Heartache and hope

I lost Dylan on October 10th 2019. There I’ve said it. Although these seven words cannot begin to describe the grief, the pain, the heartache.

Someone once said to me “She’ll break your heart one day” and yes she did – though I didn’t expect it to be so soon.

The days and weeks after losing Dylan were a blur of grief. You know that thing where you wake up after finally falling asleep, and for the first thirty seconds all is well.Then BAM ! It hits you. All is not well and nothing will ever be the same again.

Dylan with her most favourite thing in the world

Well that’s how it was. My little sniffle snuffler, my partner in crime wasn’t there anymore and I didn’t know how to get over losing her. I missed the sound of her padding behind me, I missed the noises she made when she was murdering a favourite toy, I missed her barking with joy as she did zoomies. I just missed her. My world became silent.

For a long time, I couldn’t bear to look at photos and videos of Dylan. It was just too painful. I did watch the moving tribute video from USA Stinkeye with Dylan and all the other beautiful Welshies that had been lost – some like Dylan at the beginning of their lives with adventures ahead that would sadly never happen. Others who had reached great ages – but young or old, you knew the grief and heartache would be the same.

I had so many kind messages from Welshie staff all over the world . They really were a comfort. And over the months, many of these kind people continued to check in with me. Particular thanks go to Susan Ann Hart, Karen Kelly Blanchfied, and Michelle Fuoco – your messages spookily always appeared at times I needed them most.

And of course, Moira Swindell, whose little ones Harley and Wiglet were the reasons I fell in love with Welshies.

As time went on, I was able to look at my photos of my gorgeous girl. Gradually, I was able to look at Welsh Terrier Facebook sites. Posts that made me smile or sometimes made me cry.

But posts about one new Welshie puppy always made me smile or laugh out loud. This puppy was lively, naughty and oh so cute. Watching him run around with his big sister made my day. And watching this tousled haired little monster made me start to think that one day I would be ready to love a Welshie again.

Paddy and Poppy Pursey with thanks to Tim Pursey

That was a breakthrough moment. So thank you Tim, Poppy and Paddy Pursey as little did you know then that your posts helped me start to heal.

And so eight months after losing Dylan, I knew I couldn’t not have a Welshie in my life. Not to replace Dyls as nothing ever could. But a Welshie who would be her own puppy, bring new experiences and be loved just as much.

Enter the puppy godmother. The remarkable and very kind Sioned Darlington. What she doesn’t know about Welshies isn’t worth knowing. Apart from her gorgeous pair Iolo and Tegid, Sioned has also bred some very lively beautiful puppies – you’ve probably seen them on the Welsh Terrier fb pages.

Now, Sioned is connected. Actually, I should probably rephrase that, as it sounds a bit Mafia-ish!

Sioned knew of a litter that timing wise could work out and gave the breeder assurances about me – and quite right too – these are precious pups – and put me in touch with the breeder.

Which is why in August I drove to Wales to meet the wonderful Debbie Parry and spend an hour in puppy heaven meeting my little girl and her three brothers. Warm and welcoming, within a few minutes of meeting Debbie you feel as if you have known her for years. Sitting on her kitchen floor with four Welshie puppies crawling on my lap was sheer bliss! And in a meant to be twist, my little girl is Paddy Pursey’s half sister.

Puppy heaven

First cuddle with my baby girl

But here’s where the story takes a turn.

Naming a new pupster is a serious business. I gave Dylan a boys name as after meeting her, I knew a girls name wouldn’t fit this boisterous tomboy. After meeting this little one, I had a few ideas about names but was undecided. A long conversation with my friend Sue ensued. We’d been friends for over 20 years. Sue was thrilled I was getting a new baby. She made plans to come with me to pick the little one up. She was full of ideas of adventures we would have along with her Maltipoo Maisie.

Our chat turned to names. I loved Dilys but was worried it was too similar to Dylan so was veering towards something else. “Don’t be daft, it’s a gorgeous name, it suits her. You are overthinking it.”

