Friday, 5 May 2017

Farewell, Archie

Archie: 2000 - 2017

This morning, I took Archie for his final walk (actually two of them), he had his final breakfast, he made his last visit to Mam and Dad's house, and then he took his final ride in the car on his fluffy blanket.
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Do I get a treat for sitting so nicely?
Archie has been in fragile health for many years - he had a really bad back as the result of an attack by a much bigger dog a few years ago, and the injury constantly threatened the feeling in all four legs.  He also had a failing liver and a heart murmur, and the latter was slowly but surely getting worse and meant he was losing power in his back legs.  Throughout all this, he was he usual chirpy and stoic self and always looked well considering how many health problems he had.  He loved his food (particularly biscuits and tuna) and he loved his walks, right up until the end.
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I love it here, lots of sniffs to sniff, lots of people to admire me.  Now, how about a biscuit?
Yesterday evening, I took him to the field (one of his favourite sniffing spots) and although initially keen to be there, he lost interest after a few minutes and it was then that I thought 'I think he's starting to fade.'  He was poorly overnight and I got up at half one and stayed up with him, sitting on the floor next to him while he snored away under a blanket without a care in the world.  I just couldn't bear to go upstairs and leave him on what I knew was his last night with me.
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It's late, why are you still up?

While I was sitting with him, I thought about where I would take him for his final walk, and eventually decided that he'd like it to be at the beach as in his younger days he loved being there chasing stones, eating seaweed (and then throwing it back up in the boot on the way home) and digging a hole right at your feet if you stood still for longer than thirty seconds.  He was astonishingly good at running into the shallows after a stone and would come back with the right one, even if he'd never seen it before it was thrown.  I don't know how he did it, I can only assume that enough of my scent remained, even when immersed in the sea.  So this morning, I took him for a walk to the headland as it was as close to the beach as I could get him (too far for him to walk/be carried onto the sand and there's plenty of sniffs to be had in the long grass) and he had a marvellous time.  He got straight up off his bed when I asked if he'd like to go for a walk, his ears were fantastic and he wandered round for about twenty-five minutes, even haring off down one of the paths towards the beach.  (Old dogs are a lot like toddlers: they can move faster than you think when they want!)
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Just the ticket: one final photo shoot.  Remember our agreement about payment upfront?

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Aren't I handsome?

On the way home, I stopped at the top of the road (his most favourite sniffing spot) so he could have one last sniff and say goodbye to all the sniffs he has known and loved. He came back and promptly gobbled up a piece of chicken sausage, and then more sausage along with some chicken.  He was so perky and like his usual self that I began to wonder if I'd been mistaken, but deep down I knew it was a last hurrah and that it was time to say goodbye.  We went to see our favourite vet (and our favourite two receptionists) and he ate nigh on an entire packet of treats while waiting.  It was important that I let him go while he was still happy and still having more good days than bad: I didn't want to hang onto him because I couldn't bear to let him go, I wanted him to still have some quality of life and to walk into the vets', not be rushed in and carried in a blanket.  Me and Mam stayed with him the whole time and he wasn't frightened: I know I made the right decision for him, at the right time for him.



Archie, we met in August 2001 when I visited a small local animal sanctuary with Dad and Charlie, and the moment I saw you in the cage, I knew you were the dog for me and I was the owner for you.  You pressed your side against the mesh so I could stroke you and then you put your paw through one of the gaps and dragged my hand towards your armpit and chest, where you particularly liked to be stroked.  You did that many times over the years and I never failed to remember that moment in the rescue centre.
Aw, you had to pull out your sock again?
Fuss me

Thirty minutes after pulling up, and after a little walk round the woods with Charlie (to make sure you got on), we put you in the car and headed for home.  You sang all the way home and wandered round the back of the car, and I wondered if you were starting as you meant to go on.  In fact, you sang in the car for many, many years as you knew that going in the car meant going somewhere exciting.  I can't say I appreciated it all the time, but it was part of what made you you.
Comfier than it looks, honest!

More sun, fantastic!

