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Happy Birthday Holly!

On what would have been Holly’s 19th birthday, I thought I’d tell everyone about her.

It was the first time in my life that I hadnt had a dog. It had been 2 years since me and my mum had lost Tyson (more about him another time) and due to being at university, Ben and me didnt have a dog. But I was impatient and in December 2002, I found an advert in the newspaper for puppies for sale. Ben and me (well, mostly me) decided to go straight away and see them.

When we got to the house, the puppies put on a show for us; giddy, happy, waggy tails, jumping up, all that we expected. But in the middle of them all, sat quietly just looking at us, was Holly. She sat perfectly still, whilst her brothers performed their tricks to get our attention, waiting for us to make up our mind. On the arm of the sofa was her dad, looking calmly and proudly down on his brood. I didn’t have much to think about; I handed over my £30 (yes that’s right, £30!) and ran like the wind clutching the ball of fluff.

Holly had quite a cocktail of breed flavours. Her dad was a Spaniel cross Labrador and her mum was a Staffie cross Greyhound. When she was fully grown she probably looked more like a Spaniel and ran as fast as a Greyhound. In todays world of ‘hybrids’ she probably would have been a Splurcher or a Spalastaffhound. To us she was just a Heinz 57. Commonly known as Holly Wobbles.

Holly was hard work at the beginning. We soon learned she had severe separation anxiety. She tore up laminate floors, cried and howled when we left her, and when we tried to crate train her, she screamed! So of course, we knew no different or what to do, and gave in. Holly went from just sleeping on the bed to pretty much going everywhere with us.

And that is how her life moved forward; everything we experienced, so did Holly. Holidays, days out, even there when Ben proposed to me. Holly was there through bad days and good. We taught her (and our younger dog Poppy) how to be around the babies, and as the children grew, how they should behave with the dogs. Holly was not just a dog, she was a companion, a friend, a member of the family.

Holly hated it if the car was going slow and would cry until we got on the motorway and went faster. She very kindly would bring her puppy mat too us, usually up the stairs, when she had pooped on it. She would sneak out of the pet door ever so quietly when we fed the cats and then sneak back in and eat the food as fast as she could! When she first barked at 6 months old, she even scared herself. One day Holly ate cat poop out of the litter tray then proceeded to throw it up all over the bed! It was horrendous and the cat who was sat right next to her tried to clean it up! We took her to the beach and all she did was run round in circles. When it snowed, she ended up with snowballs round her feet looking like snow man shoes on her paws. Holly was one of a kind.

Holly sadly wasn’t illness free and suffered with a heart murmur and epilepsy. Epilepsy raised its ugly head quite early on in her life. Thankfully, seizures were not frequent, but they were very unpleasant for her and difficult for us to experience but she got through it. Even though it was quite late in her life when we started to raw feed, it dramatically reduced the number of seizures she had.

Holly’s life was good. She had everything she needed. She was loved and spoilt. And we are quite sure she knew it.

I spent the last night with her on the sofa. Each time she fell asleep, she jumped up and walked around the living room. At 4am that morning me and her sat outside staring at the stars. Later that day, we had to make what can only be described as the hardest but kindest decision a pet owner ever has to make. After nearly 15 years, Holly didn’t want to leave us so we had to do it for her. And we were right there beside her. It was right but so tremendously sad.

We had been through so much together, so after she had gone, it felt like she had taken all those memories we made with her. Like they were gone for ever. We found it very hard, in fact I still get emotional about her 4 years on. It took me a while to come to terms with the loss of Holly and realise that she hadn’t taken those memories with her, that those memories were still firmly with me, with us. Holly, along with those magical memories, will stay with me always as I carry her, and them, in my heart.

Take care


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