I am talking about saying goodbye to the very best friend I have.. my dog Jamie.
Jamie is an English Springer Spaniel and he has reached the grand old age of 15 and still in very good nick. His coat is shiny, he still loves his food and his walks although he is as deaf as a post and his eyesight isn't what it was.
He has been a wonderful dog and treasured member of my family, a family that began with just him and I back in London fifteen years ago..
I was working as a Nanny and my boss said why didn't I get a dog as I had quite a bit of spare time - one of the girls was at boarding school so I only had one 'charge' in term time and no real housework to speak of (thank god). SO, I went ahead and decided on a Springer as I'd always liked them and contacted an old friend who I knew had two himself to see if he knew of any puppies going. The reply was no, but that when I did get the puppy I was to go and visit him in Essex one weekend.. Nice one.
Well, after researching recommended breeders, I finally found one in Hastings. There were two pups left, and I spent an agonising couple of hours trying to decide which one to choose. No easy task as they were both gorgeous, all floppy ears and huge paws and the friendliest little fellas.
This of course blew my theory right out of the water. The plan that I would let puppy choose me just didn't quite tally with the contents of my purse that day as the truth was they both chose me and I couldn't afford two!
After much deliberation and head scratching I chose who I thought the most attractive to look at as they were both as adorable as the other, character wise.
I can remember ringing my Mother who I'd planned to go and stay with for the weekend- saying I had a puppy. She was not pleased, what did I want a dog for? Funny how when I turned up on her doorstep a few hours later there was newspaper on the floor and a toy waiting for us, mmm.. Not even my mother could resist a Springer puppy.
Life with Jamie had begun.
He was welcomed into the London home where I lived and worked and the girls quickly grew fond of him as did my boss, affectionately referring to him as Jimmy Butt.
Within a week or two I was heading down to Essex with baby Springer to see my friend with his Springers.
That weekend went so well that it was the start of not only a Springer affair but a people one too.. Ian and I hit it off big time and Jamie was the catalyst.
We had two children together, got married three years ago and here we are still going strong fifteen years later.
Whenever I forget how long we've been together I just remind myself how old Jamie is and I'm there. He is the hallmark of the Cundy family!
Like I said, I knew this time would come but today has been tough. Jamie's back legs have shown a considerable weakening over the last few weeks and he has slowed up on walks but still loves to come out with our other Springer, Sika. In fact I'm convinced that he wouldn't have lasted this long without her company.
But yesterday he collapsed and hasn't regained the use of one leg which is not good.
We have always said that we would never let him suffer or prolong his life unnecessarily and now that we have reached that point it is clear that a decision had to be made. The vet confirmed our thinking and so with his support we decided to let him go before things get any worse.
We wanted to bring him home so that our boys will have the opportunity to say goodbye before the vet comes on Monday. But I think if I'm honest, we wanted to have that extra time with him ourselves. Is that so very selfish?
This weekend will not be easy. I have a mixture of feelings around it where I want it to be over and I don't want it to end. Does that make sense?
The one thing I know is that I will make the most of it, I will savour it and I will remember it.
The rest of the family will too I think.
And on Monday.. Ian and I will be there with him to send him on his way.
For such a good friend.. isn't that the least we can do?
And more than a friend - if a dog can be a Soulmate, can he be ours?
Of course he can.
Always has been and always will be..