People have wondered why I decided to call you Archie The Wonder Dog, and that's an easy one to answer: you were wonderful.  And also, because you used to lie on a favourite bed in such a way that you reminded me of Superman:



You were always obedient and keen to please (except when you nearly killed yourself chewing through the casing on the plug for the fridge-freezer while it was plugged in and switched on and it's only because you managed to pull it from the wall before you got right through the casing that I had you until today.  And the time you chewed my car tax renewal notice and the post master humiliated Mam when she handed it over.) and you only got lost once, when you followed the wrong person in the dark.  You'd been living here for about three months and you ran all the way home and waited for me at the gate, wandering out to greet me with an envious nonchalance as I gasped for breath, having also run all the way home after another walker said they'd seen a white dog sprinting up the cut.
Can we get going yet, I've got sniffs to find!
You were the whitest dog I have ever known and you kept your lovely white coat right to the end - no yellowing or grizzled muzzle for you and you deserved the nickname the local bairns gave you of 'Daz Dog': other dog owners would stop to ask how I kept you so clean, but it was all down to you and the fact that you tiptoed round deep puddles rather than running through them.  Not that you were afraid of getting dirty, just that you were afraid of water (which made bath time very stressful, even when you were being washed outside with a bucket of tepid soapy water and a flannel) and I always wondered if something had happened to you as a puppy.  You were in that rescue centre twice: once as a puppy and then again eighteen months later when your first family took you back.  I could never understand how or why they did that, but I'm glad they did because it meant I got to look after the best rescue dog who ever lived, and for that I will always be grateful.
Thank you for giving me my own way over breakfast - I'm just taking advantage of the sunny mornings while they last, it is almost October, you know.
I'm so white, I shine!
Archie, you have been my constant companion for nigh on sixteen years and I don't know what I'm going to do without you.  The house feels odd and I keep looking to see where you are and if you're okay.  I know you are, though, because you're with Dad, Charlie and Alfie, probably running around on the search for food.  You'll have to be quick, though, to beat Charlie to it!
It's tuna night! Something about her having to keep stocked up on tuna ice cubes, but I don't care about the reason! And wait until you hear this! There was tuna in my bowl with my tea! Actual tuna, not just the smell or the water!
I love tuna!
You loved a walk and you loved a biscuit (or three) and any combination of those made you happy.  You loved to walk on the beach, in the woods, on the moors or just round our local area and you were so obedient that you could be off the lead as soon as we left the roads behind.  You never ran off after something (apart from the odd half-hearted chase of a rabbit when you felt you owed your terrier ancestry to give it a go) and would always come back at the pip of the whistle.  Of course, you weren't always quite so obedient when it came to food and once nibbled a snout-sized hole in the bottom of the spare food bag (which lived under the settee in the conservatory at that point) and ate about a fortnight's worth of food in a few days!
Yum!

You loved to play find the treat, and I would hide them round the house so you could find and eat them.  You greeted every visitor with the expectation of treats (and weren't afraid to put your nose in their bags to check for provisions) and you once even climbed on a park bench next to a friend who always gave you a treat and ate all the treats out of his coat pocket!  However, you were so charming that you got away with it, and he even got the treats out of his other pocket for you.
There's someone coming and he's definitely bringing biscuits - I requested them!

You were excellent at finding things the food fairy had left for you - an entire packet of biscuits, cheese, burgers, chips, a jam doughnut (although to be fair, that was momentarily left on the ground (in a box) by a boy playing hide and seek with his friends, not by the food fairy, but you weren't to know that and you certainly ate it with impressive speed - the boy couldn't believe how fast you were and how little you chewed it) and the only time you didn't come back when called was when you had your nose in a bag of food or you were searching for the final crumb from a piece of cake.  You always gave yourself away, though, because you'd come back licking your lips and looking very pleased with your find.  You also would spend hours standing at the fence between us and a previous set of neighbours when they had a barbecue because you knew that at some point a substantial piece of chicken would be passed to you.  In fact, they used to cook one specially for you so you didn't miss out!
I love my next door neighbours
Any moment now...
You had a lovely curly tail, which was incredibly hard to photograph, and the most expressive ears (and eyes) of any dog I've met: your ear action was good until the end.

Have you taken enough photos yet?

