I’m posting a photo of my much-loved dog Dayna today sitting in our porch. This is where I like to sit and write, colour or do puzzles in my very rare free moments. I am proud to say that until Sunday 16th October, wherever I was you would find Dayna very close by. In the porch, her favourite spot was the windowsill. She would sit there guarding me from the world and watching the people go by. Being south facing our porch is warm and cosy and a great suntrap. Dayna’s beautiful silver dapple coat of fur would shine in the sunlight as she sat, so proud of herself in her little domain.
Just four momentous years ago I wrote about the little Dachsund, Dayna, that I rehomed. She settled in quite well after a few minor hiccups! As soon as I picked her up from her previous home, I popped into the Pets at Home Store. There I rashly bought 3 very large bags of a good quality dog food, one chicken, one beef and one vegetable variety, which she flatly refused to eat. I also bought a canvas cage for her to sleep in ~ which she absolutely refused to get into. I bought a lovely red extending lead to match her very sparkly red collar, which she chewed through during her first walk.
Feeling desperate I appealed to my wonderful dog-loving daughter in Vermont who sent me 3 books packed full of guidance on training your dog:
How to be your dogs Best Friend by The Monks of New Skete
Dog Stories ~ Everyman Pocket Classics.
I found these books insightful and very helpful, but obviously Dayna has previously read one called How to Get your Owner to Do Whatever You Want, so she wins hands down. One week and three leads later we got the measure of each other and Dayna had got me trained.
Dayna would eat fresh meat or fish, any kind of cheese, pouches of lamb and rice with vegetables, or tins of expensive dog food. On no account would she eat dry food however expensive ~ 3 large bags of which were donated to the local animal rescue centre.
Dayna would walk for miles very happily with a short chain metal lead. She had no interest in being on a long extension, preferring to be within a couple of inches of my feet, preferably between them so I am in danger of tripping.
Dayna had no intention of ever sleeping in a cage, however softly padded or comfortably den-like whatever the Monks of New Skete say! She prefers to sleep within licking distance of my foot in a soft bed with a fluffy cushion.
We had some great days out. In Pershore for the Plum Festival we sat outside a cafe in the sun where every passer-by fell in love with her. At the seaside she gloried in the freedom of the beach. In Wick at the Confetti Fields, she climbed on a trailer and surveyed the scene. She had such a big personality for such a small dog.
When my two adorable grandchildren came on the scene she was gentleness personified. As babies they soon realised she was a real-live fluffy toy who loved to play with them. As Thea grew into a toddler she would dress Dayna up in hats and cover her in jewellery. Stanley would include her in all his games too. For him she was a dinosaur or an obstacle in the way of his bike or on his train track.
How could something so small have so much control? I don’t know but she was everything I could want from a dog:
Loyalty, trust, companionship, healthy walks, fun, and bucket-loads of love. She was worth her weight in gold.
Then on Sunday, the anniversary of my mum’s death, Dayna was tragically killed on a busy road near our home. She was being taken for a walk on a new lead which somehow came loose as she excitedly pulled to cross the road in a hurry to get back to where she was happiest ~ in our little bungalow, with her little pack ~ her domain, her world.
My heart is broken by her loss. She is irreplaceable. But her memory will shine on in our hearts forever.