It's all about Suffolk: Lesley Dolphin
PUBLISHED: 13:59 26 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:45 20 February 2013
When a older pet gives cause for concern and memories of those long-ago school holidays
We had a big scare a fewweeks ago when ourmuch loved dog,Satsuma, was poorly so poorly that we had tocall the vet at 6 am. Thank goodness,after painkillers and a few daysconvalescence (and a big bill) Satsumais now back to full health and enjoyinglife... which at 15 years old is prettygood for a dog!
I know Satsuma is an odd name for apet, but he came to us at a year old andit seemed mean to rename him at thatstage. He is a Blue Cross rescue dogfrom Felixstowe and had already beenrejected from at least a couple of homesbefore he came to us in 1997. He is aCollie cross Jack Russell and looksrather like a sheepdog with very shortlegs and has the traits of both breeds given half a chance he would round uppassing motorbikes and he is a dabhand sorry paw at catching mice.
We had been living together inIpswich for around six months when wedecided we would like a dog, or at least Ipersuaded Mark and Tom and John thatwe needed a pet. I have grown up withvarious mutts... Juno was a neuroticgolden cocker spaniel and the firstanimal I remember us having when Iwas around eight years old.
Then therewere Henry and George, both blackLabradors, and when I first got marriedbefore we had children, we got aspringer spaniel called Raki. (Bonuspoints for you if you know where thatname comes from!)
I can still remember the day we allwent to the Blue Cross centre to see ifthey had a best friend for us. We agreedwe did not want a big dog as he wouldbe living in town and so they broughtout this fluffy, hairy, wild eyed creature.I gather they bathed and blow dried himso he would look beautiful for us something he absolutely hates thesedays.
Once Satsuma had dragged us fora walk he decided that he would adoptus and fortunately we agreed, so acouple of weeks later, after a homecheck and lessons in how to look after apet that may have been ill treated hecame to live with us.
It didnt take us long to discover that,although he was a year old, Satsumaalready had some pet baggage. He wasabsolutely petrified when any menvisitors popped by so much so that hewould wet himself; he had obviouslybeen hit at some stage in his life. Hedidnt know how to mix with other dogsand even now, whenever a dog boundsup to play, he is frightened.
There wasone day when we were stepping out forour usual morning walk when hestarted to cower and shake and it tookme a few seconds to realise he waspetrified of the person walking towardsus with an umbrella.
Although it wasnt always easy takingon a rescue dog, I am so glad we did ashe has given us 14 years of wonderfulexperiences. Of the holiday in Waleswhen he wouldnt stop running throughrock pools, or the tricks he can dowithout us ever teaching him (hedoes a very good meerkatimpersonation and is anexcellent snail hunter).
Healso won our house mousecatching competition (Tomand I got two each in ourtraps but Sats caught three!)Owning a dog has also been a licenceto meet and make friends, its likebelonging to an elite club over theyears I have walked and chatted withlots of other dog owners on the localheath. Satsuma and I go out before Ihead off for work come rain or shine, soI also get to hear the birds sing, see thebeautiful frosts on the trees and evendelight in a water vole that makes theoccasional appearance.
So we are mightily relieved thatSatsuma is now better and we have a bitmore time to spend with our faithfulhound. Its calculated that each dog lifeis equivalent to seven human years andso, as that makes Satsuma 105, I ammaking the most of every walk I takehim on and every wag of his tail whenhe welcomes us home.
Summer is here and with it thenightmare of child care. Dont getme wrong I loved being with mychildren when they were little but theprospect of seven whole weeks to keepeveryone entertained and happy can berather intimidating so sympathies ifyou are making your plans at themoment.
When the boys were little oneof our favourite haunts was ClareCountry Park. We would also visit theforest at Rendlesham or Brandon, go tothe water meadows in Sudbury or makea trip to the coast.Suffolk has some wonderful sandybeaches at Lowestoft and Thorpenessand its amazing how a simple bucketand spade can keep children occupiedfor hours.
I didnt spend long preparingthe picnic I just cooked up sausagesand bunged them in a flask.Sandwiched in a roll withtomato sauce, the boysthought they were the heightof cuisine! Oh happymemories.... have a lovelysummer.