Coping with the loss of our furry friends

Two years ago, on 6th December 2010, our beautiful Border Collie,  Lady gave up on life.  She just lay down in the kitchen & had no more strength to carry on.



She looked so sorry for herself and that look in her eyes said so many things to me.  The main thing she said to me was let me rest now please.  So we did.  We wrapped her in her blanket and carried her out to the works van.  I lay in the back with her giving her cuddles and as much love as I could on that fateful journey to the vets.  We said our goodbyes in the surgery and she fell asleep in my arms.  She was 17 years old and after 2 years it still brings tears to my eyes when I think of that day.  I coped with her loss mainly because we still had her big buddy Jake (our German Shepherd) and I poured all my love and affection into him.  He kept me company in the day while I worked in the home office and although he was getting old himself he was always there for a cuddle when I felt sad.



Last year became a bit of a struggle for the old boy as his hind quarters succumbed to the usual complaint for these big dogs.  He slowed down and spent more time in the house lying outside the office door, creeping in & settling down behind my chair when he thought I wasn’t looking!  I cursed him many times as he was prone to quite a lot of flatulence in his old age but it didn’t stop me loving him 😉 As the year progressed, his legs & hips got worse. He never winced with pain but bravely took each day slowly walked a little slower and eventually needed help getting up from a lying position.  I’d been giving him medication to help with his joints for a few years but they didn’t seem to be doing much good anymore and his muscles were now almost non-existent and in December 2012 his struggle got worse still.  He was losing all the strength in his legs and could only walk a few yards before collapsing in a heap 😦

Suffice to say, I had stern words with him, saying that there was no way I was losing another ‘family member’ during December.  Dad, Nan, Uncles, Aunts, Lady and in 2009 my Mum topped the lot by passing away on Christmas Day so another December loss was not going to be acceptable to me!

He kept going through December and through the Christmas festivities, but on New Year’s Day his body said enough was enough.  He was still obviously trying to keep going but the frustration got the better of him on 1st January 2013.  It could be seen in his eyes which asked ‘why can’t I get up anymore?’. It was different to Lady, she wanted to give up, Jake wanted to get up!  We helped him as best we could, with Andy supporting his hind quarters while he moved round the kitchen in ‘wheel barrow’ mode but he could no longer go outside to do his basic functions and was trying to be such a good dog by not doing it in the house :S  He stopped eating and needed his bowl of water brought to him to drink.  This would be no life anymore 😦  so on Wednesday 2nd January, the vet came to the house and we said goodbye to our big boy.  Jake would have been 14 at the end of January – a brilliant age for such a dog!

He and Lady are now laying side by side at one side of the garden just as they used to in life.  They were the best of friends and were my best friends too.

People tend to understand the loss of a loved one and give so much sympathy.  You don’t expect it when you lose a pet, but the comfort I received from friends & family alike has been wonderful.  Losing a pet is like losing the best friend you ever had.  I will miss them so much.

Don’t be put off having a dog as a pet.  Yes, it’s hard when you lose them but they love you irrespective of your actions unlike most humans.  A dog is the most loyal friend you could ever have.

We will get another dog, maybe even 2, but in a while and not just yet.  I’ll let you know when we do.  There’s sure to be some interesting stories when we have puppies in the house 😉

If you’ve lost a pet or have an old or infirm pet at home I recommend the following to help you cope with whatever has happened or may happen soon. Just click on the button below.

Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss

Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss


Memories of Family Christmasses

Beautiful-Christmas-decorMy earliest Christmas memories involve a white tricycle and a budgie.  I think I was 4!  I’d received the budgie for my 4th birthday from my nan and it was the 1st year for my mum, dad, brother Fred & me in our new flat.  I don’t actually remember much before we moved to the  flat, so it was obviously not the best living  in 2 rooms at my grandmother’s house, where we all shared a bedroom!

My first Christmas memory then,  is the White tricycle & the budgie, Tommy,  sitting on the handlebars on Christmas morning.  I remember being dressed in a new red, winter coat with a white fur collar & a white muff on a string round my neck (It was always a new coat for Christmas :))

Dad carried the tricycle down the 7 flights of stairs and I discovered that I was expected to ride it all the way to nan’s house.  Suffice to say I didn’t! Don’t think I actually rode it much at all 😉

It was a traditional day that was to continue until I reached my teens & had boyfriends.

After we had opened our gifts at home Dad, my brother & I would all don our best clothes and go off to nan’s to exchange presents with other members of the family whilst mum tidied the lounge & prepared dinner.  Dad would then go to the pub (I joined him once I was old enough) but I was usually back off home to mum to help get Christmas lunch ready.

Lunch was always around 2:30 and then it was a lazy afternoon of TV & snacks and of course we always watched The Queen’s Message!

Tea was always at nan’s and always consisted of tinned salmon & ham with salad & was followed by Mince Pies, Christmas Cake & Aunt Rose’s yummy trifle.  Oh and copius cups of tea – no alcohol until the party later when everyone else turned up & the tea-table (a huge billiards table closed up for the purpose) was cleared & dragged by about 5-6 men to the corner of the room to be loaded up with bottles of beer, spirits & glasses.

