It is a very sad fact of life that we do sometimes lose our much loved pets… long before we should. And it's much, much worse if we learn afterwards that there was something we could have done to prevent it.
Picasso's story is just such a tale…but hopefully in telling it, we can help someone else from losing their dog.
We had moved to Spain in 1992 for Brian’s work with the BBC and found a house by the beach on the Mediterranean. Life was nice but would be nicer if I had a ‘companion’ through the day!
He was, we think, a Lagotto cross Bichon/Poodle of decidedly mixed parentage! But he didn't care. He'd been abandoned and was just thrilled to find a new pack in the form of my husband and myself. And boy did he love us back.
He was a gorgeous mixture of chocolate and coffee coloured hair and that was how we decided on a name for him…we felt he could only have been created by a master of colours and things of great beauty…like the Spanish master painter Picasso.
Picasso's only bad habit was his uncontrollable urge to roll in anything dead. He really thought he was applying the absolute best in doggy eu-de-cologne (or in this case pew-de cologne!) and it was after one such adventure that we made what would ultimately turn out to be the worst possible mistake.
We were living by the seaside at the time and Picasso had obviously found the most rotten, the most decayed and most foul-smelling dead fish on the beach…and rolled in it. Yuck. An immediate bath was required to solve the problem.
Five minutes later, one wet, but again sweet smelling buddy was sitting in the sun, drying off, when the doorbell went. It was only after ending my conversation with the person at the door that I remembered Picasso wasn't wearing his collar. I hadn't wanted it to get wet, so I'd left it off while he was drying in the sun. That was the big mistake because Picasso was nowhere to be seen.
We searched high and low for him, calling his name, all through that night, the next day and the following night. On the third day I rang the local radio station in tears and begged them to ask their listeners if anyone had seen our gorgeous little dog.
It turned out someone had seen Picasso, standing on the far side of a busy highway only the day before. But as he wasn't wearing a collar the driver hadn't bothered to stop as he'd thought it would be too difficult to track down the dog's owners. No collar meant no doggy tag and therefore no telephone number or address.
Even worse, the driver told us that he'd seen the same dog again later in the day, but this time lying still alongside the concrete median wall that divided the highway. He'd been hit and died trying to come home.
Now I'm not writing this to make you feel sad…but I would never want anyone to have to see, as I did, a very much loved member of the family being carried home… knowing that if only I'd put his collar and tag on he would still be alive.
It broke our hearts. Please don't let it happen to you. Always make sure your four-legged friends have a name tag from which they can be easily identified and some kind of contact number so that their human 'pack' can be alerted that they need help. That way your dog has the best chance possible to find their way home... safely.
© 2020-Kaye Browne