Not 100 per cent convinced I hung up the phone. Little did I know that would the last time I would talk to my dearest friend. Sue contracted sepsis and passed away three weeks later. I was – still am – devastated. But there was no other choice – little one’s name had to be Dilys, a legacy from my friend.

Debbie was such a support. She immediately offered to hold onto Dilys until I was in the right frame of mind to collect her, She sent videos and updates and we spoke regularly. Even planning how we were going to get Dilys out of Wales if the threatened lockdown happened. We had visions of us being caught bang to rights for Welshie smuggling. Mmm are Welshies an essential item – I think so though the First Minister might disagree!

Thankfully it didn’t come to that – and I mean that more for the local constabulary – arresting a Welsh girl, an Essex girl and a Welsh Terrier, yep Good luck!

An emotional handover and then a socially distanced meet up with Sioned, her lovely husband and not forgetting Iolo and Teg and we headed home to Essex.

I am heartbroken my friend won’t ever get to meet the puppy she named and she won’t see Dylis and Maisie romping around fields and beaches.

Dylis hits the beach

Losing Dylan and Sue, both who were such a huge important part of my life – well it’s hard.

Then I look at Dylis and I feel joy watching her stomp along, ears flapping and Welshie bottom wobbling. I have relearned the Welshie shuffle – the one caused a puppy attached to your trousers and terrified you’ll step on them, you adopt a weird shuffling/sliding move. She’s a tornado, into everything, a true Welshie girl and I love her.

And I smile because I am sure Sue and Dylan will be watching and laughing as Dylis and I begin our adventure.

Oh and finally…the wine is stocked and chilled!

12 thoughts on “Heartache and hope

  1. God that made us both cry. Change, using all we have learned is all we can ever do. Here’s to new adventures, and with every one a naughty little Welshie will be dancing with delight at every antic you get up to. Hugs from us all. ❤️

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    1. I cried and laughed reading your wonderful text. I’m so very sorry about you losing your dear friend on top of losing Dylan. At the same time, I was so happy you decided to adopt Dylis who looks adorably Welsh. I hope you are going to write about your adventures with her. I’m sending both of you big hugs and kisses. Waiting to read you again. ♥️♥️♥️🥂♥️♥️♥️Diane

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  2. Welcome back. Dylan has been, and will continue to be missed. I absolutely loved her adventure in puppy class , she was a one off, I can’t look at a mop without smiling.
    Looking forward to seeing Dilys’ character develop , it won’t take long. Time to get the wine in methinks

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  3. I’m so touched by your story of love, loss and redemption. We had a good friend and fellow WT advocate pass from sepsis this past year as well and it was both heartbreaking and continues to be devastating in so many ways. I’m glad you went forward with Dylis as we are reminded that life is for the living and any joy found should be treasured. Welcome, Dylis ❤️‼️

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  4. I am so glad you have the new puppy and you are back to writing about your adventures. I loved reading about Dylan and puppy class and I know you miss her but I’m so glad you got another one. I am sitting here crying about your friend and everything you have gone through. This puppy will help you so much in finding joy again and writing stories for all of us to enjoy. Will you still get to see Maisie? Does she have a dad or family that is taking care of her? Take care and keep writing.

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    1. Hi Thank you for your kind words. Maisie has gone to live with another close friend of Sue’s. I would love to see her but I am not sure that will happen which is sad. Sue got Maisie just three months after I got Dylan so they were great puppy friends xx

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  5. I’m so very very sorry for the loss of Dylan, and also your dear friend, but I’m sure she will be watching the antics of Dylis as she starts to get into all sorts, and I’m sure she has Dylan safe in heaven with her, although not with us they area always with us in our hearts. Enjoy the pure joy and mayhem a new puppy brings , I had forgotten having my feet chewed, and having to slide across the floor, thank you for reminding me of the antics of these amazing puppies, full of character and mischief! and such a huge part of our lives xx

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