How do you get over the loss of a member of your family. Especially if that member has been with you for over 12 years – has watched and nurtured and protected all 5 of your grandchildren, and has given you so much pleasure that it almost hurts? Well, my way of getting over the pain of losing Daisy the Dog is to write a piece on Daisy, the foodie fiend.
Erik and I first realised that we had a silent foodie fiend when we began our fabulous Kitchen Garden in Hessle. Raised beds kept animals off most of the food, but when I started to grow all manner of tomatoes in my greenhouse – red, purple, almost black, yellow and orange – a strange thing happened.
We hadn’t fenced the Kitchen Garden off from the main garden, so the animals could wander up and down to suit themselves. My tomato plants were planted in their tomato bags in the greenhouse, and against the fence, and grew rapidly. Little coloured fruits appeared in profusion. Suddenly we noticed various coloured tomatoes scattered around the main parts of the garden, and we couldn’t figure it out. Then one day we saw Daisy very gently pick up a tomato off the lawn and toss it up in the air. She didn’t bite it, so it landed on the soft grass and she picked it up again. This happened a few times, and over a few day we realised that she had wandered into the greenhouse and helped herself. Each tomato she played with lasted about three days, then she bit into them, spat them out and probably went to get another one.
So …… a green picket fence and gate went up to protect the tomatoes from our foodie fiend, tomatoes grew to full size, and occasionally we gave Daisy one to play with just for the fun of watching her.
But for Daisy, her absolute passion was carrots.
Last night, almost 2 weeks after losing Daisy, our cuddly Airedale Terrier, to old age and old bones, I was prepping our tea. One of the ingredients was carrots, and as I washed and started to peel the juicy, fresh orange sticks I felt strange.
“What’s the matter now?” I asked myself. Then I remembered.
A sadness suddenly washed over me. Tears threatened to come again. For as long as I can remember Daisy had been addicted to carrots. She had a sixth-sense (or a brilliant sense of smell) whenever we came back from the shops with carrots. As we pushed open the front door, she would arrive to inspect the shopping and just knew without doubt that carrots were in the shopping basket. Carrots had to go in the fridge, well out of Daisy’s reach.
Then, whenever I retrieved the carrots from the fridge (even before I took them out of the brown bag), Daisy appeared. As I washed and peeled them, she would gently nudge the back of my legs to let me know she was expecting a treat, and I would laugh and tell her to not be impatient. But as my favourite chopping knife clunked on the chopping board, the nudges became more insistent.
“OK. OK.” I laughed. “You’ll have then in a minute.”
So Daisy would get the top and the bottom of the carrots, and bits in-between – often leaving Erik and myself with fewer carrots than intended for our meal.
7 years after Daisy came to live with us, Fizzi arrived. She was Daisy’s cousin from the same ‘Woofy Kennels’ in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and she was a bundle of fluff. But as she grew up, she had longer legs and was taller than Daisy, and very competitive. The chance of any foodie treats going became a serious game as to which dog was the quickest, so when Fizzi was first introduced to carrots, she tried to snatch the crunchy orange chunks before Daisy had a chance. But it became obvious that carrots weren’t to Fizzi’s taste – imagine a child with a mouthful of ‘yucky’ food, the face screwed up and the distaste showing in all of their body language – at first Fizzi spat the carrots out, but then suddenly realised that if she did that, Daisy would get the pieces. So begrudginly Fizzi would eat the carrots, just so that Daisy couldn’t!
But last night, Fizzi didn’t even bother to come into the kitchen when she heard me chopping – I suppose to Fizzi, the competition with Daisy to see who could get the most food was more important than actually eating anything.
Fizzi is missing Daisy so much. We all are – it’s 2 weeks since our lovely old Daisy passed away, and Fizzi is only just getting back to eating properly again. She refused food, and Erik has been cooking chicken for her to tempt her, but even that has been slow to work. We made the fatal mistake of leaving the door open downstairs, and she now comes up and lays on our bed, sometimes from 1.00 am, so that is why I am up at 5.50 am this morning, typing this. There is not enough room for the 3 of us in our bed, and either it’s me downstairs in the doggy bed, or Fizzi!
But although it’s a sad farewell for Daisy, we will all survive, even Fizzi. We have such incredibly happy and amusing memories of her – let’s face it, twelve and a half years of sharing our lives with one of the most gentle and quirky dogs I have ever known, (not forgetting her being a foodie fiend), will stay in our hearts and minds forever.
This is the last picture we took of Daisy, in our new Hornsea garden a couple of months ago.
Daisy – A Sad Farewell
2001 – 2013