Vale Remy

I never expected it to be this hard to say goodbye to a dog. But Remy was more than a pet; he was a wonderful part of our family.

Vale Remy

Yesterday, we said goodbye to our dog Remy.

For 14 years, he was a wonderful member of our family, although he always had a special connection with my wife, Sinead.

If Remy had his way, they would go everywhere together - shopping, in the car or to the office. It didn't matter to Remy; he just wanted to be with her.

That special connection extended to him understanding and obeying almost everything she said. Whether it was 'Please don't touch the treats, Remy' or asking him to find something. It was incredible what he would do for her.

In return, Remy had a pretty pampered life.

He had his favourite snacks at several cafes, loved going to the groomers every month, and, in my absence, always got the front seat in the car.

He truly was a wonderful dog, and we all loved him.

Remy loved us too, and would always cast a protective eye over the children when they were little. We were his pack, and he knew his role and place in the pecking order.

We all did - especially me. Due to my time in Parliament, Remy probably spent more time with my wife and sons than I did.

He was always there, ready for any adventure with them. That gave me great comfort in my absence.

While his favourite place was anywhere Sinead was, one of his others was 'the point' at Coffin Bay. He'd love to spend hours lying on a rock in the sun, watching the ocean and the aquatic activities.

While Remy loved people, he showed no interest in other animals. He never chased ducks or emus or kangaroos. In that respect, he thought he was human.

To us, he almost was because he was a part of everything we did.

Remy was also the most gentle of souls. I can never recall a bark in anger or a confrontation he didn't seek to avoid.

He was just beautiful, and that makes saying goodbye particularly hard.

As he got older, we promised ourselves we would never see him suffer. In his final years, he became slower and more obstinate.

He liked to sleep late, and his most energetic moments were leading the way for a mid-morning croissant at the local coffee shop.

On those walks, like those for most of his life, Remy was never on a lead.

He knew where he was expected to stop and wait for us to catch up.

This was particularly handy as his hearing became more selective later in life. This strange phenomenon enabled him to hear the merest rustle of a chip packet from a hundred metres away but seemingly unable (or unwilling) to hear any request he didn't think appropriate.

Remy on his final car journey.

Then, suddenly, on the weekend, everything changed.

The tail stopped wagging, and the body became listless. He wouldn't eat, and when he drank, the fluid came back up. We knew it was time, and I think he did too.

We'd often talked about this day, but some of me thought it would never come.

I certainly never imagined I would feel as sad as I do.

That said, there is some comfort in knowing we did the right thing by him at every stage of his life. Just like he did for us.

Thought for the Day

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.”
Milan Kundera

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