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Cherish your pet.. and take plenty of pictures; RECORD PETS.

Byline: NEIL MCINTOSH

TWO months have passed since I had to put Scud, our own wee rescue dog, to sleep in front of the fire at home.

The mood in the house has not changed much so far.

Anyone reading this who has lost a much-loved pet will know exactly what I mean.

My son and daughter have lost a constant companion, who was ever present throughout their childhood.

One minute, I catch them smiling and realise they are savouring a memory of Scud in the snow, or curled up at their feet, or sneaking her a portion of their dinner.

The next, I see tears welling, as it dawns on them they will never see her again, they are no longer able to give her a stroke or a cuddle and they will not get the chance to shout "Scud! Leave!" one last time.

My daughter complains she has never before been left alone in the house, as Scud was always there to give her confidence.

I feel the same, as I have realised that, no matter what the rest of the family were up to, I never returned to an empty home.

Scud's presence in her bed was reassurance that all was well.

I now wish I had recorded her barking at someone's arrival, just so I could play it back whenever anyone comes to the door.

Come to think of it, we all wish we had recorded more, taken more photographs and used the video function on our phones to capture every aspect of her character. But it's too late for that.

Funnily enough, a recent trawl through family albums has proved that Scud was there in the background almost all the time.

In many photographs, she is trotting along behind, head up, tail wagging, relishing her position as friend, confidant, protector and playmate.

I guess we just took her presence for granted, presuming she would always be there.

You would think I might have known better, given my day to day job, but the problem is you never think that it is going to happen to you.

The reality is stark, however. Because it will.

And we should be prepared for it.

Not by worrying about the future and wondering what life will be like without them but by making the most of the present and ensuring you enjoy their company to the full.

Now is the time to build a massive memory bank of special moments, to get the picture that will remain forever on the mantelpiece and to lock away the essence of them in your heart.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 17, 2016
Words:433
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