As anyone that reads this blog (or knows me) will gather, I love springer spaniels. My Aunt Catherine had a cocker called Mandy when I was a little girl and I always wanted one when I was a grown up. When the time was right to get a dog, I wanted one there and then but there was no cocker girls available in Cornwall so after combing through all the local (ish) newspapers we found a place in Devon that had one girl springer left. So on August 25th 2003 we set off to the sunny town of Bideford and got a beautiful liver and white baby who we called Daisy. She was only 7 weeks old and still had blue eyes and such a pretty face.
My daughters were 10 and 6 at the time and I can still remember them sat in the back of the car on the long drive home through the bank holiday traffic, each of them with a hand on their new pet, sharing her care ever so equally.
Any animal lovers will confirm that in their lifetime there is always one pet that will touch your heart and will just be that little bit different from all the others. It doesn't make you love the others any less - just differently, and the one in my life was Daisy.
Despite her angelic face, Daisy was a demon hunter - no rabbit stood a chance when she was around. She 'had' 3 in her whole life but chased away hundreds of others. With her partner in crime Leo, my in laws' dog they would spend hours sniffing in hedgerows and digging in fields looking for their prey. They disappeared on more than one occassion and came back the next morning filthy and fat - quite what they had eaten I will never know.....or want to know.
Maddie was added to our springer family when Daisy was 4 - a 4 month old rescue dog from the local home. Daisy was not impressed at first and was always top dog, quite literally, but they formed an unbreakable bond. When my Dad died in 2008 however, Daisy just knew and never left my side throughout. It may sound corny but it's true.
She had always suffered bouts of tummy problems and no amount of vets visits could determine what the problem was, but it grew increasingly worse and more frequesnt last year. It was only when we decided to get Mutley in July 2011 and go to a new vets thart they diagnosed liver disease. She was only 8 and the disease was too far gone to treat.
To say we were all heartbroken was an understatement - my husband was in denial and we tried all sorts of meats and treats and tablets in a vain attempt to change the inevitable. Sadly, none of it worked and it was a year ago today ( day wise not date wise ) that my husband took her for her last walk up the horse field. He had to lift her back into the car afterwards but came home and said ''it's time''. I slept next to Daisy on that Friday night but after listening to her laboured breaths I decided to take her to Truro emergency vets so they could help her on her way. We all said goodbye, she was surrounded by so much love, and died literally 2 minutes after having gently laid her in the car. Possibly one of the saddest days of all of our lives and for many of our friends that loved her so much too.
Daisy was laid to reat in our smaller horse field, under the big tree and wall that she loved to jump over. It took me 3 months to go and see her there. I can still see her out of the corner of my eye, and if I close my eyes I can imagine her big brown eyes and the feel of her fur.
We now have Freddy too, and so are back to 3 dogs. Maddie, Mutley and Freddy are wonderful, but I will never ever forget the memories and love that Daisy brought.
This photo was taken a few days before she died - at St Eth riverbank, one of her favourite walks.