It's been a sad couple of months.
Six weeks ago I had our darling cat, Blackie put down. She had been with us for nearly 21 years and was a vital part of the family.
If that wasn't enough, I have now just had our dog, Angel, put down today. She was 16 and a half years old, and like Blackie, was an integral part of the family. But also like Blackie, she was very old and her quality of life was suffering.
We got Angel from the SPCA in Gisborne when she was about three months old. She was an absolute terror when she was a puppy, and had quite a few adventures. I lost her once in the bush, about an hour's drive outside Gisborne, when I was visiting a midwifery client. Mark and I went looking for her twice a day for a whole week, and eventually gave up, and broke the sad news to the kids. On the morning of the eighth day we had a call to say that the driver of a logging truck had picked her up. She wasn't half as quick to go wandering off after that.
Angel was a bit of a rascal when it came to chocolate. She loved nothing better than to steal chocolate out of the grocery bags, if I made the mistake of leaving my shopping on the floor.
She loved going down to the beach, which I think was a result of the many hours we spent at the sea side at Gisborne when she was a puppy. We spent many hours trying to teach her to catch sticks or balls, but all she loved to do was run through the waves.
One day I took a friend down to Broad Beach, which is just outside Dunedin,. We took our shoes off and went for a long walk. Suddenly I realized that Angel wasn't with us. And knowing her history for running off, I knew I wouldn't have a chance of finding her in the fields that surround the beach. We spent ages calling and calling her, and eventually I gave up. But when we got back to the pile of shoes, we found her there guarding them, and waiting patiently for us to return.
The other thing that used to make me laugh was the love-hate relationship that Angel and Blackie had. Blackie knew that we would regularly let Angel out into the garden so that she could do her thing. So as soon as Blackie saw us head for the front door, she used to dart into the door entrance and wait for Angel to pass by. As Angel passed by, she would whack Angel with her paw. Then, she would wait for Angel to come back indoors and give her another whack. Poor Angel never worked out a way to get past her without being clobbered.
Angel was so much a part of our lives, and for so long that we took her for granted. But now she is gone, the house is going to feel very empty.