There always comes the day that any devotee to animals dread.
Ruby has left us.
15 years ago we came across her in a pile of hay in a barn in deepest Sussex. A small, lonely bundle waiting for her chance.
Our close friends had already homed her sister, Daisy, and we heard through them that there was just one left so we piled in the car and drove quickly to snap her up.
Bearded collies are the cutest pups. My husband got to the barn even before me and came out carrying her as if protecting the crown jewels. After we had settled with the owner we passed by a car on the drive containing a couple who had also come by to home her..but she was ours and we smiled.
Ruby was named on the way home as she slept on my lap. My two boys, (then aged 8 and 11) were over the moon as we had a small holding where her life would be one of tall grass, fields and forests. I also had rescued sheep having started with 2 this had blossomed into 14 old girls who lived their lives daily mooching about and causing havoc with any tree that took their fancy.
Ruby grew up to be the most amazing girl. Pretty, funny and devoted to all of us. Football was her game and no-one could ever beat her when it came to dribbling the ball across the field.
She became a mother to 7 pups with Jacob three years later and after 3 weeks, of protection and feeding, she decided that enough was enough and I took over the day and night feeding singing a song I made up to make them follow me everywhere I went. Dennis, our youngest at 12 (and one of her pups we kept) still reacts to this song today.
Ruby was also a great escape artist and often the door would ring to find her wagging her tail next to our neighbour.
We were blessed that she never had health issues and only rarely she wore a lead as her life was one of total freedom by our side.
As the years went by, as we all know, the body tires and over the past few months getting up for her was a real struggle. She also had alopecia and cancer of the tail. A bit like an over loved teddy bear that had been cuddled and loved beyond recognition she would attempt to be part of everyday life but things were getting harder and harder for her and we decided it was time to let her go before true pain set in.
One can never truly express the deep pain of losing a family member who makes you smile every time you think of them. Funny how the teeth marks on the table legs and scratches on the doors become total treasures where once they caused a sigh.
Thankyou, Ruby, for loving us.
We will never forget you and will love you forever.