We fell in love with him at first sight. But it was Blue who chose us. He was just a six week old ball of fluff on four legs when we met him, I still remember him running clumsily towards us. All joy and pure innocence, with a huge belly that almost touched the ground and an even bigger heart that captured ours from the very start.
I’d never owned a dog until Blue came along. I grew up with cats. But we made the decision to get a dog after Doug’s house was broken into. Not that Blue was ever a guard dog. Far from it. He tried hard to fake it but bis bark was always far more ferocious than his bite.
The night Blue came home with us he cried and howled through the night. We wrapped him in blankets, put a ticking clock beside him to imitate his mother’s heart and eventually he slept. He ate. He slept. He ate. He grew bigger.
Blue Heelers in Australia are often used for farm work and for rounding up sheep. But not ours. He was more content canoodling up to us on the couch, chasing the odd rabbit who scampered through nearby paddocks, chasing Doug around the house after work for his daily game of Catch me if you can. And making himself totally at home.
It took a little while for him to accept me. I was still just Doug’s girlfriend and the friendly intruder – even though it was me who bought him! When I visited Blue would stand between Doug and I and make it known he was the favourite.
But I won him over. And Doug too!
By the time we married the three of us were inseperable. By this stage Blue was going everywhere with us. Overnight trips. Family picnics. Day trips to the beach. Out on a speed boat while Doug scuba dived. Camping by the river. Hikes to the mountains.
He had the kindest eyes and the biggest heart and everyone who met him loved him. When our kids eventually came along he was a loyal and devoted family dog who constantly guarded his clan yet was always so gentle. He knew his place. He was our constant companion for 15 years.
Our fun loving dog eventually got sick. I’ll never forget the look he gave us the day he passed away. He’d developed a tumor and we’d made the hardest decision ever to take him to a vet and have him put him to sleep. As he walked away from us he turned and gave us such a look of love that it just broke my heart.
It was as though he knew and he was saying goodbye. As though he was saying, thank you for everything. Thank you for my life. Thank you for loving me. And yet it was him who gave us so much.
Dear Blue, my first dog, you will always have a special place in my heart.