Once I was a teenager, I had the pleasure of choosing all the music with uncle George and we would spent the weeks leading up to Christmas recording from his 78rpm records onto the reel to reel tape recorder ready for the party on Christmas night.

The adults would go to the pub after tea whilst the children were expected to play nicely, the older teenagers watching over them,  until the adults returned ready to party.

I remember many years of being carried home by my dad until I was old enough to stay awake all evening.

I remember my granddad or rather ‘step’ granddad (known as uncle Tom) drank brown ale, my nan drank whiskey & orange (it’s where I got my liking for whiskey) and my mum drank gin & tonic (hate gin ….yuck yuck yuck!)

They were the good old days, but then I suppose my grandchildren will remember Christmases with their nannies & granddads as ‘the good old days when they are my age (not to be spoken aloud).  But they seem to have a different kind of Christmas each year so there is no tradition building for them to remember.

I just hope they have a happy Christmas, just as I used to with all my family, and that they have some beautiful memories to hang on to.

Happy Christmas everyone.

The Wonder of Christmas

52695_441677179228158_1557653790_oHow do you keep the magic going for your kids at Christmas?

Do they really believe in Santa?

My kids did until about 8 or 9 I think – will have to ask my daughter.  I do know that we tried to keep the magic going for as long as possible.  In fact there was the year we bought a garden slide & got a friend to dress up in a Santa suit & slide down it whilst I woke the kids up and showed them out the window of their bedrooms!  My daughter looked & then went back to sleep and my son panicked saying he mustn’t wake up because Santa would take his toys away!  They believed though 😉

We never used to put labels on their presents because they were from Santa, and the big presents, like bikes, were never wrapped of course!

We would even go so far as to remove labels from other people’s gifts sometimes to make things more authentic on Christmas morning.  Or we would say that nanny & granddad had asked Santa to bring a particular toy and that’s why it said it was from them.

When a child is small, why do people bother putting their name on the present? The child doesn’t really care where the toy came from, just that it’s for them.  Is it for the child or for the parents? “This is for your child from me – look how much I spent on them” is what a label says to me.  It also says ‘I will expect a ‘thank you’ from you on their behalf”.  I don’t expect a ‘thank you’ because when Santa sends a toy to a child, he is thanking them for being good so why should they thank the giver?

Am I being very picky here? Am I a bit too cynical? Why have I just put labels on the gifts I’ve bought for my grandchildren and said: “from nanny & granddad”!?!  Oh I feel like a hypocrite now!

When do kids stop believing? And why do they keep up the pretence when they don’t believe anymore?

Is it because it’s the parents who really want to believe in Santa?  Are we all trying to get back the magic from our childhood?

What do you think?  I know I’d love to, but at my age that’s going to be a bit difficult.  Even more so now that mum & dad are gone, my kids are all grown and left the nest.  I make the most of the magic we can make for my grandkids.  Watching them on Christmas morning gives me such a great feeling.  Who cares about labels? They’re never read anyway!  Might take mine off now 😉

Our new assistant Jo

Well our new assistant started on Monday and I have to say she is doing really well.

She is getting to grips with the varied items we sell online over our 3 websites: The Nest @ John Richards,  John Richards Surplus and of course, our ebay shop .

Joanne lives in our village and has 2 little girls who attend the village school, so I was more than pleased to offer her the position after her interview.  She is picking things up quickly and has lots of enthusiasm (let’s hope it stays!)  I have tried to ease her into some of the more complex parts of the job but she seems to take everything in her stride and I can tell already she will be a very useful and valued member of the John Richards team.

We are looking forward to getting to know her, & her husband better when we all go out next Wednesday for the company’s Christmas meal, and I shall be broaching the subject of her personal introduction to the blog very soon 🙂

Watch this space for more updates…………..


Sorry about my absence – pressure of work!

Well, since my admin assistant Rachel left the other week it’s been pretty manic here.  I’ve been interviewing prospective new assistants, and trying to keep up with not only my work but that of said assistant, so something had to take a back seat and I’m sorry to say it was this blog. 😦

Interviews are over now and I have to make a decision.  It’s not easy at all.  Three of the candidates are vying for the position in my mind at present and I never realised it would be this difficult to choose.

I am giving myself a break this evening and will look at all the candidates details again tomorrow.  It’s hard to weigh up the different skills that each has  Some are stronger in certain areas than others, that’s true, but then the others have other strengths that I’d not even considered before.

I will need to be very clear about the type of person I want in the position, their skills and the prospect of being able to work together.  I also need to see how they will fit in with our little family.  They need to work with the other members of the business too.  Wish me luck!

Meanwhile, Mr. R senior has been to an auction & bought lots & lots of new stock consisting of Wall Art, Ornaments & Christmas items.  A full weekend working for me now to see what he’s bought & help price up items.  It has to be stored so that it’s easily recognisable & accessable and eventually listed on the website!  I hope the new assistant is a quick learner.  Whoever they are, they will be on a very steep learning curve!

Happily, Mr R already has a trade customer coming on Wednesday to buy stock for their shop, so we won’t need quite as much room to store the vast quantity of boxes.

I came here originally looking for an easier life & maybe early retirement.  Don’t know who I was trying to kid! I’m doing more now than I ever did back down south and actually enjoying every second!

I’ll keep you updated!

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