Early on the morning of the 6th September 2020, Sweep had a massive seizure and died. We are devastated. We are numb. We are worried how Odie will take it when it sinks in. We are angry at how completely unfair it is. We feel guilt – is there something else we could have done? We feel waves and waves and waves of sadness and a total and utter feeling of loss.
He was the sweetest boy. My baby boy. My best friend. He was just 8 years 10 months and 6 days old. He was with us for the entirety of that time. He was Odie’s best and only doggy friend. He was a Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional graduate. It’s fucking shit.
We will miss the Sweepy cuddles, oh man, those cuddles, I really need one now, even with the dew claws to the back of the neck. We’ll miss spooning under the duvet. His bog snorkelling and his ability to smell out the optimum mud to water ratio puddles, and the muddy eye boogers that always followed. The side-eye. His teeth resting on my nose for selfies. His ability to smell out a treat that had been stuck under a piece of furniture for days. His hazel flecked eyes. Him coming to see you as you sit on the loo and trying to stick his nose between your bum cheek and the toilet seat. His ‘through the legs’ behaviour in the kitchen that usually led to him pointedly staring at the fridge for treats. The way he’d slither off the sofa when he was getting too warm and flop dramatically on to his side on the floor and stretch, and sleep. How small he could make himself when curling up to go to sleep. Him sleeping with his paw over his nose. We’ll miss how much of an arsehole he was to his brother when he was off lead and Odie was on his. We’ll miss Odie smacking him in the face with his ass trying to get him to play. Curling up under a blanket with him to watch TV. The little cuddle ritual I had with him after a training session. How he would encourage his brother to kick off to get Odie’s spot on the sofa. The feet to our backs during the night as he went for optimum comfort on our bed. The way he would wait for Kevin to settle on the sofa so he could climb on (or be picked up) for cuddles. Our stupid selfies. His exasperation when I trained with the cats. The way he would move to lie on the clothes that you laid out on the bed. The way he would rush to stick his head out of the cat flap if there was someone in the garden who he wasn’t being allowed out to see. His ability to pick up big sticks and fling them around shattering them into shards that went everywhere. How we could take him anywhere with us. His ability to find and roll in all types of shit, human and other. His rolls in the grass. His bin raiding. We’ll miss his internal clock demanding breakfast or dinner. His ability to transfer the buzzer cue for ‘open the door’ to mean, ‘I want food’. His chuffs for anything from wanting a wee, to wanting food to just heaven knows what. His ability to completely forget my Dad every time they met. His ability to take over the bed gradually over night so you ended up with a sliver on the edge or a dead leg from him lying draped over you. That ability to drape himself over you and over the furniture, we’ll miss that too. We’ll miss the way that he sat as soon as you pulled out your phone, just waiting for his picture to be taken. The cuddles, right up under your armpit when you sat on the edge of the bed to put your shoes on in a morning, just waiting for the morning selfie, if I had known Saturday would be our last my dearest boy, I would have lingered much longer. The way he would run from the kitchen into our training area as soon as I had finished cutting treats. His unbelievable ability, and desire, to learn – he was a genius. His ability to remove and eat an entire block of cheddar cheese from a Christmas buffet table without anyone noticing until hours later. We’ll miss retrieving the cat toys he’d steal from his kitty brothers. Martin cat pestering him in the garden when he was trying to go to the toilet. Trying to get the ball off him if by some miracle he beat Odie to picking it up. His love of prawn crackers. His soft southern feet on Highland walks and making make-shift booties for him. How he could open my office door when Kevin came in from work, Odie really misses that. That claw paw for opening the office door. Him sitting and waiting patiently for a Daddy cuddle on the stairs while Kevin took his shoes off. Him watching the floor as I cut treats. Him cleaning up the crumbs from the kitchen floor. Sharing chunks of cheese with him. Him waiting patiently for training time at 5pm, his eyes boring into the back of my head. His bladder that must have been the size of a pea. His annoyance at the neighbour’s whistling. The way he would pick up a thrown ball in the garden and drop it in the paddling pool and then dig around in there for ages finally picking the ball out and running off with it. We’ll miss his complete lack of ability to catch a ball. His fear of people, sheep, cows and raspberry blowing. His wave behaviour. The way he could pee in the garden so that it collected in a puddle right in front of the door. The way he would come down the stairs with his front legs totally straight. We’ll miss playing hide and seek with him where he basically just chased around after Odie. We’ll miss his always being with you (and if he wasn’t, he was totally up to something involving food). We’ll miss that he loved us unconditionally.
We’ll miss him. So much. So fucking much.
He was my whole heart. This doesn’t do him justice.
We are heartbroken. Fuck epilepsy.
Carol, Kevin and Odie 6-12th September 2020.
I currently live in Weymouth, Dorset (originally from Beverley in East Yorkshire). I am a certified dog trainer, graduating from the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional course in October 2016. I have owned dogs since 2001 when I got my first rescue dog Jack, a mutt extraordinaire. When I lost him I spent two years fostering dogs for a local charity and as a result I gained Odie and Sweep. Odie is the reason I became interested in training and behaviour. He demonstrates "aggressive" behaviours towards other dogs. I chose clicker training because I saw how much confidence it gives both my boys and I train mostly as a hobby with my own dogs and cats and spend my spare time with them and continuing my training and behaviour education with webinars and seminars. My passion as a trainer is in force free husbandry. If we can teach dangerous exotic animals to accept blood draws voluntarily then we have no excuse in not teaching it to our animals. I work full time as a marine biologist (to fund my dog habit!), a job I have done for 20 years. It has taught me to avoid the use of jargon while not dumbing down content, a skill I hope will help me produce a helpful blog!