Bruno, My Very Special Friend. How Much I miss You.
Of all the dog's in all the world I am so glad you chose me. It is three long years since Bruno passed away, and I have never been able to talk or write about him since. In fact, I may or may not finish this hub, as my sense of loss still overwhelms me. Every animal who has ever owned me, Bruno is the most special.
I had just lost my special companion Wolf, a German Shepherd Dog whom I had adopted from a friend whose marriage had broken up. I vowed, as we all do, that I would have no more dogs as I was placing Wolf's headstone in the back garden, over looking the fields and surrounding countryside. You see Wolf had been a challenge, as it was originally believed he would need to be put to sleep unless the army or police took him for training. 12 years later I was at his burial, saying my last fair well to a very trusted friend.
I grieved so much, I had saved a clump of Wolfs hair in a tissue that I kept under my pillow when I went to sleep at night. My ex husband, not really known for his sentimentality, announced that we were taking a drive to Co Roscommon in Eire. A journey of two hours or more, to view a litter of German Shepherd Pups. Having spoken to the breeders, Glenn had been told that only one bitch and one dog remained.
I was adament that I wanted no more dogs, not even a small one, but I would go along for the ride and to keep Glenn company. As we approached the breeders, a huge German Shepherd Dog approached the car. He was enormous, a huge mass of black flowing hair and teeth the size of a lions. A cheerful voice shouted "Hello there, meet Beau, Mr Beau Jangles to his adoring public, don't let the size bother you he only eats little boys for breakfast." This huge elephant of a dog jumped up at the car and towered above it, he must have been at least 6' tall on his back legs. Sure enough, barking and tails wagging from an enclosed pen at the side of the house stood two beautiful German Shepherd Pups. The bitch was already starting to colour out, but the dog, much quieter, was a mass of jet black fluff. I studied them both with a non comital attitude. My husband decided to take the dog. As he was black all over and the breeders thought there was little chance of him colouring out, hence he was £100.00 cheaper.
The drive home was eventful, the little mass of fluff insisting to try and sit on my knee, crying and whining the entire drive home. I was not feeling any way inclined to accept this pup. Although the pup instantly bonded with the rest of the family, I kept my distance, but the little pup followed me everywhere. I don't know how many times I almost fell over him, pushing him away from the horses stables and trying to leave him in the back porch. One afternoon I found him sitting on top of Wolf's grave, feeling instant anger I don't know how I stopped myself grabbing him by the collar and fastening him in a stable. As I approached him, his ears upright on his head, it was as if he was giving me a crooked smile. I almost believed that Wolf had chosen him in his place to make me happy again.
Oh dear there were so many days of frustration trying to train Bruno, whose attention span was that of a knat. He had the most unbelievable stubborn streak, and not like any other dog I had known, hated going for a walk. Try as I might, I was often the laughing point of many a car driver who waved at me trying to carry, what was now getting to be a big dog. At six months old, Bruno started to get the familiar tan coloured eyebrows and gradually over the following months, he did colour out. He grew into the most handsome dog I had ever seen. And, those laughing drivers now stopped to admire him and became his fan club. Bruno was fantastic natured with children. My son Craig used to dress him up, pull his tail and pretend he was a cow to herd him down the road into the field. He did have a quirky personality, often escaping the confines of the garden to visit the neighbours, especially if a new calf had been born, the neighbours knew to expect a visit from Bruno to give the new born it's first once over.
Bruno rode in the car to collect the children from school. He strutted his stuff playing football in the school playing field, and was the first to appear if any tumbles had taken place, lying gently next to the poor child crying.
His coat shone the most ebony shades of black, like a rainbow a glittering shimmering mass of colour. He protected the entire family. Slept on the bed with my godfather, who was thankfully slightly built and short. Bruno now weighing 81/2 stone could not be shifted. He lay under Craig's cot and as Craig got older they shared a very special bond, Bruno the protector, ever by his side.
As for me, that dog knew my every move. He knew if I was sad and would chase his tail, no mean fete for such a big dog, to make me laugh. He would bring his lead when the sun shone bright, but lay by the umbrella stand if it rained. When we visited the agricultural shows, he lay at my back, like a new born lamb does with it's mother. And whilst we walked he was forever at my side.
My relationship with Bruno was unique. As he got older he became stiffer and greyer. But he kept his loyalty no matter how hard the day became for him.
He was twelve now, and I noticed one day that he was going off his food and was straining to go to the toilet. He looked very sad and forlorn, but still insisted on his 4 mile a day walk with me. I was never allowed to go alone. I decided to take him to the vet.
After examination of his swollen stomach the vet dropped the news that Bruno had prostrate cancer. I was devastated. "You have two choices Annette, you can take him home for another week, spoil him and spend time with him. However, you must be made aware that if this tumour bursts you could find him lying in a pool of his own blood. Or you can have him put to sleep now". Realization dawned that really I had only one choice, to be brave and let my beautiful friend go.
I walked him around the garden at the back of the vets after she had given him a sedative, until his legs began to struggle under his weight. The tears cascaded down my cheeks soaking the collar of my jumper. Every part of my body screamed NOOOOO! I can't do this but my mind remained strong and faithful, determined to support my best friend. As I lay beside him, holding his head in my arms, I struggled to take a breath. I didn't want to sob. I stifled all my cries and buried my face in Bruno's neck. He lay very still and became limp in my arms, I let go of his head and it lay limp at my side, no signs of love in his eyes. He was gone. I lay there with him, sobbing, screaming, not caring what anyone thought, this was my time to say goodbye to my companion. I slowly removed his collar from around his neck and found the strength to say "thank you" to the vet.
For days I wandered aimlessly around. Although we by then had Bouncer the Magnificent, I couldn't bring myself to stroke or pay any attention to him. I couldn't walk the same route as I had walked with Bruno, feeling desperate that I had let him down. I went back to work and tried to console myself, tried very hard to keep a brave face, whilst crying silently inside. Suddenly I felt a waft of air down my legs, I was walking beside the freezers, I instinctivly reached out my hand to rub the beautiful strong head looking round at me. Brunos tail was wagging, a trot in his step, and a reassurance in his eye that he would never leave my side.
His collar, like Lady's sits on my headboard and for many weeks I was comforted by the smell of him, and like Lady, I had him cremated and his urn in on my sideboard. I wanted to bury him in the garden in the spot he liked the best, but still I can't bring myself to do it.
There is still, and always will be a void in my life that refuses to be filled. I worshipped you Bruno and I always will. My friend this has been the hardest piece I have ever written, and with the tears again today I will wait until we meet again.