. One of the more memorable fights was on 23rd December 2016 when my wife and I were stopping in before I was to go out drinking with my old Bridgnorth friends. We were sat in the lounge, Daisy sat on my foot (a regular occurrence), Sheena wandered past, and then all hell broke loose. My usual method separating was to pick up the, less wriggly, Daisy to disengage them. This time, my fingers right in the middle of the gnashing and gnarling, I got bitten by Sheena, dropped Daisy and dashed to the kitchen to attend to my wound. I ended up in casualty and still have scar to this day. Typically, the next day I was dotty about them both and they hadn’t a clue what they’d done wrong.
There are many more memories. We looked after them countless times and I loved it each time we did. Their real heroes, and the people they adored and couldn’t do without, are my parents. Daisy spent her entire life watching their garden develop, outside as much as she possibly was able to be. She would try to slow things down by dropping her ball in to a specifically dug for a tree or a plant, but also amuse herself by picking up plant pots and running around with one on the end of her nose.
Both dogs loved going to the Gower for holidays, walking up and down beaches and coastal paths before collapsing in front of the fire back at the caravan. At home, the log fire would something they worshipped, all the more rewarding after a long walk or day of chilly gardening. Daisy would sit as close to it as possible until she physically couldn’t stand the heat and had to retreat.
Everyone has a vice. For me, Daisy’s was her reaction to other dogs (except Sheena), when she was on the lead. She seemed to attract unwanted attention and when it came, I think probably because she knew the lead prevented her from avoiding / averting any unwanted attention, she would sometimes snap, which led to tricky confrontations and getting tangled up in leads and other dogs, generally while Sheena looked on, perplexed. We avoided putting her on the lead as much as possible, only when in the vicinity of vehicles, and when we did, Daisy would take alternative routes to avoid unwanted contact with dogs she didn’t care for!
Towards the end of her life she slowed down considerably, and gracefully, gradually going quite deaf and with a touch of arthritis which stopped her from running and jumping as she had used to. Loyal to the end though, great with all adults and children, and much loved member of the Roberts family. She will be terribly missed, but when I look back, for a little dog I don’t think many will have had as happy, healthy, fun, interesting, safe and loving a life as her. So you can’t ask for much more than that.
RIP Daisy Doodle xx