As it’s International Dog Day, I wanted to take the time to remember and acknowledge some of the dogs that have been an important part of my family history. The memory of our ancestors’ pets is often lost to time as their records are not acknowledged in the same way our records are. All that’s left of your ancestor’s beloved pet might be a photo, or a tag from their collar. (Please name your pets in your photos, your descendants will appreciate it!) I don’t know the names of the dogs in the photos with my ancestors, but I wanted to share their pictures because it makes me happy to know that they loved their dogs as much as we love ours.
Dogs have also been important on my Mum’s side too, although we haven’t got many photos to show that. She grew up with large dogs like German Shepherds – her Dad once bought a pup home and told her Mum it was a Labrador… it was a Great Dane.
It was in 2012, after many many years of pleading with my Dad, that we finally got a dog in our household, a Labradoodle named Dougie. As you can imagine, my Dad who was most averse to having a dog is now Dougie’s best friend. We eventually got a second dog, Gus, on 1st January 2020. He’s affectionately named Goblin or Gremlin.
Before we got Gus, in September 2019, we adopted a Romanian rescue that my brother named Cleo – because she was a queen. She turned out to be very poorly, and despite our best efforts she sadly died almost a month after we rescued her, on 15th October 2019. Her death still hurts almost two years on because I truly thought we could get her better. Being a Rommie, she was a mix of many breeds, and I was looking forward to see how big she’d grow because she had such long legs.
Earlier in 2019, I’d been gifted a ‘Name a Star’ by a friend and I’d had no idea what to call it, so I waited in hope that I’d find inspiration at a later date. I decided to name the star “Cleo of Mercia” after our Cleo; Mercia being the Anglo-Saxon name of the region where we’re from. (Not that I’m particularly an Anglo-Saxon fanatic, it just sounded a bit more unique and I thought my brother would like it.)
There are so many other dogs that have been a huge part of my own story. Perhaps I’ll find photos and share them next International Dog Day. It’s been great to see all the dogs you’re celebrating on Twitter and Instagram. Please give them a big cuddle if they’re still with you, and try to spend a little longer throwing that ball, or tugging that rope, because you’re the centre of their world for the time they’re with us, and when they’re gone that time never feels like it was long enough.