Today would have been Kingsley’s 2nd birthday. If you’d have told me last year that he would no longer be with us I would have laughed at you. Kingsley was my whole world. My favourite thing was to go rambling with him. We started off in the park but progressed to the forest as he got larger. He was a big fast fluffy dog and his recall was amazing.
When we walked we were totally in sync. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t like dogs but there was something spiritual about it. He knew where I was going before I did. Sometimes he would lead the way and I would let him take me into the undergrowth. Sometimes we got right inside bushes and into the deep grass. I let him sniff every single thing he wanted, always.
He loved the squirrels best but never meant to catch one. I saw him slow down just before he’d get his teeth around one more than once. He wasn’t a cuddly dog but he was gentle in his core. He would sit beside you and raise his leg in the air until you stroked his tummy. Then his face would go all regal.
He loved other dogs and always wanted to play. Sometimes they were a bit scared of him, but I called him scaredy dog because he would run away from even the little tiny ones. He did this thing where he would dodge them and his bum would go first, a bit like an articulated lorry. He loved to play with other dogs and was always friendly first. He didn’t understand when they didn’t want to play but wouldn’t bother them if they didn’t. I’d whistle and he’d skip it.
Kingsley made everything better. When I got him I was a bit sad and he made me go outside and get back in nature. I’d forgotten how much I needed it. I also started talking to strangers and really enjoyed it. Lots of dog owners are a bit shy around people and that suited me just fine. He was the best company and I would laugh at him constantly. He was a funny dog but never meant to be. All dogs are like that, just pure and perfect.
He was always a bit hectic. He had this energy about him which was difficult for some people and he had a big bark. He was always a bit wary of strangers but when he was little he put up with people approaching him. He looked like a bear and kids liked to stroke him, they especially liked his big white fluffy tail. He was so good with it for so long until he became an adult. After a while I had to ask people not to touch him as he didn’t enjoy it any more.
The Vet says that when dogs become adults their behavioural problems come into focus. I have learnt that it was nothing we did that made Kingsley change, but that it was written into his genes. It’s difficult not to blame yourself but I know why he struggled and it wasn’t us. I should have asked his breeder better questions but I so wanted to keep him. It happens all the time.
King had the best life any dog could have had. I was with him constantly, every day. He came on holiday with us, swam in lakes and we loved him so much. I didn’t like leaving him more than six hours in a row and rarely did. I’m glad we had him and wouldn’t change it, even with this heartbreak we are going through. I needed him and he needed me.
It’s been a month since he went to sleep and I have cried every day. I am sleeping a bit better now but I still miss him terribly. Sometimes when I come home I expect to see his paws up on the glass of the front door, barking like mad to say hello. The house is so quiet and clean but I’d give that up to have him back but happy again. He was so good with the baby, licking his feet and rushing over to see if he was OK when he cried. We had to keep him safe though.
Kingsley hurt some people and me too but it doesn’t make him a bad dog. He didn’t know what he was doing, he thought it was the right thing. He was anxious and scared and acted on it- it makes sense. When I took him on his last walk he wasn’t with me, he was already gone. It was one of the worst days of my life. He was 95% perfect and his body was healthy. He trusted us and we had to take him into a little room and say goodbye. I’m sorry.
Walking with Kingsley was when I felt best. I loved being with him and watching him crash through the trees. I felt closer to the seasons and took him out in snow and rain even when I was heavily pregnant. I felt so much joy with him, it was all so simple. People say he was ‘just a dog’ but he wasn’t. He was my friend and companion, he was family. He listened to me and looked after me, he was one of a kind.
We planted a tree for him last weekend, a Rowan tree the colour of copper like him. I put some of his ashes in the river at the end of the garden where he used to stand and bark and I told him I loved him. I am not religious but I hope he is happier now. I don’t know what it means but I feel like he’ll always be around. When I take the baby out I say ‘let’s see if we can find Kingsley’ and do the special whistle. It’s happy not sad. I think he’s just splashing about in the river somewhere. I hope so.
Thank you for being my best friend Kingsley.