At the beginning of January, we were devastated when we lost our beloved Fin. The Big Ginger, as he was affectionately known, has left a huge hole in our lives. He had many conditions and a lot of our time was taken up with caring for him. However, despite all his various illnesses, he was a happy boy and still enjoyed a walk, albeit slowly, around the park, feasting on sheep poo when he got a chance. He also adored the snow and would gulp huge mouthfuls of it, at every opportunity.
He must have been at least 15 years old. We adopted him in 2003 when we were told he was around 2. We got him from Vigil German Shepherd Rescue in Surrey, after being sent his picture (above left) to post on our website. We couldn’t resist him, and after a brief introduction, took him home.
Fin wasn’t always the easiest dog, he never got along with our other rescue Blitz but he was such a character. Sometimes, when there was a full moon, he would throw his head back and howl like a wolf.
He is so sorely missed, but we are thankful to have had so many years with him, and he will always be in our hearts.
2011 didn’t start off too well for us, with the tragic loss of our lovely GSD Sophie. She was a truly wonderful dog who joined us with her sister Amy over 10 years ago, and she was the matriarch of our pack.
Although getting older she was generally pretty healthy, but one day on a walk around the field she just lay down and seemed very cold. We brought her in to warm her up and she did rally, but the following day she collapsed in the kitchen. Wrapped in a blanket while we comforted her, she died in our arms. Quite typical of her to spare us from long term worry, and difficult decisions.
She will be sorely missed, not least for those defiant barks she used to deliver while looking us in the eye and ignoring our pleas for quiet!
At the beginning of June, and after a long battle with CDRM, we lost our beloved GSD Blitz. He was 12.
We took Blitz on as a rescue dog 9 years ago, and never regretted it. Even with several other GSDs in the ‘pack’ it took him several months to fully settle in, but after that he showed his true character – a gentle giant with a bark that could pierce the eardrums!
18 months ago he was diagnosed with CDRM, after we noticed him dragging his foot, and 6 months later a large mass was found in his abdomen. Neither was causing any discomfort, but over time his mobility did deteriorate. With careful management though, and one or two home made devices, he remained comfortable and happy to the end.
We miss him terribly, but are extremely thankful for the extra year he gave us.
Thanks to a welcome gap in the weeks of torrential rain, we had the hay cut early in August. Praying for good weather, we were rewarded with sun and breeze for 6 days, and managed to bale successfully. Nice dry stuff, if a bit loose in the bale strings!
The following day, our friendly neighbour delivered three round bales of straw, and we spent the afternoon re-baling to give us easier to handle square bales. The baler could be stored for another year.
Unfortunately our delight was short lived. Only days after putting the hay in the shed, Molly, one of our GSDs fell ill. We never doubted for one minute that she would be fine, but she continued to deteriorate. After 6 days, we couldn’t hold on to her any longer, and she had to be put to sleep.
Almost at the same time, Amy (another GSD) also became ill with an unrelated problem. Exactly 7 days after losing Molly, Amy went to the vet for exploratory surgery, and we were advised not to revive her.
We are devastated and miss them both very much, and the shock of losing two seemingly healthy dogs is still very real, but life on the croft must go on.
The apples are maturing and will be ready soon, and there is still plenty going on in the polytunnel that demands our attention.
RIP Molly and Amy.
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Smithy Croft, Strichen, Fraserburgh, AB43 6SL. United Kingdom