This is a sentimental post about the three wonderful dogs we have been lucky enough to have in our lives over the last 13 years. Inspired by the unexpected death of our wonderful little Springer Spaniel Mori last Sunday evening.
After all the heartbreak, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at all three and make something positive out of the loss of our most recent rescue dog.
Dillon was our very first Springer Spaniel. A 9yr old ex-army drug sniffer dog, he was a big working liver and white lad with issues! His issues were no fault of his own, sadly his retirement from the army meant he could not stay with his handler and he was found a home by them, which (lets just simply say) became unsuitable for a trained drug sniffer.
The saddest Springer I have ever seen-poor lost and confused lad waiting for a new home
I learnt a lot about dog behaviour from Dillon. His problems were deep.
Working dogs that retire from such environments can and do suffer with stress and if not handled properly this often leads to issues in some dogs. We had to call in the help of the behaviourist and work through his problems until they were gone.
What a difference a few months make-here he is doing what he loved best-getting wet in the river!
The one sad thing about Dillon was that he was very frightened when we came into the house after work or having been out without him. He would cower in his bed and growl.
Obviously this needed addressing and quickly, if he was to settle in and finally feel like he had a safe and secure environment.
The answer came to me in the shape of a large orange squeaky plastic toy. When we came in, we said nothing to him, didn't look at him, we just put the squeaky toy on the floor and carried on with our usual things. Dillon soon learnt that this was a toy to be played with and enjoyed (remembering that sniffer dogs are full of fun really) when we came home.
It was a joy to see (and it still brings a tear to my eye to remember) him running around our feet squeaking this toy for all it was worth and running in and out of rooms and up and down the stairs squeaking all the way! It took all his fear away and in the end he would go over to the shelf where it was stored and point when we came home waiting for it.
There are lots of other things I can recall, like how he pulled me over into a massive puddle in the grass and I surfed along in my waterproofs, like how he pulled my husband over and bruised his ribs, and how when looking for a 4x4 to buy, he drug searched all the vehicles. A great dog in every way, strong, clever, confident and playful.
Harvey was our next Springer. The most gorgeous black and white show Springer I have ever seen. Americans in particular loved him and stopped us quite often to ask about him.
Harvey came to us when his family could no longer keep him-how they gave him up I shall never know. They clearly loved him and were heartbroken to part with him. He was handed over will all his things and an A4 list of all his like and dislikes and a box of biscuits too.
8 years old and just a week or so after we picked him up
Harvey was quite a character, calm and steady, but with such a mischievous streak. He was the perfect dog for me and we really bonded. We went to a road safety dog training class, which was a 14 week course and he was the oldest dog there at 9yrs....we passed of course!
It was always a joy to see this wonderful face coming back to me
He had separation anxiety and never really got over being left alone completely although he didn't destroy anything. He could never let us out of his sight in the house or when we were out. He was distraught at losing his previous family and fretted terribly for them for about two weeks, I don't think he ever forgot that experience.
A very unusual coat
He was very well behaved and a real pleasure to take anywhere, so he went everywhere on holiday with us and he loved the sea and the beach most of all.
One of my lasting memories of him was an episode with the greenhouse-poor dog had obviously never seen one, let alone been in one! The inevitable happened. He was inside the greenhouse with me and he walked through the doorway to get in, but somehow getting out was a real problem, so he just decided to jump straight through the glass panes. I was amazed and shocked, but pleased to report there was not a scratch on him. My beautiful, wonderful, and constant companion.
Mori was our last Springer Spaniel. A small liver and white ex-gun dog who came to us aged 7 and in a bit of a state physically and mentally. He had been a working pedigree gun dog for years, was sold the year before we got him and that's when things went horribly wrong for him.
A sad and skinny Mori
The farmer bought him and hired him out to folks who hadn't got a dog for the shoot. Not taking into account Mori's temperament (which was a little apprehensive of things he didn't know) he soon became gun shy, had some teeth smashed by the butt of a gun (probably because he wouldn't do what he was told out of fear) and after this, since he could no longer work as a gun dog, was left a little neglected in the farm kennels, until they decided to shoot him!
Fortunately for Mori some ladies said they would take him to Springer Spaniel Rescue instead and the farmer handed him over, records, certificates and all. Thank goodness.
With his big pal next to him, but still red and sad eyes
I'm doing what he's doing...there must be a treat coming!
We picked up this confused and skinny little Springer, who was well behaved but so lost, I just didn't know where to start! Fortunately big strong confident Harvey was there to show him the ropes and he settled in really well.
Getting used to his new master
Looking very young at 7 years old and starting to feel loved
Frisbee time on the beach
He was quite a character, always ready to play and had two switches Off= fast asleep On= 100% awake and ready to burst with energy. He had a very cheeky trick of grabbing any fresh bread out of the shopping bags and running off with loaf in mouth and custard creams could not be left unattended!
Mori was the most loving, happy and playful springer we have ever had the pleasure of looking after and we miss him terribly. Our house is silent without him.
A heartbroken SeagullSuzie and Hubby