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Dog Stories and Poetry
by Patricia Walter


Millie from the UK

I just read about Buddy. It got me thinking again about the only dog I’ve ever known as our own pet, Millie. She was born in 2001, about the time my mother & I moved house & four years after my father died. She started as my brother’s dog, but when his son was born two years later they discovered Harry had a dog allergy! Add to that a wife petrified of germs & a small house and you can imagine the mixture of young dog and young human did not make for an easy ride – especially as Harry really took to the animal that made him sneeze! Rather than her leaving the family completely it was suggested she come to live with myself & my mother instead. I was reluctant at first – we had never had a dog, as my father had been blind and any dog would had to have been a working dog, not a family pet, and I had always felt dogs to be smelly & hairy. I was of course right in that – but I didn’t realize what a part of the family they could become.

Millie stayed with us long after the 1 month test period – actually, she never left! I grew to love her immensely, as did we all, including some of my friends, who became a fan club. There was even an incidence at a party we held when a 10 yr-old girl who was afraid of dogs, especially black Labradors, as she had been attacked by one, was cowering away from Millie, nervous of being near her. My mother decided to bite the bullet & see if she could help the girl, and encouraged her to try to get to know this dog, as she was so gentle. Suffice to say that 10 minutes later girl & dog were running around the garden together, playing happily. Millie seemed to have that effect on just about everyone.

Just before Christmas 2008 my mother had flu, my niece – Harry’s 2 yr old sister, as it happens – had a broken thigh bone, and Millie had a suspected ear infection, as she kept losing her balance. We had a very quiet time, just myself, my mother and her parents, and two weeks later Millie went back to the vet. He was worried by the lack of any change – no improvement but no worsening either, which would in some ways have been better, as it might have just meant the antibiotics weren’t strong enough. She went for an MRI scan a couple of days later, where they discovered multiple brain tumors & recommended she be put down without being woken up to say goodbye, as it would be the kindest thing to do. I wasn’t there – I was 120 miles away, in the centre of London, having been to my cousin’s wedding, the only member of our branch of the family able to make it! I thought I’d better go, you see. Anyway, there I was, new year’s eve, driving out of London, & I got a voicemail from my mother telling me the bad news. I managed not to crash, just, & drove back home up the blurred road.

It was the end of an era for us. Not only was Millie a great dog, she had another side to her: she was very much like my father, and had we believed in re-incarnation we would have said it was him come back. I still sometimes wonder. They both had thick black hair, both loved tea, both wanted to get their own way & had a stubborn way of getting it. I also discovered quite recently Millie enjoyed Guinness, something we hadn’t tried her on before a small spillage at the pub – but guess who else did! In a way it felt as though my father had come back to get to know me a little better before leaving for good, as he worked very hard as a solicitor when he was around. The other thing is that they both died young. My father was 48, Millie was 7 yrs 10 months. It’s not quite the same, dog years to human years, but from what I can work out by the confused information available online it’s not that far off!

Anyway, after your story of Buddy I wanted to share that wonderful chapter of our lives with you. Thank you for your story – it got me crying again, & I needed to get some more tears out.

Take care, & happy walkies etc!

Thomas Monument


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