2015 was not marked for me by achieving my 2000 mile goal or by the arrival of puppy Ted, but by the loss of my great pal Bob. Bob was my ten year old Border Collie/Lurcher cross. He was responsible for my walking obsession as he loved to be out walking and I loved nothing better than to be walking with him. You may think I’m just looking through rose tinted glasses when I say he was a perfect dog, but he was. I trusted him 100 percent and he would do anything I asked without hesitation. I do believe he trusted me as much as I trusted him.
We walked may thousands of miles together, but a heart murmur led to his sudden demise via a horrible series of seizures. We had been out walking as usual only the evening before. The one thing that brought me any comfort was knowing that this wonderful dog could not have had a better life than he did. Just look at our list of walks and you’ll see many of the places we walked together from Ben Nevis to the Gower, from Snowdon to the Cotswolds. With hundreds of walks in the Wye Valley and Brecon Beacons I never had a single incident with him and he never let me down even once.
I remember teaching him how to jump stiles (a must for a walking enthusiast) and he mastered it in seconds. The same went to calling him off a chase. Before this he would go deaf when in a chase (like almost all dogs) and I worried for his safety if the chase crossed a road, but Bob would stop on a sixpence even if he was closing in within feet of a hare. He was exceptionally fast in his youth.
I’m lucky that I have so many memories of our time together. My GPS track logs and thousands of photographs make remembering the details a little easier too. We knew he was going to have to slow down so we had just got a new puppy (Ted a Border Collie from farming stock) who was to take over from Bob on the long walks leaving him to take it easier with the shorter walks and some home loving, which he enjoyed so much.
Bob and I walked nearly 2500 miles in his final 12 months. My 2015 New Year resolution was for us to cover at least 2000 miles. When Bob passed away early in September we had already done 1600 miles. With the new pup Ted my miles were cut drastically but I couldn’t let Bob down and I eventually reached our target just before Christmas.
I urge everyone with a pet to check out their vet. Any vet can administer a vaccination or remove a tick, but when you really need medical expertise you don’t want that to be the time you find out they are dangerously understaffed and are relying solely on inexperienced staff. Needless to say we have changed vet to one that cares about more than just money. Really we should have made a formal complaint, but you don’t always think straight in times of such sadness.
Bob will never be forgotten and will be always loved, but I will be more than happy if one day Ted becomes half the dog he was.