Our dear Hardy said goodbye to us last Friday.
He loved everyone he met and greeted them with a friendly bark and a lazy wag of the tail. But his boredom threshold was pretty low and he would be very happy to allow his big brother, Hubbell, to take over and expend all his energies on the final greetings whilst he had a rest. His young brother, Floyd, had since taken on that responsibility, much to Hardy’s relief. He was also a great guard dog and loved nothing more than to bark at any stranger who stood at the door but was very happy to relinquish that role once they were over the threshold and go back to his snooze.
Hardy very rarely became over excited unless you had a fit of the giggles. He seemed to love happy people and would become quite animated and energetic for a short while before he lay back down again to take a rest. As a young boy he was slightly more energetic and would chase anything that moved – sheep, stags in Richmond Park (much to our horror) and squirrels. When we lived next to the park he was obsessed by the cats that teased him by walking on the 10ft wall of the garden and would often spend all evening outside in the hope of a tasty morsel of cat. Of course, he never caught a thing. Even at Broyle, where our rabbit sanctuary took on epic proportions, our little man would hover over the rabbit warren in the hope of a tasty baby rabbit or two rather than chase a faster one (much to my horror, he was more than successful at this strategy). His greatest love of exercise, other than his daily walks, was perhaps his favourite – swimming. But he preferred the calm waters of a lake or river to the choppy sea, as that would have demanded more exertion. Our boy was all about conserving energy.
Hardy absolutely loved little people and was a gentle giant when he was with them, tolerating any over-exuberance, including tail pulling and using him as an armchair. His calm, laid back nature made him a great companion for us all and was a constant source of comfort in times of trouble. He never ceased to surprise us with his sensitivity and love when the going got tough. If he knew we were sad he would literally try and jump on our lap to make it better.
In his later years, as his old back legs began to fail him, he never lost any of his wonderful, courageous spirit and would always be enthusiastic to have his morning walk, even if he wasn’t so keen on the second one of the day. He loved his acupuncture sessions which seemed to give him some relief and would more often than not fall asleep with 15 or so needles stuck in various parts of his anatomy. That was our boy.
Rest in peace our little man ..............