Tuesday 17 September 2019

Rusty wagged his way into our hearts

If you would like your pet featured in this column, please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET
If you would like your pet featured in this column, please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET

John Cahir, Ennis, Co Clare

"A Spoiled Rotten Dog Lived Here." There is a plaque on the wall in our house with a photograph of a little Pomeranian dog and it bears the above inscription. It refers to our dog, Rusty, who lived with us for 17 years.

He had a nice shape and colour, and from a pup he wagged his way into our affections. With my wife, we fell in love with him, and he quickly learned all the words and sounds that he found useful for easy living with us. Life was lived on his terms, and he wanted to be with us as much as possible, going for a walk, a trip in the car on visits, or to the seaside, and finding his way into our room, and sometimes to the end of our bed.

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We made lots of new friends when Rusty was small, and people, especially females, admired him and would stop and talk and also tell us about their little pets. He had a mischievous little streak in him, and one day when he appeared to get bored listening to a lady praising her own little dog, Rusty treated her leg as if it were a lamp-post and aimed a small squirt of wee at it - which also wet her shoe.

Of course, there was an instant scramble for words like sorry, and searching for tissue papers - but luckily, we were near the lady's house. During the last six months of his life, Rusty's health became a problem, with more trips to the vet, as he developed a heart murmur and fluid in his lungs. He engaged less with us in the things he once did and spent more time resting and sleeping.

Gradually, it became clear that his last trip to the great kennel in the sky would have to be arranged. On that fateful day, he was handed over to two lady vets with tears in their eyes, and with tears in our eyes, too, we said our goodbyes and went home to a lonely house and sat down and cried. We miss him every day.

We had him cremated, as I could not bear to bury him in the garden, and his ashes are in a decorative little casket on the mantelpiece. We never thought his absence would be so profound, no more little wagging tail, no more trips to the garden in the dark, only to return with a little bone, or to come to me begging for cold sweet tea in his own little cup.

Bye bye Rusty.

Name: Rusty Finest hour: Aiming at that woman's shoe

Liked: Cold sweet tea

Disliked: Compromise

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