Earliest Memory

My dog…

I had a beautiful dog when I was a child. She was a purebred Basset Hound and I loved her very much. She was my first companion and we would go everywhere together.

My earliest memory is of her, when I was around 3 years of age.
We lived in a small town in the country, surrounded by fruit orchards.

I think I have always been that kid that wanders off, fearless and ready to explore the world.
On this particular day I began by heading across the road and into the fruit orchard, I was following my dog. She was around 3 or so metres in front of me and every now and then she would stop, turn around and sit down to wait for me to catch up.
She was known for being a wandering dog… so we had that in common (wandering, not the dog part) which is probably why we were such good friends.

I don’t remember my mother coming to find me. I don’t know where we ended up or how far we got… its a nice memory all the same because I knew even then when I was 3 years old that my dog cared about me and I was her friend as she was mine.

When I got to be 6 or 7 years old we had to move to another town.  In the transition period we had to stay in a house that didn’t allow dogs. My dog had to go and live somewhere else for a time until we found a house where we could have her back.

We eventually did find somewhere that was dog friendly and I asked my mother right away if I could have my dog back now, she always told me no, not yet… and never gave me a reason why.
Years passed and as they did I would ask my mother constantly when could I have my dog back…

Finally when I was eleven years old she told me the horrible truth. No, I could never have my dog back.
My dog had been sent to live with a farmer way back when we first moved. The farmer did not like that my dog wandered off all the time and having discovered some livestock that had been attacked he blamed my dog for it and killed her with a shot-gun immediately.
She had died only a few months after we had first moved and for all those years I had truly believed that one day I was actually going to see my friend again, I would have my loyal companion back by my side once more.

I felt heartbroken, absolutely crushed and dismayed. Most of all I felt utterly betrayed by my mother for withholding that information over the years, for letting me believe and hope that I would see my dog again.
I know she probably did it to protect me, but I guess at some point she realised that I was never going to stop asking to have my dog back.
Trust is so easily lost when an adult lies to a child to “protect” them.

That is not the first time I experienced loss but it does go deep… I have never really liked dogs as pets since then, I don’t know if what happened back then is the reason for that but I guess it could be. She was an awesome dog and a part of me will always mourn her loss.

These days I’m more of a crazy cat lady (without the crazy part though haha).


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