Our Friend


It is warm (well getting hot really), the sun is shining and the sky is blue.  I have been sitting in my beautiful sun-bathed garden and listening to the birds singing their little hearts out.


It is my birthday today.   And yet…my heart is heavy.   I should be feeling happy today of all days, but…we have a beautiful golden retriever (Bailey) who is now over fourteen and a half years old.  He is not at all well and we are going through what every pet-lover goes through…should we end his life or keep him alive a little longer?




If only dogs could talk.  I well remember the old song ‘If I could talk to the Animals’ – this shows my age! – sung by Rex Harrison many years ago.   IF we could talk to him, Bailey would be able to tell us how he feels:  whether he is in pain – he certainly can hardly walk now as his joints are stiff with arthritis and the fact that he doesn’t like the fits he’s been having – and whether he would rather still be with us, or be free from whatever ails him and be able to run around in a wonderful dog’s version of heaven.




There is a dichotomy to all this.   Are we keeping him alive for his sake, or ours?   When our previous golden retriever – Fergus – died several years ago, we decided that we would never have another dog as we missed him so much.  After all our best friend had gone and we were bereft.   About a year passed by and I just happened to be looking through The Golden Retriever Website, when I saw him.




He was the most beautiful dog I’d ever seen.   Bailey is a large dog and much larger than our three previous dogs.  I must say here, that to us they were all beautiful, but he is or was, an Alpha Male (or leader of the pack).  You might think, ‘Then why was he on the website for sale?’   Good question, and we asked ourselves that as well.   I emailed the owner.    The husband thought he was too big and didn’t like him:  at this time Bailey was in his prime at three years of age and his wife couldn’t take him out because she had a bad back.




So we took him on and we are glad we did.   We have about two and a half acres of garden and woodland.   Bailey I’m sure has been in seventh heaven.  He has spent his days running in the woods and chasing anything that moves.   Only problem is, he can’t run now and can’t feel the breeze ruffling through his fur as he used to  when running helter-skelter through the trees.




Which now brings us back to the question above and I still don’t know the answer.   It is my husband Jim’s birthday on Wednesday and…  Do we wait a little longer?




This BLOG is dedicated to BAILEY, our friend.  This photo was taken several years ago.


About phylburton

I live in south-west Surrey in England. I am an author of three published books, and I have another book of short stories due for publication in March 2018. I love singing, water-colour painting, walking, Cornwall and of course writing and reading good books. All three of my books - A PASSING STORM, PAPER DREAMS and WHEN THE ICE MELTS, were published by Matador (Troubador Publishing) Ltd. WHEN THE ICE MELTS was published in August 2016. My next book - THE POWER OF LOVE - is due to be published by Bridge House Publishing in March 2018. For more details about me and my writing, please go to my website: www.phyllisburton.com
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4 Responses to Our Friend

  1. Hi Phyllis
    As you say, all dog lovers can identify with what you’re going through.
    We adopted Timbuktu from the dog;s home. He was about a year old, in a terrible state and looked as if he was made of spare parts that no one wanted. We always knew that we wouldn’t have very long with him so eight very happy years felt like a bonus. But, when life stopped being fun for him we let him go.

    It still hurts, though.

  2. Melanie Dent says:

    Bailey sounds like a lovely dog and I’m sorry to hear that you are facing such a tough choice but your heart will tell you what is right. I have never had a dog so can’t totally relate to this. I am sure that you will make the best choice by Bailey in the end.

  3. That is a very moving blog.

    This is a dilemma that most pet owners face at some point, and it is such a shame that it has impacted on your birthday. It would be a whole lot easier if they could talk…easier for them and easier for us!

    I feel you will make the right decision, when it is the right time. Enjoy these last few days/weeks with him.

  4. So sorry, Phyllis. (Post shared and tweeted.)

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