This post has been a while coming and whilst I had hoped it would be a short and succinct couple of paragraphs, I will apologise now for the story it is likely to become.
I have um'd and ah'd over whether I was going to write anything at all, but I feel it would be remiss of me to let the moment pass without some words.
Bob has gone.
31st March 2011 - 2nd July 2019 ...
and in the time between July and now, I have so many friends that have also lost family, companions and loved ones, both four legged and two legged, and all have left us far too soon. To them I send my love, understanding and take a moment to say, gone but never forgotten.
Bob was the reason for many things in my life, and when I sat down to write this I had to go through that awful moment when your heart lurches, your throat tightens and your eyes sting as memories take hold... and then, if you can just hang in there and ride that initial wave of grief, the wracking sobs and bogey bubbles subside and, for want of any better words, "I can see clearly now the rain has gone" - the bright shiny happy times coming bounding to the fore.
I could write story after story about our adventures up and down the country from Dorset to Yorkshire and beyond in our attempt to find a place to call home, but these have all been told before and the short story is we settled on the edge of the Moors in South Yorkshire with Andrew and his unruly crew of cockers and labradors - Bob was never much one for a cocker, much preferred them gently chewed, but he learnt tolerance and that the sofa was the safest place to be.
To chart our brief course through history - Bob arrived - we went Gundog Training (and here I will mention Tracy @ Corbinsbere Gundogs who managed to turn a less than novice who turned up for spaniel training with a retriever, and a young black lab into a team that could pick a pheasant the other side of a flooded river with a team of guns watching !!! ... and all the girls that shared the journey, training in the raining and being yelled at for talking to much *heart*) - The days when it was in fact spaniel class and I didn't take Bob I would take the camera - To working tests, one with Bob, the rest with the camera - shoot days, with Bob and the Camera - to a new life on the Moors - Grouse Dog Bob and the Camera - you get the theme.
Bob + Camera = Dog and Fieldsports Photographer. Simple
The last year things changed, Bob was diagnosed with Bone Cancer and had a massive growth that was slowly invading his chest space causing various issues. With the help of the fantastic team at Calder Vets and our lovely friend Laura, we had a good idea of what to expect and how to manage it. We watched and waited, ever vigilant for "that moment" when enough is enough- but in true Bob fashion he still wanted out across the moors and continued to obsess about tennis balls - so we kept on with all the things he loved right up until that day when he did let us know.
And then that moment as a dog owner, well in fact any pet/animal owner, that you dread, when you have to take the decision that you know is right but means a black hole the other side.
No black dog hairs on the sofa, no chewed tennis balls, no thumping tail. No Bob.
And now, whilst the Bob size hole continues to catch both Andrew and I unawares, the memories are bright and happy, bog dog bob, the toilet roll muncher, and Indy's best mate, are the ways we remember him.
The thousands of pictures we have of him stand testament to our photographic journey - from out of focus puppy shots to capturing him retrieving his first grouse and beyond - these we will take the time to work through and put together in a book. Bobs Book.
Bob, we had such a short time - but you changed my life in more ways than either of us could have imagined. We hope you have found Indy and Spike and that the gang are back together.
We miss you x
P.S - Dottie has taken over your role as top of the stairs lurker and toilet roll muncher - you taught her well xxx