Our dog was about to die.
I can’t say I ever loved our dog too much but that was because I was an only child, and it was only me in my world and it was the same for him and so all we did was fight like brothers do, I guess.
The dog was my dad’s and they got him just before I was born. There are very cute pictures of us both when we were younger snuggling and holding each other – he might have been in my coat or in my travel seat or just around me, ready to defend me if anyone got too close – that was the good times we had together, times that I don’t remember and are only in my memory from the pictures taken at the time.
My parents got him to help me be exposed to animals from a young age. My mum grew up on a farm and my dad in London, always with a pet and so it made sense to them to get a dog when they had a child. They also had me when they were older parents and so I guess it was also a way of entertaining me when they couldn’t. The dog – I should give you his name really shouldn’t I – Georgie was his name, Georgie Porgie we used to call him, singing the song:
Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie
He kissed the girls and made them cry
I can’t remember the rest of it actually, it might a song from culture of one we made it (likely the former) but I remember singing it when I was young, less so as I got older.
Georgie soon became my dad’s dog, not the family dog. He used to follow it round the garden with a poop bag and he used to be the one to take it for a walk and worry about him on trips away. My dad did have a heart condition and so he was recommended not to fly but I think he also didn’t want to be too far away from his little dog. Looking back, I never understood why he held such a place in my dad’s heart but as an adult who has once had a pet, they latch on don’t they! They latch onto your heart without you know it, they sneak up on you whilst you’re not looking and BAM they are your child.
One of my fondest memories I have of him was actually not really a pleasant one in theory but a close one. As he was born just before I, we pretty much grew up together. That unfortunately meant that in dog years, he was very old by the time I was 12 / 13 and so he deteriorated a lot and there was this one time that he was pretty sick – never a nice thing to see or be around, not only for the smell but also because you can’t help them or even communicate with them and you’re ultimately helpless with no explanation either as to why it was happening – this time though it was maybe a bit clear.
It was Sunday afternoon and mum used to always do a Sunday roast – a very nice traditional that I’ve taken on myself too – and this time she made us a leg of lamb. This is one of my favourite meats to eat (and now cook) and it was no different to Georgie however he didn’t like the meat so much as he liked the marrow… my dad often gave the dog a bone (who knew that was a thing?) and he used to suck that marrow right out of the bone! If he wasn’t fussed about it, often my dad would eat as he said, ‘it’s good for ya!’ but to someone like him, everyone was good for you – hence my drinking port at Christmas at 12 but we move on… - and so none of the joint went to waste.
If you can imagine what happened, don’t. Watching a dog shit and sick at the same is maybe worse than seeing a human doing it because he was so unaware of the trial he was leaving behind and the smell…. Man, oh man… like I say, it was my dad’s dog, so he was the one who cleaned it up but anyway, that’s not the pleasant memory that I remember it was the time just after this that was the moment, I realised some things.
1, he was getting old and he was becoming weak and there wasn’t much we could do about it and it was what it was and 2, he was still the dog that I loved once even though at the time of this, he growled at me for sitting on ‘his side’ of the sofa every time I got near it and refused to let me walk him even the amount he could manage. I think he became senile in the end and incontinent… Thinking about those things happening to a human family member is really heart-breaking and I didn’t recognise this when I was younger and was just annoyed about his whole demeanour, very much taking it personally however he was just getting old bless him, he couldn’t help it and I lost my love for him at the end.
Looking back to this day, he was weak and empty, and I made the realisation that he was getting old, and it sadden me. We cuddled that night, I held him (he was only a small dog) and he slept and regained his energy whilst I soaked him up a little. That was the last time we did that, and it wasn’t too long after that my dad made the decision to put him down. As a child again, I didn’t understand the significance here, but he loved that dog like a child and my dad wept that day, something I hadn’t seen before. Very sad indeed.
Oh Georgie Porgie, who made all the girls cry, I miss you and I love you.