Savannah has been absent from my life since Monday 18 October. As she took her last breaths and her heart stopped beating, her final thoughts held my words, that I loved her so much and would carry her in my heart forever.
We met on Friday 3 July 2009. I knew little about Rhodesian Ridgebacks, but this wild child was looking for a home. There was space in mine, alongside Barley (diagnosed with heart problems) and Dougal (who’d had his first geriatric vestibular incident). She chose me. I named her Savannah. At around 8-months old, with a wilful attitude, and loving nature she brought hope and energy.
On our early morning walks, she ran in the fields and the house martins swooped to tease her as she chased their shadows. Golden wheaten, where no lions roamed, she circled for pleasure.
With the boys, we travelled the miles to France – in Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. Always finding the sunny spots. Curled like a pretzel in my father’s chair. Stretched on a bed. Touching her toes to each end of a sofa, leaving no room to share.
We were four for nearly four years – when Barley’s heart and mine broke. So Toffee found his home. Small but feisty, he made Savannah love him. Then Dougal left. And our life went on. Together day and night as a pack. Working from home for the love of dogs.
But we all age. Savannah had a lump removed from a rear leg – cancer. She recovered. Our walks were slower where once she flew over the fields. We got up at dawn to enjoy the fresh mornings. Treasured memories.
Last year, Luly joined us. Everyone made space for this smart spinning princess. We learned to live in her world of imperfect sight and atypical neurology. Four again for another year.
Though Savannah needed a ramp to get into the car now. And this year, we added weekly hydrotherapy to her medication for stiff legs. You did so well, baby girl.
Now we are three again. Savannah knew the right time. In a place we could all say goodbye. I made a promise I’ll never break. Toffee barked a final farewell. Absent, yet always here. Love never dies.