My Pet: Little friends chase the sadness away
Hello, My name is Charlie and I'm a Shih Tzu. Or as my dad used to call me, a little s**t. This always made him laugh for some reason but he would always bend down and rub my head when he said it, so I was happy.
I'm told I didn't always live with my mammy and daddy. The first person who owned me was a lovely woman whose dog had just gone to doggie heaven and her daughter thought I would make a nice Christmas present for her, but unfortunately she wasn't ready for a new puppy - and so I was very lucky to find a new family that fell in love with me immediately.
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That was 11 years ago. When I first came into the family, there were two cats, Ginger and Salem, and my best friend, Emily.
Emily was 16 and loved me so much. Most nights I would sleep on her bed and she would play with me but it was mammy and daddy who fed me and walked me and cleaned up after me and cuddled me when Emily went out. I loved sitting between them on the sofa at night while they chatted.
After a while, Emily wasn't at home as often but when she does come by, she still makes a big fuss over me. She has a new home now and another dog, but I know I'm still her favourite.
Over the years, Ginger and then Salem left the family. Mammy was very sad when they went but daddy would hug her and say that they had a good innings and mammy would say that she knew that but she still missed them.
I used to go everywhere with mammy and daddy but one day they told me that I had to stay and mind the house because they don't let dogs into hospitals.
Mammy came home by herself that night and nearly forgot to feed me. When daddy came home, things were different. Lots of people came to visit and daddy spent a lot of time in bed so I didn't get as much attention, but mammy would hug me and tell me that I was such a good little man and then I would be happy. I spent a lot of time beside daddy, he would reach out his hand and gently rub my head.
One day, daddy went away and didn't come back. Mammy cried so much and I was very sad. I wanted to hug her and say that he had a good innings but all I could do was snuggle up beside her.
Now I sleep in mammy's bed on daddy's side. She still brings me for a walk every day but now I have two more little friends, a girl and a boy who love me very much and always play with me. Mammy calls them her darling grandchildren and they call her Nana. I'm such a lucky little s**t.
Geraldine Corcoran, Clonsilla, Dublin 15
Finest hour: Patience with Lexi, who likes to put a blanket over me and pretend to feed me from her doll's bottle
Likes: Sniffing and trotting around our local park
Dislikes: Dog food and cats in his territory
* If you would like your pet featured in this column please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to firstname.lastname@example.org clearly labelled MY PET