Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is always full of sadness and emotional turnmoil, you go through stages of grief and each day is a roller coaster of emotions. Having just said goodbye to our own dog “Amber” I thought it would be a wonderful tribute to a brilliant and loyal dog if I told her story. Her time with us begins in 2006 when I myself was going through a rough time on a personal scale, my mum had passed away several months before due to cardiac failure, and my other dog “Holly” also a Lab, suddenly died. I was at the lowest point of my life and was in a very dark place. I decided that I needed another dog to help heal the wounds of losing my Mum and Holly, so the search began…..
October 2006 brought me to a place in Blackburn where a brilliant breeder bred Labradors and had a litter for sale, with trepidation I viewed the litter and was smitten with the pups and also Mum and Dad where beautiful and well cared for I chose a “female” who I named Amber after her mum. Mum was a show-dog and dad was a working gundog, so couldnt go wrong. or so I thought!!!
I brought her home just before Christmas and instantly fell in love with this little bundle of fur!, she was perfect from day one, her cheeky character started to show not long after she came to us and was very defiant! to the point I nicknamed her “the asbo”, she had regular tantrums and made it clear she was not going to do anything if she didnt want to! She was so funny in her younger years especially when one day in the garden she decided to run round like something out of the wall of death and during the process fell into the garden pond!! much to my amusement, however that was the day she discovered water!!!
One day in the garden she discovered a bee, and during the investigation process got stung, which resulted in an emergency appointment at the vet!! When she was six months she was neutuered, and I know from my training that she was not to be exercised, but to be kept on gentle lead exercise, however the asbo decided to compete for the grand national and ended up with a huge seroma at the incisional site!!!! One day she was being naughty and when she was told off she literally through herself under the coffee table and would not come out and let everybody know by barking constantly. Well if you could call it a bark more like a puppy squeal.
When she was 5 we moved to Cheshire and rented a cottage on a private country estate. Little did I know what was in store!!! The evironment was very rural and pheasants and sheep dominated the area, so our asbo decided to investigate every single new species which often resulted in squeals of delight and lots of running round! her love of water never left her and on a regular basis would seek out every opportunity to roll in puddles, swim in ponds and even jump off banks and bridges of local brooks and streams to get to water, the most funniest thing I have ever seen during one of our walks the asbo was running round like a loon, putting Hussain Bolt to shame when all of a sudden I couldnt see her, however I heard a lot of splashing!! then I seen what she had done and nearly fell on the floor, she had got into a field of cows and discovered the cows water trough!!! I dont know who was shocked more the cows or me!!!
We spent 2 years at the cottage and Amber was in her prime, she had so much energy and her love of life was obvious, she wanted to explore anything and everything and as they say was as fit as a butchers dog. It was at this point I remember saying to Paul enjoy this time with her as before you know it the aging process will soon kick in.
In 2011 we moved to Wigan and Amber soon made many firends, she loved her walks and we would take her to so many places which she loved, even more if there was water involved. As the years went by I noticed that sadly the aging process was starting, one night I looked at her and could see she was starting to go white around her muzzle and that she was starting to develop fatty lumps, which can happen as a dog ages. I had her checked out by our vet and we both agreed to leave them as at the time they where doing no harm, It was during our time at Wigan that we discovered Scotland and would spend many summers going there and Amber loved it!, she has been to so many beaches and swam in many rivers and ponds in Scotland I think she would put nessie to shame! Hovever, each year she was getting slower on her walks even though she was like a 2 year old on the beach!!! We made the decision to move to Scotland this year and planned on taking Amber to loads of places in her twilight years.
We had been in our new house for 4 weeks and Amber was really settling into her walks, even going on longer ones which was her choice!! she was really loving life here, she had made friends with the locals and know which walks she liked the best.
Sadly on the 2nd January we noticed that she was panting more than usual and drinking more, and she began to have coughing episodes, which was worrying and my own experience started pointng to a condition called congestive heart faiure, so we took her the vet the next day, who performed a series of scans, which all where pointing to heart problems. She was booked in the following morning to have more detailed scans and xrays, but the night before she had a difficult night. On the morning of the 4th January she wanted to go for a walk, so Paul took her for a short walk but it was obvious something was wrong. We dropped her off at the vets, who admitted her for more tests but I could see she was deteriating, the vet rung me later and gave me the news that I had been dreading, Amber was having problems with her heart and lungs and the prognosis was not good. It was at that point my stomach was in knots, i looked at Paul and explained the situation and we both looked at each other and burst into tears, It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make but it was my turn to be loyal to her and made the soul destroying decision to have her put to sleep. Paul and I where both with her and as she slowly slipped away she knew she was loved so much.
Amber was in our lives for 12 years and each day she gave us so much happiness, she helped heal my emotional wounds in 2006, and has been at our sides during our difficult times. She was the most loyal dog I have ever known and had so much love to give. She was Pauls first dog and what a dog to have!!! I sit here now with the comfort that she is with my Mum and Dad and Holly. What she gave in life, will continue with us after her passing.
RIP Amber you are going to be missed so much (2006 - 2019) xxxx