In 1994 my parents brought home a dog; Blacky. He was one and a half years old, a crossbreed between a black labrador and a German Shepperd. Within moments I, seven years old then, was playing with him in our garden with an old tennis ball. With this proof that he was good with kids, the decision was made by my parents to keep him.
But even that day, we got the suspicion he hadn't been treated very well in his old home. He would startle badly if you touched him when he didn't see it coming and he was deadly afraid of water, so we think he was punished by being hosed down with cold water. Not to mention his fear of abandoment. All of this, except his fear of water, got better with time, but that didn't help us in the beginning.
The day after we got Blacky, we were going to visit my uncle T. and his family in Noord-Brabant, which was a good two hour drive. We would stay there all day and then go back. We decided to take Blacky, as we didn't want to leave him alone all day just yet. So, in the car he went, grudginly, I might add.
What the poor dog must've been thinking we'll never know, but I can make an educated guess. He was terrified and probably thought we were going to bring him back to his first home. He stuck like glue to my father all day. My father moved one step left, Blacky moved one step left. It would've been funny if it hadn't been so sad.
But, as with all things, once he started trusting us, it got better. And then his mischievous side emerged. He did things like stealing the cake of a plate with all kinds of snacks. Just the cake, mind you, he'd carefully nosed the other treats aside!
Also, one time a little piece of raisin bread was left over. My Mom had placed it, wrapped in a plastic sandwich bag, on a low shelf in the kitchen. We placed stuff there all the time, and never had any problems. That evening, my mother asked my father why he couldn't have thrown the wrapping away if he ate the last piece of bread. While she was berating him, Blacky very slowly snuck out of the room. Well, nobody had to ask who the real perp was!
Christmas 2005 was the beginning of the end. He stood up and swaggered, almost falling several times. It was like he'd had a stroke. He was still a bit sick the next day, but soon after he was better. Age had made him slow, but he was twelve by then, quite old for a dog.
Everything seemed to be fine, until May 2006. My final exams were just finished when the trouble started. He kept throwing up and hardly ate. He was truly as sick as a dog and my parents took him to the vet. The verdict was that there was something wrong with his kidneys and that the best thing to do was euthanase him. The last day, we fed him everything he liked, like cheese and liver and french fries. He threw it all up, but at least he ate something. I said goodbye at home and then my parents took him to the vet.
Sometimes I still miss him, but I can honestly say I do not miss going out in the rain for a walk! He was a good friend, a good companion and he gave me many years of joy. I never would've wanted to miss it for the world.