A sad time in my house this week. Completely unexpectedly, my little family was forced to say a hasty and heartbreaking goodbye to an adored furry family member -- the utterly irreplaceable George.
Thankfully the end for Georgie was pain free. The same can't be said for the rest of the household. Mercifully the end was quick. Not surprising, on reflection, as Georgie did everything quickly. He ate quickly, walked the streets quickly, stole our hearts quickly, very quickly.
I'm writing these thoughts for my daughter, lets call her Kitchy. She's been inconsolable. I think my own tears have been more about hers than they have been about George. I know she's not ready to hear my thoughts yet but one day she will be and that's why I'm writing them down now.
It's pure and simple, Kitchy -- I always thought Georgie loved you more than anyone else in our house. Sure, other people walked him (your Mama), fed him (your Mama), pulled socks he'd eaten out of his bum with their bare hands (Me), picked up his poo (always your Mama), cried like a baby the first day he was left home alone (I want to say your Mama but that was me) and once promised an emergency room vet that they would perform mouth to mouth on him if he went in cardiac arrest the night of an allergic reaction (Me. I promise I would have done it too. Without a moment's hesitation).
Despite all of those efforts from us, Kitchy, you were the unchallenged leader of his pack. Faithfully trotting behind you as if you were tethered to each other, lying patiently as you propped up against a labrador shaped pillow to watch TV and waiting dutifully for you to go to sleep so he could settle at the foot of your bed.
I know you've cried the most this week Kitchy. That's because Georgie meant more to you than he did to anyone else and he meant more to you because of the fact you meant the most to him.
Mama and I weren't always confident this was going to be the case. When George first came home with us, people called him our 'practice baby', and we were worried he wouldn't be happy to see a real baby when you arrived. We did everything to let George know how special you would be and how special he would remain when you finally showed up. This included doing silly things like walking him through the streets with an empty stroller to get him used to the idea of you being around.
Once you finally came along, Mama slept with you in your room while Georgie and I slept together on the couch for six long weeks (all 130kgs of us combined). I did it so he knew we would always love him even though you were now on the scene.
It worked. From Day 1 of having you in the house he was the same old George, except for one small little thing. The "tiptoe".
He still charged and jumped around the house, knocked over things, still ate (and then threw up) the odd sock and routinely crashed into walls, unless you were in his general vicinity. If you were around he'd put on his "tiptoes", creeping carefully around almost as if he didn't want to be responsible for breaking you.
Even though this sounds nutty, in those early days when he looked at you and then up at me his eyes seemed to say "I get it mate, she's number one. Don't worry, I've got her covered".
He rarely barked and definitely would never bite. I've no doubt, however, that if he'd ever found a situation where someone was looking to harm even a single hair on your precious little head we would have seen just how nasty the world's nicest dog was capable of being. Thankfully it never came to this and he got to live every day of his 14 years as the thorough gentlemen he was.
Sadly now he's gone. I will miss a million things about him. I'm sure, Kitchy, you'll miss them too and probably one million more. Other dogs will come and you'll love them too but you never forget your first dog and neither you should, particularly when they are as spectacular as Georgie.
Kitchy, there is a very old saying that a dog is a man's best friend. In our house this was never true. In our house he was undeniably yours and that's a fact that even George couldn't tiptoe around.
Happy trails, Georgie Boy. It really was an honour to be the human responsible for pulling socks out of your bum. To me you are the most magnificent 30kgs of fur, slobber and pure joy ever to walk Planet Earth.