It’s been a couple of weeks since our puppy Beth died.
To be honest I feel a little ridiculous that I’m still so sad about it, but Beth was pretty special. She had more than nine lives, and smiled (that gorgeous Kelpie smile) no matter what she faced, and kept us smiling too.
From her very first day she was a standout – the only brown and white pup with 11 black and white siblings. Smaller than the rest, her mum was mean to her, always knocking her out of the way so the others could drink.
I felt sorry for her, and it didn’t take much to convince Dean to take her home.
She travelled from my parents’ place in a small box in the car and when we got home she didn’t want to come out. She soon made herself right at home.
There were strict rules, which she constantly broke. The only rule she mastered was that she wasn’t allowed in the kitchen. And she passed puppy preschool, somehow.
I came home early from night shift one night to find Dean racing up and down the small hallway with her – I’m not sure which one of them was enjoying it the most.
Beth came to us at a really difficult time. We had just lost Dean’s father and we were engulfed in pure sadness. But she gave us something positive to focus on and something to smile about. From the very start she loved us with all her heart and showed us with constant affection and far too many licks.
But really warmed to town life – bathing in her clam shell pool, eating hoses, chilling out inside and of course sneaking in to bed for cuddles too. One little dog soon took up more space in the bed than we did.
When Beth was about six months old, and had become quite ill, we were told she only had about 25 per cent kidney function. We finally worked out why her mum rejected her (and she somehow managed to do it without all the expense of fancy vet tests and machines).
So started twice daily tablets, a special (read: expensive) diet and lots more trips to the vets to get everything under control.
Another six months later, and still on her pills, we moved on farm and Beth decided she was a farm dog after all. She had to live outside but there were perks. Walk time had always been a highlight of her day but now she had a creek to frolic in and some days we even went down to the Murray River. It was pure puppy heaven.
After the motorbike, me and Dean (in that order) Beth loved water. Even when we moved to Eldorado and she lost her access to the creek and river, she took any opportunity to fling herself in dams, water troughs or even puddles – and this was all year round, iced over puddles were fair game.
Living on a farm and working from home also, could mean that Beth was the only “person” I saw other than my husband for days. Even now when the motorbike starts up I expect to hear her barking – a demand to be taken along, because Beth didn’t like to miss out on anything.
That included rat poison. She preserved through the bad taste she discovered after cracking into bait stations TWICE. It was like an extra difficult Kong game. A trick she mastered two days before our wedding this year. She cheated death again, but she couldn’t forever.
There are so many memories and we are so grateful to have had Beth in our lives. She will never be replaced, and I definitely couldn’t have another puppy for a while. I’ve been teasing Dean for years we should get a miniature pig. Another pet will come along when it feels right.
For now, Beth is forever resting in a prime position in our new orchard. Farewell Bethy, two years old but forever a puppy.