A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday March 13th 2022
Rufus has not been himself lately: he has been very weary and hasn’t wanted to eat. Some days he has seemed much more like the old Rufus, but his humans have been aware that he is gradually deteriorating.
On Wednesday morning, Bev drives the two dogs to Highbury Park for a walk, but Rufus doesn’t want to move, so she takes them home again.
Rufus is clearly very ill, and is deteriorating rapidly. His humans manage to get him an appointment, and soon after he returns from the park, he is rushed to the vet’s. There is no hope of successful treatment, his organs are failing, and they have to make the terrible decision to have their much loved dog put to sleep.
Rufus was twelve and a half, a good age for a big dog.
He first came to Kings Heath Park when he was ten weeks old.He soon joined in the rough stuff with my dog Ellie and her friends, puppies Billy, Cookie, and Connor, and became part of our regular morning and evening meet-ups.
I don’t have photos of Rufus when he was a puppy, as there was no blog in those days.
A year later, his sister Nancy arrived, and was quickly initiated into the ways a little sister was expected to behave. One day, his humans noticed little scabs all around her collar line. Clearly, big brother had been taking his responsibilities a little too seriously!
Stoical little Nancy hadn’t complained at all.
The following images are not necessarily in chronological order, but they capture some of the memories I have of him.
I love this one. He looks so soulful, as if he’s thinking
“Do I really have to wear this, just because my human thinks it’s easier to wash the mud out of the coat than to wash the mud off me?
Well, at least Nancy has to wear one as well.”
As Nancy became older, she quickly learned the ropes.
No prizes for guessing what’s going on here.
Yes, gardeners Alison or Dave must be on the scene, dispensing goodies from the treat truck.
Big brother was always keen to discipline Nancy, especially when she was disobedient; for example, if she ignored their human’s recall command, he always punished her. He would stand a little distance away, completely still, stiff as a statue, and glare at her.
In the image below, she is well aware that Rufus will beat her up as soon as she moves, so she avoids eye contact and pretends that she’s looking at something else.
Perhaps he’ll forget that she’s there.
He won’t, Nancy: he knows that his little sister’s getting a bit above herself. It’s time to put her in her place.
She tries to sneak off, but he’s too quick for her …………………………
A dog has to do his duty, and most of their time they are the best of companions.
We like to share
Rufus loved puppies, but maybe he is thinking that his human is being a bit over attentive to this small interloper.
Nancy doesn’t seem to mind. I think she’s wondering what Isis is doing. (Connor has his back to us).
When Isis comes on the scene, she is terrified of people and she is terrified of other dogs. Eventually, she will play with the small fir trees on the bank, while the others romp around on the old bowling green. But if another dog approaches, she will escape through a gap in the hedge and go hide in the Colour Garden.
First Billy moves away, then Cookie. Poor Connar has to be put to sleep. Then Gilbert and George the greyhounds, who kindly allowed her to accompany her on their walks for months when I was ill, go to live in Wales.
Kings Heath Park becomes very busy with walkers, and almost every day now, Isis walks with Rufus and Nancy in Highbury. Gradually, she loses her fear. Although she still tries to escape their extremely enthusiastic greeting – especially Rufus’s running muzzle bop, it becomes obvious that she is more confident when she is with them than she is on her own. They share sniffs, and she becomes used to them touching against her when they pass on a narrow track. (It must be said that Nancy is less tolerant than her brother, who is always careful with Isis, and waits in a gentlemanly fashion to pass her.
Rufus always looks out for her; on more than one occasion he has seen off canine strangers when they have bothered her.
He was a sweet, kind dog who always looked out for Isis. This image was taken last year in Cannon Hill Park, which was still unfamiliar to Isis. When she sets off down the slope towards the lake, Rufus trots after her. He doesn’t think she knows where she’s going and needs taking care of. He’s right.
Don’t worry Isis. I’m here.
You can see the kindness in his little face. I think she’ll miss him. I will too.
But not as much as his sister and his humans will. They, of course, are devastated.
Goodbye dear Rufus, loving and much loved dog.