Friday, 2 December 2011
Today I and two good friends of mine lost a dog, it was Aster. I said three of us because I bred Aster and had him until he was about eight years old, and then he left me for his own sake. Many of you will not remember him, he was a beautiful lanky Labrador, brother of Arabis and Lily. We always said he must have got extra length to his legs from Lily who is very short. To see Aster run was a wonderful sight, he always epitomised joy to me when I watched him play with the others.

He was a nervous dog and at some point when he was about four years old something happened, I don't know what, but he decided he was scared of the birds, which was not fun when you are upwards of 250 of them. He would always be around but hated the Hawk Walk where the tethered birds live and always either ran through it, or avoided it.

He came with me to the US, he was terribly upset by the air flight, but recovered, although he was never as settled or happy in South Carolina, but much loved by most of the people there, he did scare us a couple of times when he disappeared, and he was not great with other dogs over there. He loved swimming in the lakes which was about the only place I could walk the dogs over there, although that in itself was scary and they were full of bloody alligators.

He came back with the tribe when my ill fated sojourn there ended, and he was reasonably settled in Eardisland until I started to bring the birds back and fly some of them, because they were brought into the barn that we all lived in, and were sitting outside close to the trailer that we eventually moved into, he hated it, and started to run away. The road outside was very busy and I was extremely worried that he would get run over, so I took the difficult choice to ask some friends if they would take him. I had sort of planned to make it a short term move, but as it turned out it would have been wrong to take him away again, it was best for him to stay there with them.

Maggie and Jinny took to him like an old friend. We met in the Cotswolds at a very nice hotel so they could be introduced, and after an hour or so, Aster happily jumped into their car and off he went. He settled well and they would take him up to Winterton in Norfolk, and he would run on the beach with their other dogs, it was perfect for him, no birds, nothing to upset him and he was a happy happy dog.

Another Labrador arrived as a puppy to remind him of his family and he and Lucas got on well. I saw him once when I was invited to fly at the Norfolk show, it was lovely to see him but stressful for both of us and I think it would have been confusing for him to see me too much, so I did not see him again, although he was always in my thoughts, and there were things here I know he would have loved, I think he would have played with Sedge with pleasure.

But like all dogs, who never live long enough for their owners, he started to go downhill, and Jinny is like me, you do not leave a dog too long before taking that hard decision to put it down. A dignified and honourable death is the order of the day, and also like me she is a strong believer in the deed being done at home where the dog is happy and secure.

As I have said before it completely staggers me that people can take their dog to the vets and just leave it to be put down, that is an abdication of responsibility in my book and just not acceptable, because at that point it is not your feelings that are important, it is the dogs.

Aster died this morning at his home, it was peaceful and honourable and just right, if these things ever can be. He leaves a huge hole both with me and with Jinny and Maggie, to whom I am eternally grateful to for giving him a great life and a good ending. He will eventually come back to the field and wood, and join his family when the time is right.


Anonymous said...

Lovely to read this story of Aster's life which was far more adventurous than I had realised, what with his time in South Carolina. It was a sad day yesterday and it is nice, especially for Jinny and Maggie, to see this commemoration which no doubt captures his spirit well and so will keep him alive in memory.

sue hyde said...

sorry to read this mima, i do remember meeting aster. he had a good life and you all did the best for him. RIP aster, a beautiful dog


I have to say that keeping a weblog can at times become compulsive and at other times a chore. Sometimes I am berrated for not keeping it up and sometimes I get wonderful comments from people who follow the news of the Centre.

It is fun to share the daily goings on here, some good and some bad, some funny and some sad, but all a part of our daily lives.
And as I said before its a pretty cool to be here and it is a great place to visit, you should try coming and watching the birds and meeting the staff and of course the dogs.

An interesting video on Lead

An interesting video on Lead

I find it staggering that people who want to hunt don't see the value in changing their ammunition from lead to a safer product. We have stopped using lead in petrol, in paint, in our water pipes, but they still want to use lead - ah well, apparently eating it not only kills birds but leads to reduced intelligence in humans......................

NO ONE is asking you to stop legal and genuine hunting, they are just asking you to change your ammunition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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