It’s been ten and a half years since Harvey entered our family’s lives. Ten and a half years since he first came home with us, sitting between my sister and I in the back seat of our car.
It’s been long enough that it’s hard to remember life without him. Long enough that we could look at him and read every subtle change that told us he was about to start barking for attention or something like that.
Now, sooner than we had wished for, he has left us. But we still have – and always will have – our memories of him.
Memories such as taking him along his favourite walking route every Saturday and Sunday morning, and how he’d always stop to get a drink from the canal.
Playing with his favourite toys, like his blue and yellow parrot, and his pheasant.
Figuring out just where on his head he most liked to be scratched – the best spot seemed to switch around a lot.
How, on his first Christmas, he destroyed most of the new toys we got for him before the day was out, and we learned to check new toys for durability in future.
How he would greet you when you came home: first confirming that it was you, then heading for his toys and picking one to show to you. If you were lucky, he’d make a pleasant ‘rrrrrr’ing noise as he did it. And if he got especially excited, he’d howl at you.
How the action of fetching thrown toys came naturally to him, but he never really got the hang of actually giving something to you, instead keeping it firmly in his mouth and resisting all attempts to take it off him.
How the family in general were so generous with biscuits that he would regularly stand at the back door as if he wanted to go out – and when you opened it for him, he would poke his nose out, then turn around and look up meaningfully at the biscuits, apparently confident that he had done something to merit one.
How, when Dad had given the garden fence a new coat of paint, Harvey decided he had to go up and mark it there and then, and ended up with streaks of paint down one side of his head.
How he developed a peculiar habit of barking over his toybox, the meaning of which we never truly determined – if you offered a toy to him, he’d just give it a sniff and carry on barking.
And how he got over an almost-lifelong fear of swimming by undergoing hydrotherapy sessions, which he enjoyed so much that he wouldn’t even stop to rest when permitted to.
It’s a painful time for me and my whole family, but we were lucky to have Harvey in our lives at all. Harvey was a wonderful friend, and a very special dog. He will live on in the spirit of his young companion Finlay, and in all our hearts.
Goodbye, Harvey. You will never be forgotten.