Remembering a Dog

His name is Mutley, not was but is, because although he is not with us anymore, he is and always will be remembered.

We think of him all the time.  When we see or visit a place we know he would love (any kind of body of water or open space), my husband or I would look at the other and say “Oh Mutt would’ve loved this!”.  Every now and then we would look at our daughter and say “He would’ve adored her”.  You see, our Mutley died when I was a few months pregnant with T.  They never got to meet each other.  But she knows of him, we talk about him a lot to her and there are also photos of him around our house.

It’s one of those things that happened so fast.  We were visiting a friend in Bristol whom Mutley also loved.  We shared our friends with Mutley, he was friends too, with all our friends and would even go on vacation without us, with one of them.  Anyway, on that particular visit, I noticed that he was limping.  When we came home, we called up the vet and scheduled an appointment.  I think that was a Monday, on that first day he warned us already It could be bone cancer and told us what our options were.   I remember thinking – This is happening too fast.  He’s talking too fast.  I wanted him to stop, to shut up and just stop talking.  But he kept going on and on and mentioned the words put him to sleep, or cut off his leg .  

On our way home, I kept saying It’s not cancer, he’ll be okay.   My husband said if it is the C word, then he will have to be put to sleep.  We argued.  I was furious with him for deciding too quickly.  I needed time to think.  But what choice did we have?  The vet said that cutting off his leg won’t even guarantee that it would save his life.  The Mutt with one leg?  He’ll hate that!  And then there was also his age, he was around 11, not a young dog anymore.  The drive home was one of the longest drives in my life and a huge lump accumulated in my throat that made it very hard for me to breathe and swallow.  It stayed there for months.

On the Wednesday, he was gone.  That fast.  It was indeed bone cancer and he was put to sleep that very same day we found out.  I wasn’t with him.  It was only my husband and he had to drive back to work after that.  He said it was one of the hardest things he’s ever done.  He didn’t want Mutley to know what was happening and tried to be nonchalant, as if it was just any ordinary day and he was just dropping him off for now.  Mutley went inside the vet’s office with his tail wagging.  And that was that, he never came back home to us.  We never saw him again.

As I type this, I feel the tears coming back.  Oh Mutters, I miss you.  You never got to meet T.  She would’ve loved you and you would’ve adored her.  

Life was quieter when it was just me and the Mutt.  My husband then was teaching in a college that was about an hour’s drive away from us.  So it was just me and him most of the time.  Instead of walking to the playground like I do now, I used to take Mutley for walks in the headland.  We live in doggie heaven – vast open-space and rolling hills, complete with rabbits to chase.  But he sucked at chasing them.  My husband and I used to laugh and say that Mutley must be the biggest joke in Bunny Land, how the rabbits must have a laugh about how he would try to chase them, but they always got away.  I must admit though, I hated walking him in the cold.  I feel guilty about it now, how I used to stomp grumpily out of bed, to walk him in the cold.  I’d stomp away fuming silently, my wellies landing heavily on the ground, because I’d rather be in bed than out in the cold, and he’d be trailing back behind me, looking guilty and even apologetic as if to say I’m really sorry about this … He was that kind of dog you see, sensitive.  He knew when you were cross with him, or if you’re in a happy and loving mood.  I used to watch episodes of Grey’s Anatomy one after another, and I’d sit there sniffling away and as soon as he’d hear me sniffle, his ears would go up and would quickly go to me as if to say Are you alright?  Why are you crying?  And he wouldn’t go away until I assured him that I’m fine and I’m just being my usual soppy self crying over the latest woe of Meredith Grey.  And every time he’d see my husband and I hugging, he’d bounce around looking really happy and wanting to be included in the hug.  So we would always make a point to bend down and hug him too.  That’s what Mutley was like.  For the longest time, I would say Oh Mutters to that forever empty space in our living room where he liked to curl up and lie.

And now we are thinking of getting another dog, but it doesn’t mean that he will be replaced.  That other dog, will be an additional to our little family, just like Mutley is and always will be a part of our family.  It took awhile for us to even want to have another dog, but we know that the time has finally come.  I think he would like that, yes, I definitely think he would.

I’ve linked this post up with Podcast’s What’s the Story


  1. over40andamumtoone

    I know exactly how you feel, but with my saggy old cat, who I finally lost last June at the age of 19. You’ve got to be a pet owner to truly understand the place they hold in your heart and the hole they leave behind #whatsthestory

    • True, some people might think “It’s just a dog/cat”. But you’ll never really know what it’s like till you’ve lost one.

  2. PODcast (@The_Doves)

    Wow, just wow. Tears streaming down the face so I have no idea how you wrote this wonderful post. What an incredible tribute to Mutt. It’s great you have so many memories and you’ll never forget him. I’ve still not forgotten the Labrador I grew up with and he died in 1989! Thank you so much for sharing #whatsthestory

    • Thanks for the kind words … I don’t think you ever really get over something like this. He was a really special dog.

  3. jojoka1963

    Your post made me cry.
    I too lost my little Oscar when I was pregnant (7 months). He was 14, running around like a loony then just dropped, yelping out in pain. Then he was gone. It took less than a minute for his heart to stop. I was beside myself, and called my hubby who came home from work to console me! Like Tamsin, my daughter Lily had never met him, but knows of him and sees his photo on the side. She plays with his little collar too. I miss him so much despite being gone for nearly 3 years.
    We will get another dog one day too.
    I hope you find comfort in another dog coming in to your family.

    • Your words made me teary too. We’ve also kept his collar and his leash in our shed. I hope that someday you too will find a dog you and your family will cherish like Oscar.

