Did I tell you that poor old Toby died in 2021 aged 21? He was a grand old dog and a great friend to us. His former owner, Jim, lived along the road here and because of his ill health he asked us to take in Toby. An Old English Sheepdog / Collie cross, Toby was about eight years old and a very timid creature when he came to live with us. He was frightened by many things but especially people throwing or bouncing balls or holding large sticks. When I pickked up the poker to riddle the fire, poor old Toby would cringe and it took awhile for him to understand that my action wasn't a threat to him. Over the years he relaxed, helped by regular meals, love and a warm stove to curl up beside. His passing brought us many tears but also many happy memories and we still talk about his adventures.
After some time I felt that the energy of our grief could be channeled in a good direction so we talked about homing a new dog. I looked on-line at various dog adoption sites until my eye fell upon a Labrador cross Collie pup in County Tipperary. I showed the photo to Jane and her eyes brightened. A phone call was made and questions answered until we had an address and a date to meet the pup. The journey was almost torturous, as it took us up steep, hilly and narrow roads with sharp bends. We persevered and eventually arrived at a Hill Farm in darkest Tipperary to meet with the Farmer who had the pups in the shed of a neighbour on deeply filled straw floor. Half a dozen pups scampered around and I pointed out the one that we wanted and the farmer scooped him up into his arms and carried him down to the car.
We named him Seánie after a great friend of ours, Seán Gilmartin, who had passed away very nearly the day on which Seánie was born at Halloween. I am no stranger to dogs and have had quite a few of them, however, Seánie being mainly a Labrador in nature as well in looks was a bit of a handful! More than once I threatened to send him to the Dogs' Home. Fortunately this did not happen as slowly over time his behaviour has greatly improved and thus our fondness for him is now of a great magnitude! I'm so glad he is our pup, part of the family and the best boy in the world.