I went to visit an old friend today. Her JRT must be about 15 by now. I lived in my friend's granny flat for a couple of years - over 10 years ago now. She got the dog while I lived there and I then got my dog Luna. The two became inseparable. They were such a funny couple. Because no one ever walked the JRT, I started taking her out with us. Which meant I had to also give her some basic training. Her owners didn't know anything about dogs and they treated her quite badly at that time. She was a very confused little dog.
My methods were probably more Dog Whisperer back then, but I managed to get a fairly reliable recall from her and she slowly but surely learnt to trust me.
Ever since then I am her favourite person in the world. Her owner still jokes that when I arrive, no one else exists for the dog. And her owners did start treating her better eventually, I must clarify. She ended up having a litter of pups, nearly died in the process, Luna helped raise the 2 surviving pups, they had heaps of adventures together (used to disappear on me when there were rabbits about, the little bastards) and for both Luna and the JRT they were the best years of their lives. After I moved out, I still regularly picked the JRT up for walks and when I moved to another suburb, I occasionally had her for sleepovers and would then take her rabbit chasing with Luna before I brought her home.
All this intro to say, she holds a very special place in my heart, especially as she survived Luna, who was the bestest friend she ever had. And mine. And then today, for the first time ever, she did not recognise me when I walked through the gate. She didn't remember Banjo and she was frightened when she saw us. She must be almost completely deaf because she did not react to my voice at all. It was only when I managed to slowly approach her and let her sniff my hand that she finally realised who I was and wagged her bum (docked tail) and licked me. She looks so old and frail now and so very beautiful with the tan on her head gone almost completely grey. I think it may have been the last time I see her. And I feel privileged that I got to give her cuddles.
When she dies, it will bring back the sadness of losing Luna too. It will be the end of an era. And over a decade worth of beautiful memories.