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  • Writer's pictureSue Dawkes

A Goodbye to Peggy

On Wednesday I had to say goodbye to my beautiful chocolate labrador, Peggy. named after my mum, who died in 2002. She lived up to her name as a caring, empathetic and loving individual. Forgive me if you are not a dog lover but if you have ever shared your life with one, you will know what I am feeling now. Dogs, like humans, are all very different individuals. I still have Polly, Peggy's mum who, at 15, is as stoic as ever. I took her to say goodbye to Peggy and I am not sure whether she has realised what has happened or not but it is easy to tell she is missing her, maybe because of the daily ritual Peggy would give her of washing her ears and eyes and mouth, but I also believe that dogs have a deeper understanding of death than we do. Polly is now totally deaf and almost blind and Peggy would care for her, although in many ways Polly is much stronger than Peggy.

We got Polly 2 months before my husband died. She has been my rock and we have been through many things together. When Polly was four she had six puppies, five boys and one girl. I bred her so I could keep one and, as I have always had female dogs, Peggy chose us in a way because she was the only one. Polly loves an adventure all three of us, plus the occasional grandchild, had many in my 1973 VW camper van. Polly also has an amazing sense of direction and if I ever felt lost when in a different location I would always trust and follow her. We have climbed many mountains together with her at the lead, whereas Peggy would look at us as if to say "You don't expect me to climb that do you?" Peggy was totally different. She loved people, especially children and would allow them to do anything to her. Although there was many a time that she would appear from the woods with a deer's leg in her mouth, (from an animal that had died of natural causes or had been shot), I don't think she would have deliberately harmed another animal. If you have read my previous blogs you will know that she shared her bed with a lamb called Lucy for 5 weeks, washing and caring for her. I also wrote about her having empathy for other animals when they are suffering. She was the definitive example of unconditional love. I think latterly she became not just Polly's carer but mine as well. Since slipping on snow and breaking my leg in 2019 Peggy never strayed far from my side. If she was walking ahead she would always stop and wait for me to catch up. She knew when I was sad and was a great comforter. If I was cross she never held a grudge. Her ears were the softest thing you would ever feel.......

Dog lover or not, I think we can all learn from them. There is no judgement or deliberate malice, they just want to love and be loved but actually when love isn't returned to them they will still love. In certain cases, just like humans, if they have been very badly treated they may seem aggressive but I don't know a dog who has not been bought over by love. Just as we can be redeemed by the Father's love.

Peggy was a lover of life and lived it to the full, giving so many affection and comfort along the way. Polly and I will miss her a great deal.

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