It is with some regret that I am writing to tell you all that Blue died this morning. He was a few weeks away from his 15th birthday and had lived a full life.
Prior to Blue living with us he lived with a couple in Lancashire. Due to ill health they asked a friend who ran a rehoming centre to find a new family for Blue and he came to live with us six months later. He had been spoilt rotten by his previous family assuming that biting, or at the least baring his teath, would always get him his own way. With some firm boundaries and love he learned that we could be trusted, he could behave and he was not in charge of the house. He became a lovely dog although he always was a bit grumpy at times (aren't we all?) and had to be reminded regularly that he had not been reinstated as head of the family.
Blue had lots of adventures: walking in Scotland in deep snow, pouring rain and lovely sunshine; sleeping in a cave; sleeping in a tent; sleeping in a bothy; carrying his panniers with his dinner and a fleece bed across the Lake District; numerous Scout camps; climbing, moving to Germany for a year with all the fun which that entailed and numerous walks and cycle rides exploring different places. He was always bounlessly enthusiastic struggling to be out of the door first, in the car first and objecting when left behind. He assumed he was an equal member of the family and tried to demand equal rights. He never did quite accept that he was a dog and not one of our human puppies.
Recently it became evident that he had developed arthiritis in his back legs. Although he still wanted to go for walks, he couldn't go so far. He still wanted to run with the bikes and trailer, but he couldn't keep up. He would have injured himself trying, his determination and loyalty were so strong. His walks became shorter; his pace became slower. The vets tried all they could to help him as his mind was still active but there was only so much they could do; only so many options open to them; only so many pain killers you could give him. In the last few weeks his back legs had become so weak that he started falling at times and at night he slept down stairs in front of the stove soaking up the warmth. This morning Ken said that Blue's eyes told him that he didn't understand why life had to be this hard.
Isla and I played in the garden this morning while Blue sniffed, was cuddled and enjoyed brief glimpses of sun. The vet came: he was gentle and respectful of Blue who passed away on a blanket in the garden being held by me and stroked by Isla.