This is one of the most difficult posts I've had to write on this blog, especially given the time year, but in the early hours of yesterday my lovely big dog Sam slipped into a sleep he didn't wake up from.
He had only been with me for six months - he came just after the sudden and unexpected death of my ex partner - but in that short time he achieved so much. Through correct feeding he lost almost all the excess weight he was carrying and went from being unable to get into my van without help to jumping in and out on his own, and although slower in pace than Sophie and Poppie he was still able to go for fairly long walks in the countryside near home. He was a very placid and patient dog and would stand for ages while I brushed him; he loved children and adults alike and was always happy for people to make a fuss of him when we were out. He went camping with me twice in the last six months, loved his walks along the beach at California in September and enjoyed several dips in the sea while we were there.
A couple of weeks ago he became quite lethargic and went off his normal food; a check up at the vet's showed that although he had a heart murmur which he must have had for quite some time there was nothing else wrong and he wasn't in any pain - at thirteen years old he was just naturally coming to the end of his life. There was nothing I could do for him other than give him whatever tasty food he would eat, take him out for very short walks and make sure he was always comfortable in his bed; at Christmas he got a new collar, a packet of the soft chew sticks he liked, and some freshly-cooked chicken for his supper. His last walk was a very slow one just a few yards along the street on Monday this week then he just lay quietly in his bed and I knew it was only a matter of time before he left me. I nursed him almost constantly on Tuesday and it broke my heart when he went to sleep for the very last time.
Sam may have only been with me for six short months but that doesn't make the pain of losing him any easier - if anything it makes it worse as we had such a strong and loving bond between us right from the day he came to me, strengthened by having been a big part of each other's lives in previous years. I knew this day would come eventually but I didn't think it would be so soon and it hurts like crazy; there's a big Sam-sized space in my living room right now and an even bigger hole in my heart which will take a long time to heal.
Sleep tight Sam, my special friend, I'll love and miss you always xx
- Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it