Pebbles came to me as an 8 year old rescue. She had only ever known a kennel as home, and so the life that lay ahead of her was for her, a life of luxury. She was grossly overweight at 46.4 kilos (30 kilos is about right for a retriever bitch) She also had one blind eye where she had escaped from her previous owner’s garden, and become entangled in a roll of barbed wire. Her eye had been pierced, and her body and tongue were – to quote the vet who treated her – “like putting a jigsaw puzzle back together.”

Right from our very first meeting, Pebbles and I were inseparable. She watched my every move – never really sleeping properly for fear I should get up and move away from her! Wherever I went, I took Pebbles – if I couldn’t take her, I didn’t go. I gradually managed to get her weight down to 32 kilos, which I was happy with, as she was a large framed dog. Once this was achieved Pebbles’ life changed incredibly. She was able to run when we went out rather than waddle, and she swam with my other 3 Goldies and just simply enjoyed every moment of her life. In December 2004 just after Bili’s litter was born, she became very unwell. She had, by this time, lost her sight completely, but despite this she would run across the field towards me with complete trust that I would never let any harm come to her. I always felt very moved by that – and still do.

I had noticed that Pebbles’ stomach had become very swollen, so decided a visit to Rob (my vet) was in order. He felt that possibly her heart wasn’t pumping the fluid around her body efficiently enough, and so put her on heart pills. Pebbles made no progress on these pills, and so I took her back on December 27th 2004 for another appointment with the vets. By this time she was worse than ever, and by the time I got to the surgery, she just wanted to lay flat out on the floor. Patrick decided to insert a needle into her abdomen to see if there was any fluid present. Unfortunately there was – but it was mixed up with blood. Patrick explained that this meant she had a ruptured spleen due to cancer, and told me that there was nothing that could be done for her. I kissed her goodnight and stroked her gently as she went off to sleep forever. Yet again my world fell apart as I drove home with only Pebbles’ lead and my tears for company. As I continued to bottle feed Bili, I decide he needed a name. I try to use Cornish names or words for my dogs where possible, and discovered that Bilien (or Bili) was Cornish for pebble. Hence Bili was christened – as with my precious Honey, there is never a day when I don’t think of her, or miss her terribly – but I like to think she lives on in him, and also in the dogs I have here who are descended from her. Pebbles will live forever through them.