Just returned from visiting a friend and fellow dog trainer, Dave, who lost his oldest and dearest dog, Drake, 10 days ago. Drake was my Daisy’s Dad.
Dave and Drake were out on their local shoot, picking up. Dave had sent Drake, now 12 years old, across a river to pick a bird. Drake had already successfully negotiated the river that day. However, as he entered the water on this occasion, a wave of fast flowing water hit him. The wave had been caused by a trout farm upstream unexpectedly opening some sluice gates. Drake was trapped against a log and tried to swim out. Dave got to the steep river bank in time to see Drake look at him before going under and disappearing from view.
The shoot was stopped and everyone tried desperately to find Drake, without success. After three hours of searching and in the failing light, the search was abandoned for the day. Dave was, and remains, utterly devastated.
For eight days, Dave and others scoured the river banks further and further downstream. A psychic friend of a friend told Dave he would find Drake within 100 yards of a bridge under a bush. On the ninth day, Dave went to the only bridges over the river, some two miles downstream. Drake was there, next to a bridge, on the bank, lying under a bush.
He had a cut nose and a grazed leg but was otherwise unmarked, apart from being very dirty. Dave recovered the body and drove him home. He shampooed Drake, dug a grave, lined it with straw and laid his beloved Drake to rest just outside Drake’s kennel.
If there are to be any silver linings to this tragic cloud, it is that Drake died doing what he loved best: out with his master in the shooting field where they had spent so many happy years together; and the second blessing is that Drake is now back home where he belongs.
I had taken some photos of Drake a couple of years ago when I was buying Daisy, so I took these up to Dave together with a card from Poppy and Daisy! We spent a sad but also happy couple of hours together, talking about Drake and the good times. We then took Daisy and Dave’s remaining three dogs for a walk and then I came home.
Dave said he had never been as upset as this, ever. The grieving process has started and we share his pain. It’s extraordinary the bond of love and friendship that can exist between man and dog. The loss of a beloved canine companion can be as painful to bear as any loss, if not more.
RIP Drake, and our thoughts are with Dave.