My lovely Holly ... she’ll be buried with Meg by the pond

Holly, right, with other members of the family
Holly, right, with other members of the family

It has not been a good day today. John is away fishing so I was up early to open the gates for Geoff as he was coming to feed round.

Pip, our Labrador, one of our old dog Meg’s puppies, is with us. He sleeps in Pip’s kennel, except he won’t stay in it, so he sleeps in the Land Rover instead. That dog can howl for England if he is not happy. Millie sleeps as usual under the desk in the utility room and Holly our spaniel in her kennel.

Holly never makes any fuss at night. She knows her biscuits are in her kennel waiting for her and she is straight there at night.

I had taken all the dogs for a long walk yesterday afternoon and we had met up with a friend who was running her bitch across our fields prior to taking her to Crufts to compete in the field trial section.

The dogs rough and tumbled and at one point Holly did go topsy turvy in the general melée and gave a brief squeal. But then, so did all the others at one time or another.

This morning I went to Holly’s kennel to let her out for a breakfast snack. She was lying in the run of the kennel, unwilling to get onto her feet and follow me. I was instantly concerned as that is not Holly.

Geoff helped me lift her into the back of the Land Rover and I obtained the first appointment at the vets and took her in.

Holly’s gums were white, she was cold and had a slight haemorrhage in her eyes. The vets first thought was that she was poisoned. But then he palpitated her tummy and felt a mass in her abdomen.

He proposed putting her on a drip, taking blood samples and if necessary operating to find out what the mass was in her tummy. I left her with a kiss and cuddle. She gave me one of her unfathomable, trusting looks.

This afternoon the vet rang to say she had died on the operating table. Tonight she is back home wrapped in a blanket to be buried with her friend Meg down by the pond where she loved to hunt amongst the reeds. My lovely Holly.

I can remember bringing her home in a box from my friends nine years ago and John saying as he watched the box waggle across the floor “that’s not what I think it is in there is it?” Holly’s version of sit was on your lap, not on the floor.

Every year at her annual check up I was told she was too fat, but who could resist those big brown eyes that stared directly into your soul. I never heard her growl. She was always thrilled to see you. I am writing this to make myself understand she has gone as she was here last night. We have lost two dogs in less than a month. Two of our family. I just cannot believe it.

Mrs Downs