I have some super lovely memories of Bill Gardiner, the wet-nosed part beagle, part other who died yesterday after a long life of sniffing, biting, barking, drooling and generally living a dog’s life.
When we got Bill I was so little that he could rest his front paws on my shoulders. We got him from a farm, after what seemed like months of going to the RSPCA to look at poor little dogs in cages.
His previous owners had named him Dave, which is my dad’s name, so we had to change it because as mum joked – what would the neighbours think when we called out telling him to get ready to go for a walk or eat his dinner from a bowl?
I desperately wanted him to be called Ranger Dave, or Ranger for short, because at the time I was a big fan of the animal show Totally Wild. Thank god I didn’t succeed.
Bill went missing one night when there were fireworks near our house and I remember we went looking for him in the car, most of us teary. He would often escape in the first days of being a Gardiner and would harrass female dogs in nearby yards. When he got fixed, he became more of an old man who would definitely wear velour slippers.
Bill could sense how you were feeling a lot of the time. I remember lots of tantrums and teen angst moments in the backyard when Bill would come and sit down next to me and force his head under my arm. He shamelessly loved belly rubs, eating, napping and running after rabbits. He was so sweet and I’ll really miss him and his little antenna tail.