  4. motherhoodisanart

    As you know my kids really want a dog. Part of my apprehension to getting one is due to a dog I lost in my 20s. I lived alone and he was my sidekick. He was such an awesome dog and the thought of having to go through that kind of loss again is partially the reason I’m dragging my feet on getting one.

    • I know. That’s exactly how I feel too. When Mutt came into my life, I’ve just really moved to England then. I didn’t really have any friends yet (the few friends I had were living far from Cornwall where we live) and Mutt was my only friend and companion because as I mentioned in the post, my husband at that time was teaching at a college far from our home – so it was really just me and him. & he isn’t actually the only dog I’ve lost. We are all dog people back home and have lost a few over the years and it really hurts (only pet lovers will understand what it’s like). I’m a bit scared with this new dog (we haven’t even found one yet!). But my husband likes to remind me that it will be Tamsin’s, it won’t be easy. Then again Life isn’t supposed to be easy =)

  5. lexiesnana

    I so loved this post. We had a lab for fourteen years and she had to be put to sleep because of heart problems. She was always with our four kids and I still miss her so. You never forget them that is for sure. She has been gone for seven years and we still get weepy for her. This post made me so think of her. Thank you.

  6. bsmart2013

    Crying my eyes out! Had to leave our Oscar with the kids when moved to Singapore, he’s a least 13 and it would of been too cruel. Currently on our first trip back to UK and will see my baby tomorrow, so excited but know will have to say goodbye to him next week again 🙁

  7. cara greenfield

    Oh my…tears :, ( my old soul Charlie used to literally hug me if he ever found me crying. He’d put his front paws on my shoulders & snuggle his face in mine. Dogs really are true best friends. Im sorry for your loss. Do you have a new doggy yet?? My son has the bestest friend in his nannas doggy Roxy. They are playmates & snuggle bunnys together. So special…

    • That’s really sweet! =( Yes, dogs are such sensitive souls. I think they can read us more than our partners/husbands/family/friends. No, we haven’t found one yet. We’ve got a guest coming over from the States over the weekend, so we’ll be busy. We’ve decided to seriously “look” when we’re not busy showing our guest around. Hopefully about two weeks from now! Fingers-crossing, we find one by then! =)

      • cara greenfield

        I hope u find the most perfect pooch to add to your family when the time fits. They really are so special and yes read us so well. In the future I will definatly be adding a doggy to our family. Such beautiful, funny characters…

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  15. Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault

    Muttye sounds like a wonderful dog and you are right – they never leave us because the mark they make in our lives is too great to be erased away when they don’t return one day. Our dear Poppy, who we lost to cancer on New Year’s Eve, is buried under a Mulberry Tree and I often stop and have a little chat to her. Harry who came to us afterwards will never replace her but he (like Doc) is there to write a new chapter, with new memories that T will remember 🙂

    Thank you so much for linking this Mutley’s tale to #AnimalTales, even if I am writing this with damp eyes.

    • Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault

      And how on earth did I manage to make Mutley come out like Muttye #sigh #fatfingersyndrome

    • Mutt, really was. I’m currently watching Grey’s Anatomy (dvd). Used to watch this with Mutt and as soon as he would hear me sniff, his ears would pick up, and sit beside me “As if to say, are you alright? I’m here, no need to cry”. I still miss him a lot. & I’m sorry, didn’t mean to make you cry,

  16. lisaslife1970

    Oh they all take their own piece of your heart don’t they? Mutley’s a darling and Doc is too and now I’m crying too.

    As you may know Stella is dealing with the return of the C word. She’s 11 now too and it would be doubtful that she’d survive the massive operation it would need to remove the tumour, let alone the subsequent reconstructive surgery. My lovely vet has been honest enough to warn me that it’s rare to get it all and common for it to come back if they do. At the moment she is pain-free and running around like a loony most days – she gets mocked by squirrels rather than rabbits – but I know I’m going to have some awfully hard decisions to make.

    • Didn’t mean to make you cry Lisa 🙁 Here’s hoping and praying that the C word won’t come back and she can live the rest of her life chasing squirrels and running around like a loony.

  17. kidGLloves (@kidGLloves)

    The Mother says – What a beautiful post. I will admit to having tears rolling down my face reading this. All I can say is that Mutley had such an amazing life with you and how wonderful that he’ll never be forgotten. He was a gorgeous and handsome chap 🙂 #animaltales

    • Hello Ash. Yes, he was an amazing dog. Still miss him, but Doc is okay too 😉

  18. debsrandomwritings

    Such a sad post, it bought a lump to my throat. Losing pet is never easy, we had ‘Zippy’ moments for a long time after we had to have her put down. One of our dogs is nearing her end (old age and failing health), but she still loves a little walk, it doesn’t matter what the weather’s like she still gets excited, which makes me feel guilty for begrudgingly taking her.

    I hope you have found the perfect dog for your family.


    • It’s an old post which I wanted to share just to “introduce” the dog we lost. We, or rather, my daughter has an 18-month old dog called Doc, who surprisingly looks a lot like our Mutt.

  19. Reblogged this on Little Steps and commented:

    This is an old post written a few years ago, before we had Doc. It also happens to be one of my favourite posts so I thought of re-sharing this with you lovely people. It’s also my entry to the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle and Arden Grange Pet Writing Competition. If you have a story to tell about your pet, there’s still plenty of time to join. It ends on the 25th of January 2016! You’ll never know one of us might just win a lovely pet holiday in Normandy!

  20. ortsofsorts

    Thank you for sharing this emotional story. What a beautiful face..
    It is definitely a tearjerker and heartwrencher for anyone who knows how it feels to lose such a beloved part of a family. I’m feeling it…

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