“When I fall in love, it will be forever.”
When I fall in love, it will be forever. Those eternal words of Nat King Cole.
Rather out of tune, they were words cheerily sung hundreds of times by my grandfather whilst he worked on our family farm.
Now, life throws unexpected things at you, and unfortunately, not every romance is destined to last forever, something I have found out first hand.
I am not sure I ever believed in love at first sight, until I met someone that would become very special in my life. But there’s a reason behind why they were so special.
Dogs have been a huge part of my life; my mother rescued our first dog from a lady in the village, when I was around 2. The woman used to shout and scream and her husband would beat the dog. Charlie had a little cubby hole in the kitchen, between the cupboard and the washing machine to allow him to hide away from the hustle of the house, his sanctuary. He was a ‘Heinz 57’ – a whippet cross something. Kind lovable and loyal. We spent 15 years at home together and he left this world after a stroke when I was 17.
And so my love of dogs began. Our home was open to waifs and strays, both human and animal. My parents started to adopt ex-racing greyhounds, with several gracing the sofa’s before I moved out.
With old dogs, and rescues, both come their problems and their idiosyncrasies. You accept the stages of rehoming, how they adapt from Kennel life and how they quickly realize that humans are there to serve their every need. One rescue, Chloe, would start whimpering around 9pm when my parents had visitors, to remind them it was bedtime, before taking herself upstairs to sleep in her own bedroom.
In 2015, however, there was a first for me.
I broke my rule of rescuing, and accepted a puppy as a gift. When a relationship had broken down earlier my faithful wolfhound had to be rehomed, he lives with two beautiful little girls that treat him like a big teddy. But he left a huge hole in my life. A hole that once filled, would change my life forever.
It’s always been a firm belief, that a man doesn’t choose his dog, his dog chooses him. This was certainly the case with Harry, it was love at first sight. A bold black Saluki Lurcher Cross called Harry.
The tiny scrawny little ball of fur was destined to be spoilt from the day he arrived.
From his home with travellers he came bearing gifts. Worms. Horrific worms like I had never seen before. Like spaghetti from both ends. With a huge bloated belly it would be weeks before we finally rid him of them.
Everywhere we went, it was together. Harry rode up front in his cat bed, enjoying the front seat close to dad and by night Harry slept on dad’s bed in his Igloo.
We started toilet training as soon as Harry moved in, with me waking up each hour through the night and taking my boy wonder outside to the grass to encourage him to do his business. A clever chap, before he was three months old, was more or less house trained.
Some of my earliest photographs of Harry were whilst he balanced on a huge pet bed whilst trying to conquer a huge postmans’ leg dog bone. And that sums up his attitude to life, take on anything with determination.