3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Cotswold Life today click here

Dom Joly: Death in the afternoon

PUBLISHED: 09:49 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:49 14 March 2017

Oscar lived with us for ten happy years: a Cotswold dog to the core

Oscar lived with us for ten happy years: a Cotswold dog to the core

Dom Joly

Oscar lived with us for ten happy years: a Cotswold dog to the core

If I’m honest, Oscar was a mistake. A friend came to stay and told us about a litter of puppies that had been born in an acquaintance’s house.

“You should go and see them. They are so cute,” said the friend.

So we did, and returned home with Oscar, a little black flat-coat retriever.

It had never been the plan to veer away from black Labradors but who has ever been to see a litter of puppies and not returned home with one?

Wasn’t it Boswell who said “He who turns away from puppies is dead on the inside?” Actually, I think that I just made it up but I’m sure Boswell would have said that if he were to visit a litter.

Oscar joined our doggy clan. He was the sweetest and gentlest of dogs but, if I’m honest, not as intelligent as our wonderful Labradors. I was even initially a touch dismissive of him by comparison. He often had the air of a dog with a hyper short memory span. He would wander into the garden and then look totally bewildered as though he had forgotten where he was and run back inside to safety. God, he was a kind dog, though – so gentle with the kids and the only person to develop something approaching a relationship with Roo, the one-eyed gangsta cat for whom friends are a sign of weakness.

On long walks the two Labradors would roar off ahead, sniffing strange dogs’ bottoms, annoying ramblers and harassing pheasants – basically the things that dogs should be doing. Oscar was a quieter soul. He would trot along right beside me, always happy to get an encouraging word or a stroke. He was, in Spinal Tap terms, “the luke-warm water” between the fire and ice of my Alpha Dogs.

Oscar lived with us for ten happy years: a Cotswold dog to the core. Then, just before New Year I noticed that something was wrong. He would lag behind on walks – his long, elegant nose no longer sniffed the air for olfactory stories. Even the temptation of the local deer bouncing past us didn’t even raise a hairy eyebrow. The deer looked concerned and a touch miffed.

He took to his bed before briefly recovering. For one last time he was old, tail wagging, affectionate, loyal Oscar. Then he slumped again and found it hard to get up. I think we all knew. It was almost a year to the day since we lost our eldest dog, Huxley. I picked him up and placed him gently in the back of the Land Rover. The kids came out and kissed him goodbye. He raised his aristocratic head and licked them both weakly on the face. They were crying. We drove into Cheltenham, to the vets. We were silent in the car.

When we got there Oscar stood up and walked into the vets. We had a tiny speck of hope but he slumped again in reception. The vet was wonderful. She had a look at him and agreed that he didn’t look well. We placed him on the table and she gave him a scan. It was what we expected – he had a huge tumour inside him. She told us that she could attempt to operate but it would be very uncomfortable for him and that he would most likely not make it anyway. And so the decision had to be made. Did we want to “put him to sleep?”

The most hideously innocuous of questions that nobody should be made to answer. We nodded assent. Stacey stayed with him. I have to admit that I couldn’t and left the room. I’m not sure if there is a right or wrong thing to do but I couldn’t handle it. Stacey cuddled his head as the needle went in and whispered that he should “go find Huxley.” People who don’t have pets will never understand the loss. Some don’t take it seriously. Some are wonderfully kind online, some less so. Whatever, Oscar was an integral part of our family and now he is gone and we are bereft. Run free you kind, gentle dog, run free.

For more from Dom Joly, follow him on Twitter: @DomJoly

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Wed, 16:14

Tracy Spiers takes Emily, daughter number two, who shares her love for anything historical, to this vibrant place and get lost in a heady mix of wild bears, Middle Age punishing devices, timber-framed buildings and live bees

Read more

Whether you’re thinking of keeping a couple of goats as pets or rearing a small herd for milking or meat production, Lizzie Dyer of Just Kidding can tell you everything you could possibly want to know about these idiosyncratic creatures

Read more
Mon, 16:39

St Mary de Crypt Church and the Old Crypt Schoolroom in Gloucester produced two world famous Christian leaders, schooled ‘Long John Silver’, and is the burial place of ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Crunchy leaves under foot, bracing walks in beautiful countryside, mugs of hot chocolate in cosy tea rooms and charming pubs with roaring fireplaces – what’s not to love about autumn in the Cotswolds?

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

On a crisp, autumnal day, there is nothing better than gathering the family for a stroll amongst some of the most colourful woodland and countryside the Cotswolds has to offer. We’ve accumulated a list of our favourite places to catch the majority of this season’s golden hues

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Stephanie Walton takes her best friends Severus and Lily for a water-based adventure on the Cotswold lakes

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Awe-inspiring views, picture-perfect scenery and iconic landmarks, the Cotswolds is the perfect place to enjoy a countryside ramble. We pick 7 walks for you to try with nearby cafes to rest your weary feet and indulge in a cream tea

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Where better to spend an August afternoon than amid the literary history of handsome Garsington Manor?

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Janet Devereux of Pigs Inn Heaven gives some pointers to those thinking of keeping pigs as pets

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

If only walls could talk! Featuring gorgeous Cotswold almshouses, stunning market squares and honey-coloured architecture, we pick 8 beautifully historic market towns to visit in the region

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Never one to turn down a challenge, Tracy Spiers attempts to munch her way through an onion the size of a grapefruit in the market town of Newent

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

It’s a thriving market town close to the heart of HRH the Prince of Wales and it came to life thanks to the growth of the Cotswold wool trade

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

With gorgeous, rolling countryside and historic towns and villages, and plenty of stunning venues, the Cotswolds make a wonderful setting for a wedding. Here are 6 of the prettiest wedding barns to host your special day

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search