Thursday, 17 March 2011


Isn't it funny that you can be told something that spells certain heartache can also make you stop and take note.

This has happened to me and Shy. When Shy lived with Swift and Buck he was always the playful one yet he was always the one who was always in the background. Being in the background is hard when you are so brightly coloured, those eyes always shone out and sucked people in. If Shy could choose a colour he would be flat black, be unremarkable.

When Swift died his role barely changed though he was a little more cheeky. Soon though Buck's dementia meant constant movement, disorientation which meant Shy retreated a little more. His sore legs and feet meant he couldn't have that daily dose of escapism, the rush of air, the cacophony of smells. How must it have felt not to be able to run, run your tension away, run just because you can. I missed his shining eyes and his wide grin after a hard run.

Then my loss was his gain, Buck dying brought Shy into the fore. Was it his time to shine? I just don't know something changed, despite having a young pup in the house Shy changed. He came and told me he wanted a walk even if it mean the couldn't get comfortable that night, even if it made him ache. He demanded hugs, something he always got but never asked for.

It has taken time for us to manage his pain, only to then have to deal with his kidneys. Yet this has also helped as his new diet suits him. Actually any food suits Shy just fine but his food feeds his body, it eases his limbs and has made him giddy.

So what has changed since the diagnosis of his heart failure? I don't know. Could it be Flute? Shy has a low tolerance to dogs yet Flute is his little mate, a sniff and tentative groom in the morning is a gentle ritual I never thought I'd witness. The almost embarrassed air when they try a spot of tug with each other. He even gives up his food for Flute.

Shy was the deciding factor in getting an Ibizan. He is a playful dog, he gets giddy, goony and loves a joke. I love lurchers but wanted a fun type sighthound rather than the more serious type like Buck( my deep deep little lad who was pure athlete).

So I am enjoying every second, I revel in the daft old sod running to the door, pushing past me and standing at the gate with a wag. He runs in such ungainly fashion out on to the green always checking back to see that I am there to share the moment.

Tonight will stay with me forever. It wasn't one of those big events just a moment in time that fixes in your mind. Shy was no longer an old man tonight, he was pure sighthound. We walked down the lane Shy sniffing all the way, he paused fascinated at the pile of rabbit fur( farm dogs caught the mixy rabbit). One sniff transformed him once again into a sighthound and he wanted to run. Like a sniff of catnip to a cat he was buzzing. We headed for the green where his eyes were shining and I waited for what came next. He looked back with that silly grin and he ran. Ran head up, legs all over and slow as a gimpy westie but it didn't matter. He was once again an athlete running and feeling like every running dog feels. Is it the freedom? Maybe it is the adrenalin, I don't know all I know is my boy felt like Shy once again, not the ageing old boy with a dicky heart and knackered legs.

He is sleeping now and his legs are twitching his eyes flickering and I wonder what he is chasing in his dreams?

I stroke his still shining coat, watch him run and smile….I must go for a gallop soon, just to feel alive, just to feel the freedom and to be a little bit scared!

1 comment:

  1. Great 'Shy' blog Caroline!! - it is lovely to hear about Shy having some good days when he is able to muster the energy have a little run and play. Good for him finally realising he is worthy of love and attention and demanding he gets them. Shy is such a gorgeous dog, he deserves his time in the limelight and his turn as 'Top Dog'!! - Aww go enjoy a good ol' suck on a bone you gummy old dog, you certainly deserve it Shyboy!!