Heather was offered Boozer in North Sheen Recreation Ground in 1999. We’d discussed a second dog, Heather had been pining for a German Shepherd. She saw one advertised in the vet. By the time she’d called me to discuss the adoption that one had gone. Feeling a bit sad she took Yoffi for a walk across the road in North Sheen Recreation Ground. There she saw a man with a GSD. He was the landlord of a local pub, selling up. She told him her story – and he told her they were looking for a home for the one in front of her. Fate. Her name, Boozer, a pub being her first home.
We were told she was clingy, aggressive and couldn’t be exercised. She was certainly scared.
We took her to Richnond Park and threw a stick – so the exercise was sorted out. She loved chasing sticks into ferns and water. Until her legs gave out we’d collect sticks so that she could stand in the water and try to catch them as we threw them at her.
She was certainly aggressive – but she loved family and close friends. Monika and Karolina were her friends – Boozie would shriek with joy when they came to the house. But she did try to intimidate. We’ve lost paint from a window. We have protected a door with wood and a stained glass window with tempered glass. Non-dog people gradually stopped coming around. Even dog people would hesitate as she could be so protective. Heather certainly felt safe with Boozie around. And Boozie repaid that – she loved us all, but she was Heather’s shadow. Yoffi accepted her as the boss.
She’d user her nose as a shovel, nudging our arms for attention – attention we willingly gave. Such a character, sometimes it seemed unfair to Yoffi. There he’d be, at the door, wagging his tail. She’d be snarling; for the first few years we had to contain her and only let her see visitor after they’d been suitably seated and reassured – not always successfully reasssured. She had no half way house. She was either afraid of you or loved you – and her love knew no bounds.
Her happiest indoor moment were when we were all in the living room so that she could lie on the couch and trill with delight, rolling in exuberance.
In early 2009 we noticed her rear legs starting to seize up. Her last long walk, of over an hour, was near Pen Ponds in July 2009. walks became progressively shorter. In July we were down to a few hundred yards even in her wheels. The first Sunday in August 2010, it was but ten yards – and a couple of days later she could not stand. She died Friday the 6th of August 2010.
Outdoors she liked to break the walk with a sit down and a stick chase and chew at a “Boozie tree”. She had one such tree for most routes. Her ashes are by her favourite Boozie tree in Conduit Woods in Richmond Park. We will remember her, and her joy, every time we pass.
Some photographs are here, on Flickr.