RIP Dougie Dec 2007 –September 2020
On the 19th March 2008 Dougie came into our lives. Adopted from the RSPCA at 12 weeks of age. He was a robust pup built like a breeze block!! Described as a Springer Spaniel we always maintained he had Sussex in him.
It was clear from the start this chap was going to be a very big character and have a marked effect on our lives and on my business . He came into the home with 7 established dogs including a big GSD who didn’t take kindly to the new addition. Dougie soon sussed him out. He kept his head down and his nose clean and stayed out of trouble.
At home he was a challenge initially. His recall was not good. The first time off lead he disappeared over the horizon only to reappear again 5 minutes later with a big grin on his face. We lost him on Exmoor once. So time was spent on a long line until he began to stick around. From that point on he as our shadow. Loving nothing better than hunting in the rough ground oh and digging.
It was Dougie who sent me down the path of more complex and in depth Gundog training and was the start of our highly successful format for Fun Gundog training. He did work on a shoot for a season but sadly he became gunshy so he would wait at home and tell Basil or Winnie off when they returned instead.
He learnt to work alongside members of my human team using his skills to help us in our work with reactive dogs. . He went on to be the most amazing stooge dog I have ever had the pleasure of working with. At the time I was advisory behaviourist for Exeter and Cornwall RSPCA. Dougie helped endless streams of stressed traumatised and worried dogs over that time. He taught me so much.
Every one fell in love with Dougie. All our children fell for his woeful face asking for a cuddle. He had a habit of sitting on your feet just to make sure he was not forgotten. He had accepted grandchildren into the fold .He allowed visiting dogs to stay without any nonsense but they all knew not to mess with Dougie. In his latter years he became more belligerent at home but we all forgave him.
Most importantly he was a very loyal companion dog for myself and for Mark. He accompanied us on numerous holidays and always wanted to be with us. He came to work with me daily, sharing his space with whichever waif and stray had joined the team. He was Ronnies duvet and Winnies best friend.
All our animals are special but Dougie was one who will leave a gaping hole in our lives despite having 4 eager companions still following us round.
He had been slowing down . I retired him from stooge work about a year ago. He didn’t suffer I hope too much as the end came suddenly upon us and a need to make that awful decision. It was the last thing we could do for this wonderful dog.
Sleep tight darling boy.