November arrived with our household feeling very sad this year. On 31st October we lost our beloved Brewster, our little border terrier who lived to the incredible age of 19 years and 7 months.
Many of you know that dogs are central to my life, especially border terriers, and especially our border terriers! I love to cosy up on the sofa with them, have them warm my feet whilst I am busy working in the office, and we all love to go out for walks. (Well, if I’m honest, Douglas, our 9-year-old, isn’t so keen on the walking, but he used to love to ride with Brewster in his buggy).
Brewster’s death has hit us all very hard. We have cried rivers of tears and talked about so many special memories of our time together with him.
I don’t want this blog post just to be about sadness though. That would not reflect Brewster and his life. He wasn’t a sad boy. He was a boy filled with love and a zest for life. He was a boy who taught us so much about trust, love, acceptance and so much more.
Brewster came to live with us from Border Terrier Welfare when he was 15 and a half. Sadly, his first owner was no longer able to look after him. The moment I saw his little face on the Border Terrier Welfare appeal to find him a home, I knew, deeply knew, that we had to give him the best end to his life we possibly could. In that moment my intuition took hold and I called Stacey, the lady who was caring for him on behalf of Border Terrier Welfare and heading up the search for his future owner. I had no thoughts about his age, his state of health or what caring for an elderly gentleman would entail. I just knew we loved him and wanted to love him for ever.
5 days later, Brewster arrived. From that very moment we began learning the most beautiful lessons from our little man. Firstly, and most importantly, was that we love the deepest when we love without limitations. We had no idea how long we would have Brewster for before he died. He was already an elderly gent when he came to us, but he loved and trusted us so deeply from the moment he arrived that it was impossible not to reciprocate. Our love was present, in the moment. And it was beautiful and joyful. We didn’t hold back because he didn’t hold back. Thank goodness our minds didn’t jump to a future of losing him. I’m sure the fear of the pain of loss would have got in the way of falling so deeply in love with him.
The months passed by, and we lost sight of a time when Brew hadn’t been in our lives. He had always been with us – we just hadn’t always known. This was a love we had always had within us which was unleashed when we met him. We had holidays together on the beach and in the mountains. He always came out and about with us. We sought out places which were ‘buggy-friendly’ so he could always be a part of the adventure. Doug snuggled in the buggy with him whenever he could, and Beau trotted happily alongside. He was such a wonderful part of our family.
Of course, at times, our minds created fear around losing him, yet nothing would stop us loving him without limits. The joy of love was so much greater than the fear of loss.
I cannot describe the pain of his death. I am sure many of you will know all too well the anguish of loss. And still, I would not change a thing. No amount of pain could ever extinguish the love we shared with Brew. How could it? The pain is a reflection of the depth of love, which will stay in our hearts forever.
And as the days pass, little by little, the pain is joined by wonderful memories which arise within us. And we smile. And we laugh. And then we cry all over again. And all of it is as it must be. All feelings come. All feelings pass, but the love is unwavering in its beauty and presence.
Two weeks ago, we had a call from Stacey again. She had a little girl, Peanut, who needed a family to love her again. 2-year-old Peanut arrived in a whirlwind of exuberant youth. We love her every bit as deeply as we love Brewster and Doug and Beau. She hasn’t filled Brewster’s place in our hearts. He remains forever. Instead, she has carved out her own special place of love and joy. You see, that is the most wonderful thing about love – we have an endless capacity. The more we love, the more love is available. What a wonderful system!
With November love from our home to yours. Sarah xx
Look out for future blogs about the marvellous lessons Brewster taught us.