Date added: 22 Sep 2011
Smudge: Born 25 March 1996 - Died 12 May 2001
Aged 15 years
His Kennel Club name was Bitcon
Gathering Light and that is what he did, he created light and happiness wherever he went endearing himself to everyone he met. He was a really gentle and loving dog and full of fun.
He loved to go for walks on our nearby Common where the swallows would engage him in play, swooping down to him and flying quickly away when he gave chase. A wonderful game enjoyed by dog and birds. He was also a 'game' dog and always knew if there was a rabbit about. He loved to sniff and follow the scent.
Smudge liked to play football too with a tennis ball. He would carry a squeeky trumpet and one tennis ball in his mouth while he padded another around with his paws. We called this combination of toys his 'football kit' and when the words were uttered he would be off to gather his equipment and enjoy the game (and we would be expected to retrieve any lost balls for him!). Great fun for all.
He also loved to play throw and chase the tennis ball with his friend Sweep in the garden. When the ball was thrown they would both give chase. Sweep was usually first there but going so fast he would skid past the ball and Smudge would nip underneath and win the prize. Smudge was, as you see, a smart and resourceful creature. However, they both enjoyed the game and complimented each other.
He enjoyed holidays in our caravan when we would all go on a long walk in the countryside where he could have a good sniff around and run freely in the fields. When we got home he would curl up comfortably on the seat on a cushion in the window and keep a weather eye out for any roaming rabbits. We toured France and the continent which he also enjoyed as we would park the caravan under a shady tree (or two or three) and he could enjoy the warmth of a summer day cooled by the shade of a tree.
When he was 5 he went into kennels while we had a weekend in a hotel with friends. On the morning we were to collect him the kennels telephoned while we were having breakfast to tell us he had lost the use of his back legs. He was in absolute agony. We were distraught and rushed him to the vet who directed us to a special orthopaedic vet. Surgery was needed to remove a ruptured disc in his back. It was hoped that he would recover but there was a chance that surgery might not be succssful. Thanks to the expertise of the vet the disc was removed successfully and he made a full recovery. He was a very brave little chap as when he first had the surgery it looked like he had a zip from between his shoulder blades to the base of his tail. After a few months he was once again able to run around and chase the swallows and play throw and chase.
As he grew older we noticed his eyes becoming cloudy and we thought he might be developing cataracts. On specialist investigation it turned out that he had hereditery retinopathy for which there was no cure. He was also on medication for congestive heart failure. However, he still managed to maintain his love of life and bore the loss of his sight with great bravery, managing to sniff and bump his way around - and his friend Sweep helped to guide him too.
He loved to sit beside me on the sofa in the evening and enjoy a cuddle. He gave cuddles too, winding his head around my neck and behind my head when I held him in my arms. He always said 'thank you' for his food giving a little nudge with his nose and he also used this method to say 'yes' when you got right what he was trying to tell you. His loving nature never left him.
In April of 2011 his cough worsened. It kept him awake at night and when he got up for a drink we could hear him struggling to find his way back to bed. We realised that it would soon be time to say goodbye to our lovely boy. On the 12th May the vet came to the house and he went to sleep in my arms. To have to decide to say goodbye to my lovely boy is one of the most painful decisions I have had to make and we have missed him terribly every day since then. Both Smudge and his friend Sweep will always live in our memories.