This is the love story as told to me by Glen Canning, Dad of Suzie the Bearded Collie Cross from Taunton, UK.
Tell me about the first time you met Suzie, when and where was it?
1998, I was a volunteer dog walker for a local rescue centre at the Blue Cross. She came in on a Saturday morning, I was there in the afternoon. I went round and gave all the residents a biscuit as I usually did. And then I saw her sitting cowering in the kennel. I just had this overwhelming feeling of sorrow. I sat in with her to give her some comfort. There I was, me on the floor, and she’d come to me and buried her head in my arm. I went back to reception and asked about her They said she’s nasty, and she’ll bite. Her previous owner had mistreated her very badly and She’d attack others, but not me. And I was stuck. I was with her from that day on.
Thinking back, how would you describe Suzie’s personality?
She was 7 when I first met her. To me, always happy and friendly. To others, aggressive and scared due to how she had been treated. I could do anything with her but she’d bite anyone else. She had a bossy nature, she had to go out at 9 am dead on! If I was five minutes late she’d have a tantrum! She was very demanding. And the oddest thing I’ve ever experienced, she couldn’t handle daylight savings time change. She couldn’t get the hour difference; eight was nine or nine was ten, she never could adjust to the hour difference, so I had to adjust for her!
And now how would Suzie describe your personality, Glen?
She would say caring, reliable, and there when needed. She knew I would do anything for her, I doted on her, she was my number one, my best friend. I would do anything for her.
What did you learn from Suzie?
All dogs deserve a second chance. She showed so-called aggressive dogs can be helped and given a good life.
What are the top three things you always want to remember about Suzie?
1. Her happy face.
2. Her loyalty to me.
3. Her infectious happy howl when she would see me. It was a high-pitched howl she would let rip whenever she saw me.
When did Suzie earn her wings?
When did you join Paws?
Do you remember how you found Paws?
Facebook search, pure chance I found it
What has or is helping you get to the other side of grief? What advice would you share with someone who recently started grieving?
I never stopped grieving for her, it’s ten years this year I lost her, and it still hurts. What I would say is to keep busy, think only of the good times. For me, I have adopted special needs dogs that have no one to turn to, to give them a home, and to help. So to see them come back from the brink of despair, to know they are now loved and cared for is a great feeling and accomplishment, As people may know I have recently adopted Lars a totally blind ex-street dog, who was very scared when he first came to me but is now starting to open up, it’s great to see him start to live, to offer her place to an unwanted dog takes my mind away from losing her, it’s not for everyone but for me it helps to remember her.
Where are you now in your grief?
The same place as I was when I lost her in September 2010, it still hurts. She was my most special dog. When I went back to the reception after sitting with her, I was told she was aggressive and don’t go near her. She stayed in the kennels for four years as I was unable to take her due to her not getting on with my other dog. When I sat with her and in the time she was there, I was the only person who could ever touch or get near her. The kennel staff would not get close as she would bite them but not me. That made me feel so special and lucky. Losing her was so hard as we were an inseparable pair, we went everywhere together.
Using your spiritual and intuitive mind, if I could get a message to Suzie from you, what would you want to say? What would you want to let Suzie know?
I miss her so much; I hope she forgives me for letting her stay so long in the kennels. I would have taken her so much sooner if she had got on with my other girl. I hardly go to the beach. We used to go three or four times every week as we had a huge beach just minutes down the road but now, it just doesn’t feel right being there without her
And if I could get a message from you to Suzie what would you like to know?
I hope she is somewhere safe and happy, back in full health, I hope she hasn’t forgotten me, as I will never forget her. I hope she knew that she was special, and I cherished every single moment I had with her. The cold days indoors, on the beach in the heavy rain and winds, every single moment of being with her was a privilege and an honour.
Is there anything else you would like to share with your Paws Pack about Suzie?
She was in kennels for four years due to her past. She was brought in by her previous owner, he had seven other dogs and used to let them beat her up, so she was fearful of people and other animals. And yet from day one, she never bit or was nasty to me. That made me feel so special and honoured. When I lost my other rescue very suddenly from cancer I had heard the rescue wanted to kill Suzie. I applied right away to take her. I had to see a so-called behaviorist who knew very little and nothing of her or me. I got the go-ahead to adopt her. With the help of the staff there as they were friends then, her parting gift as she left the rescue for the last time was she emptied her bladder all over the floor, she knew, somehow she knew she was leaving for good.
We had eight great years together, always as a pair, until lymph cancer of the neck tore her from me. We went to the beach three sometimes four times a week. Always out in the car together, and always in the field at the back of the house for a walk Now I hardly ever go there since I lost her, too many memories of her. Even now it hurts to go to the beach and not be there with her.