Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Furry Friends

I've been enjoying watching a series by Kim of the Yogscast that's covering the game Valiant Hearts. (Bear with me non-gamers !)

Perhaps "enjoy" isn't quite the right word though. The game is a commemoration of World War 1 and in its own style, it's gritty and doesn't hide the horrors of what was a terrible war fought in horrific conditions. One of the central characters is the pooch :

He adds a lot of character to the game. He's a smart pooch, resourceful and always with that tail wag, tongue out cheerfulness of a contented muttley. I'd recommend watching the Kim playthrough (now linked!). It's not really a game, it's history coming to life on screen. And presented by someone who continues to be one of the best Youtube people I have the pleasure to watch. That's the strength of Youtube, the people on there can be themselves, with little editorial control. It means the best ones can truly be themselves and our Kim is a little bundle of awesome.

Having a dog in this house hasn't really been an option. I live on my own, so muttley would be on his own all day. Dogs like their people, it's a bit cruel (I think) to leave them on their own all day every day you work. So no dog here. Plus I'd have a lot of work to secure the house up although it may mean I could open my downstairs windows again. I can't at the moment because the neighbourhood cats jump in looking for food.

I've been lucky enough to have had 4 dogs in the family over the years. I can't remember much of the first. She was a Beagle called Tufty and I was a bit young when she was around. She was a good dog for a little while but went a little crazy and started biting people (unprovoked) and had to be put down. Very sad. We think it's because Beagles are pack dogs and Tufty was on her own.

After Tufty, a grand old man called Scruff arrived.

He followed my sister home after coming across her while she was riding. He plonked his starving bones down by the back door and was preparing to die. We weren't going to let that happen and so Scruff became a loving and incredibly loyal member of the family for the next 10 years. It wasn't long before his Irish Wolfhound / Setter cross frame filled out but his fur was always long, black and incredibly scruffy.

Scruff was a very smart dog. He'd do things like figure out his walkies would come after the end of the News but his highlight was finding his way home after losing my dad on a walk. And this was to a house he'd barely seen. We found him outside the front door.

Here's a bit more about Scruff in a tribute post I wrote a couple of years ago. Warning - have your hankie at the ready, there may be tears. I'm choking up here as I re-read it.

Scruff was awesome - and here he is :

Best dog ever. But very old when those pics were taken.

After Scruff came Goldie. He was a short haired golden lab who must have had a bit of greyhound in there too. I'm FAST. Goldie could easily stay with me when I hit the afterburners. We'd stretch each other's legs while on walks. Goldie was a very affectionate pooch too :
Yep. I got too close and I got slurped. Crikey, that must be from near 20 years ago. It's not that old because the new patio is in and that was after I broke my shoulder aged may 21. I don't remember that much about Goldie, he was part of the family when I was away a lot at uni or at work. There came a time though when this supreme athlete of a dog was let down by his strength as his legs hurt him more and more.

If a dog that adores his walks, turns and looks at you with a "help?hurtzzz" expression when you mention walkies then you know it's time to allow them to pass. And Goldie was in so much pain he could barely get into his bed or his chair.

Over to Ben - I mentioned Ben a few weeks ago. Ben's still with us :
But he's also approaching that point where it may be too cruel to have him keep enduring the pain from his paw and increasing trouble with his heart.

That'll be a shame because Ben is a typical Staffy - affectionate, loyal, smart, loving.

We've been blessed with our dogs. They've all been awesome members of the family.

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