On the morning of 23 December 2017, Muriel called me to the kitchen because Harry
As soon as the vet put Harry on the table, she turned to me and said “he’s gone”.
There seemed to be no specific reason. The vets ‘best guess’ was that he probably had a
The previous day, he had been walking with David in the morning and with me in the
When the vet said he had gone, I didn’t think things could get worse but they have. Silly,
Harry ….. no longer will you come and gently nuzzle me in the morning to get me out of bed and, when that has failed,
No longer will I sit at breakfast with you on my left hand and waiting to trip me when I move.
No longer will you sit patiently and help me when I am at the computer
No longer will I have you coming up onto my lap to remind me it’s time for a walk
Never again will we have the little test of wills about jumping into the car to go for our walk
Never again will I see you sprinting up to complete strangers and their dogs to say “hallo” in your very gentle, friendly way.
Never did I hear an angry word from you to dogs or people, you were so special.
Oh Harry why did you have to die?
Sandie said. "I've given this boy the name of Theo in honour of the Springer who died of a broken heart when his friend was killed.
Theo was fostered in Nottingham by Karen who said. "Theo is a lovely dog who would be suited to a family life or at least another dog. He is very shy when he first meets people. He pulls like a train but is being walked on a harness which seems to be working slowly. He is smart and learns very quickly."
UPDATE 23 MAY 2011
We handed over Theo to his new home yesterday. Malcom and Muriel were lovely people and will dote on Theo a lot.
Whilst sitting, he began to create a bond with Malcom which was really nice to see. He jumped straight into the back of their car and seemed very happy.
Malcolm said. "On the way home, we had a break at Calke Abbey and a little walk. Theo was tethered to the car on a 15m lead whilst we picnicked and I found he ignored his name when walking away but he responded immediately to the whistle, that was very positive. In the pic below, he is tethered and showing keen interest in a young family (about 6 and 8).
He didn't seem keen to venture far from the house so we explored the garden together and you can see him asleep after being at home for about 90 min! He was shown to sit and wait before taking his evening meal and this morning he did the same with little prompting. We had supper on small tables in the sitting room and without prompting he retired to his bed in the kitchen whilst we ate. At bed time he was left in the kitchen and we did not hear a thing from him all night.
This morning we have been to the woods, he certainly does walk badly on the lead, better on controlled 15m lead, we will get a harness for him. But teaching him to walk seems to be his only issue, he is a lovely friendly dog. All in all we have had a good start and we are very favourably impressed.
UPDATE 11 JUNE
Theo is now Harry and he has been at his forever home for just over two weeks now and we have found him to be a delight. Initially he was very hard work on the lead and pulled very hard even with a harness. However, for the last week we have been using a Halti which has completely transformed our walks and he now understands 'heel'.
He is really well behaved in the house and has been no problem. He sleeps on his own at night, no noise or fuss. We left him for about an hour with a good neighbour listening for him without event. He is well behaved when taking his meals and will sit and wait until he is told to 'take it' (the pic of him looking at a door is the door that his new mum appears through with his meal).
It will probably not come as a surprise that his appetite is good and we have not had any tummy upsets! Surprisingly he does not play with any toys, even when encouraged, he is disinterested in chasing (done somewhat reluctantly) and retrieving balls and he does not want to carry things, but we will try to teach him usual retriever tricks over time.
In the mornings we walk for about an hour or so. I work with a combination of his harness and lead so that matters are controlled and also with a 15m rope lead. I play this out so that he has the opportunity to sniff around and do doggy things. From time to time I recall him, whilst still on the rope and he responds well returning without my pulling on the lead. I allow him to get away and turn down a different path, hide out of immediate sight by bushes and he responds very quickly to my whistle and call of 'come'. My only problem was that he will rush off to see other dogs, or those that come to greet him, however using a Halti I am able to control him easily under these circumstances. He is not aggressive just very friendly and wanting to play. Without the restriction of the lead, and running free I am confident he would be fine but that is a bit in the future.
In the afternoon we have been working for about half an hour in the garden on the lead with heel work, sit and stay and recall off the lead. He responds well to all of these so we have now graduated to do this sort of work on open fields where there is the distraction of doggie smells and occasionally other dogs and it goes very well.
When there was a hedgehog in the garden our last retriever would put his nose about 6" from the hedgehog and right to the ground and bark with his bum in the air. Harry however has been seen following at a respectful 18", grand to watch.
The configuration of buildings is lightly unusual insofar as a neighbours window opens over our garden. Our previous dogs, Angus and Bob would sit and stare at the window until rewarded with a titbit. Much to my surprise Harry was seen sitting under the window without any prompting. Some little time after my noting this our neighbour phoned to ask if it would be OK to give him a treat! Spooky or what, had Angus left him a message?"
Am I settling in or taking over?
UPDATE 12 JULY 2011
Malcolm writes, “I have hardly been able to contain myself over the last few weeks! Harry really has settled in well. Apart from a walk of about 100yds to and from the car, he is off lead all the time now (we don’t do street walking). He waits to enter and leave the car and does a perfect ‘sit’ and ‘down’. He walks well on the Halti without pulling, so very soon we are going to a straight lead to collar to see if his response is just as positive.
He is making lots of new friends on his walks – both human and canine! What has impressed me is that he will approach another dog at 100mph, but if the dog isn’t interested in playing Harry will just have a gentle sniff. If playing is on the cards, then he’ll romp around at high speed but still respond well when called.
When he first came he was reluctant to go far from the house, now he is outside most of the day enjoying the garden. His response to me when off-lead during a walk is wonderful and I’m happy to see him exploring away from the set pathways and going out of sight as I now have confidence he will return when called.
Have also had to put my foot down quite firmly and tell him he can’t have his own channel changer!!
IRR have certainly made two humans (and I hope one dog) very happy – at the risk of repeating myself, he is the perfect companion.”