I remember the day Lottie Pie entered our world. 🙂 We’d arrived at the rescue centre, on that sunny Saturday in June 2014, full of excitement and hope. As Phil wandered the kennels, looking for our forever friend, the dogs rushed excitedly to the edge of their cages to greet him. Tails a-wagging. But as soon as I approached on my mobility scooter, they all went mad. Barking and howling and growling. A canine cacophony. It was horrid. Well, except for Lottie. She sat at the back of her cage, just quietly watching, equally scared by the noise. When we later met her in the kennels’ garden, she bravely sniffed us, before rolling on to her back so Phil could give her a tummy rub. We were instantly smitten. 🙂
Lottie came into our home and hearts, a year after I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension. At that time, she and I were two lost souls. We’ve no idea how she spent the first six years of her life, but that beautiful girl was full of fear. Everything scared her. The sound of her lead clicking, a stranger approaching her, us standing up too quickly. The noise of our wardrobe opening upstairs, a dog in the distance, the microwave pinging. Men petrified her, she wouldn’t eat unless alone, and sticks and poles and anything long caused enormous distress. She was constantly on alert, afraid of the world. Hiding or barking or whimpering or lying submissively or running away. She needed security and safety and love, love, love.
Likewise, I was also in a bad place. A mere year after my world had been trampled on; I was still mourning the loss of my old career and health and lifestyle and independence and future. I craved company, but was too ill to maintain friendships. I needed a purpose, but could barely look after myself. I couldn’t find my joy, couldn’t fathom how to live with my illness, couldn’t picture my future.
We didn’t know it then, but Lottie and I needed each other. On the day we brought her home, she sniffed the carpets and books and sofas, before snuggling up for a cuddle. The healing had begun. Over the next few months, we settled into life together. She seemed to instinctively know that I was ill; treating me gently and carefully, saving her rough and tumble for Phil. With the hubby working, me and that furry ball of love, spent all day, every day, together. She’d follow me everywhere; never leaving my side. If I was asleep in bed, she’d jump up next to me. If I was lying on the sofa, she’d be lying there too (though never at the edge, she’d always push me there! 😉 ). If I wandered to the toilet, or to make a cuppa; she’d be trotting alongside too. My companion, my friend, my shadow. Being constantly accompanied, my confidence grew. And wanting to give those loving brown eyes what she needed; I pushed myself to walk further. To the back door to let her out, to the garden so she could explore, to the kitchen to give her clean water and food. Having someone need me, be completely reliant upon me, gave my life structure and purpose. And having something to love and nurture, helped cope with the trauma of being unable to carry babies. She became the child I’d never get to have. Lottie made me laugh and smile and filled my heart with so much love. Back came the joy in the everyday, back came the happiness despite the disability, back came plans for the future- our future together. She was the medicine that helped me heal.
And slowly we helped Lottie to heal too. Over time, with reassurance and support, her fear slowly receded. With us by her side, she’d stop barking at every sound, or lying submissively before strangers, or trying to escape in fright from anything or anywhere new. She started walking ahead, started sniffing and exploring, started approaching smiley faces. And if she was spooked, she would now run behind our legs, knowing we would protect her. The pup inside her re-emerged, the joy and glee returned. She’d run animatedly around the garden, greet us with stretches and cuddles, get ridiculously excited at visitors. She was happy.
For the past eight years, Lottie has been the other leg in our Manx Triskelion, the third member of Team Marshall. She was our family. Every holiday and day trip and sleepover and meet-up and car journey and shopping trip and cuppa and meal out, involved her. She came everywhere with us. My photo albums are full of Lottie; though mainly sideways shots- she’d turn away from cameras! She was there when we explored the beaches along the NC500, took the subway train in Brussels, watched the guards at Buckingham Palace. She ate croissants in France with us, was roadside at the Tour of Britain, has trotted along some famous cycling cobbles. She’s camped with Phil in snow and rain and sun, joined the new house search, and has even attended hen do’s and weddings! She’s been on rowing boats and canal boats, lots of scooter rides, and walks all over the country. Every Christmas she’s sniffing the presents, every New Year snoozing through the midnight dancing, every pub visit she searches for dropped nosh. Lottie was at the hospital during my transplant assessment, has taken me to hundreds of blood tests, and has been by my side for my first ever scooter ride, first ever outside steps, first ever lap around Church Lane. Plus, for the past six months, as I’ve begun to drive again; she’s been in the passenger seat, cheering me on. Number one support dog.
There’s so much I’ll miss about Lottie. She could sniff out a treat hidden under the sofa, snored loudly even when awake, and would continually get confused by ‘sit’ and ‘lie’. She’d run the wrong way when following rabbit trails, would yawn loudly when she was stretching, and loved rubbing her back on grass and sofas and wallpaper. She’d happily balance on edges to peer over sheer drops, would greet people with a tickly sniff, and buzzing flies drove her mad (she was never quick enough to catch them!). And one Christmas Eve, when we were miles from home; she ate a bowl of chocolate nuts and raisins. We had to wake every hour to check on her! She’d prick up her ears when she was confused, she loved wading through overgrown field edges, and broccoli stalks were her drug of choice. She’d want to stop and smell when out running with Phil, she used her favourite teddy ‘Toby’ as a pillow, and she had incredibly strokable velvet ears. She’d eat my marmite toast crusts every morning, she loved rolling around near mountain edges (much to Phil’s horror), and she’d often fall in streams whilst trying to get a drink. She would squeeze into the middle if my hubby and I were cuddling, she smelt like hay, and we had to hide edible Christmas presents as she’d open them! And once she jumped on our table and ate a whole cooked chicken, including bones. No Sunday dinner for us! She gave wonderful snuggles and nuzzles, and would sniff our eyes to comfort us if we cried. And best of all, she was so gentle and soft and kind and loving and friendly, that she was adored by everyone. Strangers would ask to stroke her, babies would happily let her sniff them, and she helped multiple folk who were scared of dogs love pups again. She was an angel.
Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our beautiful Lottie Pie. After a long battle with kidney failure, and at the grand old age of fourteen; she was finally ready to rest. She was lying on our sofa, being stroked and loved, as the vet gave her the final injection. And then she was gone. Peacefully. Quickly. Gently. One minute she was sleeping, the next she was sleeping forever. Our home is a lot darker without her light. Goodbye my Lottie Pie. Thank you for the days. 🙂
2 thoughts on “Goodbye My Lottie Pie”
Beautiful tribute , I too lost my support boy durning my illness… Charlie a rescue..I had him For
4 years before I had to say goodbye ..heart and trachea took him.. he was my best friend, constant companion, and his love saved me.. the goodbye was the hardest I have faced..
I understand.. ..please rescue again ..always love again..in their honor.. love again..
Beautiful tribute. My dog Lucy is similar in my my companion through all this. God be with you.