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I think the lilac complements my ear action - what do you think?
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The wind is playing havoc with my ears!
You loved a sunny spot, either inside or out:
Archie's to do list has one thing on it today: enjoy the sun!
Wall, I do love you.
and would lie on the front grass bathing in the sun and keeping watch for anything happening on the street.
I do love the feel of the sun on my back, even if the ground beneath my tummy is damp.
Nothing to report as yet.
Enjoying the sun
I'm afraid I can't look at you for much longer, I need to keep an eye on the street!

You also loved the snow, and would run gleefully through it, not at all fazed by the cold under your paws.
Archie in the snow
I love snow!!!
You also loved your sleep and would cover yourself completely in a blanket so that you couldn't be seen.  More than once I couldn't find you in the house, only to discover that you were under the heap of blankets and beds.  You much preferred to be under a bed than on it, and I'd often find you perfectly covered by a blanket...and laid on the cold kitchen floor.
I didn't like being in the kitchen by myself and the noise from the dishwasher meant I couldn't hear the marvellous Sandi and her QI facts so I've moved into the front room. I'm hoping to absorb the facts while I doze...
Zzzzzzzz

 The sound of gentle snores emanating from a blanket has been the soundtrack to the last sixteen years (well, that and the sound of you whingeing for another biscuit), and the house is silent now it's stopped.  Like a clock that's stopped ticking and which leaves an echoing silence in its stead.

I will miss you, Archie, in more ways than I can say.  I could fill hours with stories of how wonderful you were: kind, gentle, sympathetic, amusing. However, none of them would convey how much I love you or, indeed, how much I know you loved me.

Farewell, Archie, you were adored by many, and you are missed.

Keeping your eyes open and your head up is very hard when you're in a sunny spot. Particularly when you haven't yet had your breakfast. (I can smell it cooking, though, so I won't have to wait much longer!)
This is the life!

What's that, Mini Archie? Yes, @jenniesthreads has been working hard recently on some of her already started projects, that's true. Do you think we should take that into account when making our decision?
What's that, little one?

My other ear?  I don't know what you mean!

How can you resist this face?   You can't?  Great, I'll have a biscuit, please!

Are you sure pink's my colour?

Archie in the garden

Goodbye, Archie, and thank you.

72 comments:

  1. Sending you muchly love... Streaming tears... Beautiful x

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  2. I've followed your blog for years as I'm a keen quilter, but I also looked forward to your posts to get updates on Archie the Wonder Dog. Such a handsome pup! I'm so sorry for your loss, but please do know that you gave him the best life possible, and he was well loved. I will keep you both in my thoughts. Love and hugs from a longtime reader in Los Angeles.

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  3. What a beautiful tribute to your precious Archie. Thinking of you with much love and quite a few tears. Xxx

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  4. Unable to read for tears, Archie was definitely a Wonder Dog. A lovely tribute. Hugs

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  5. Oh gawd, the tears....what a beautiful tribute.

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  6. Such a beautiful tribute to your sweet boy. I'm so glad you were able to let him go with such love, dignity and peace. Sending all the love, Moogs xxx

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  7. Oh no �� this blog post made me cry. So so sorry to hear Archie has died. I hope you are ok xx

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  8. Such a beautiful, eloquent post and my heart is full of tears for y. We have also suffered a family loss this week and I feel how full your heart must be right now.

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  9. Well, shit. There's proper ugly crying happening right here - what a lovely eulogy to the auld boy and what a wonderful thing to do for him letting him go as you did. The absolute highest form of unselfish love and no more than he deserved. Love and snottery cuddles from me. X

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  10. tears running down my face, you so made the right decision to let him go with dignity, too often we selfishly let them go on too long, wishing I could give you huge hug and will be thinking of you lots over the weekend xxx

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  11. Jack and I are sitting here sharing a very soggy hanky right now. We're so glad he had such a lovely last day though, and we'll be thinking of you xx

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  12. To make that decision is sooooo hard...we know as we did it a couple years ago for our Slate. We will all miss that tuna loving pupper. Hugs to you and your family dear girl! xo

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  13. So here's my confession: there are lots and lots and lots of dogs on Instagram and lots of dogs on blog posts, but Archie is the only one I ever hit the Like button for. Whether it was your clever captions, his willingness to pose, or the obvious affection that you had for him, I loved seeing him pop up in my feed. My heart is sad for you, for us. Thank you for sharing him with us all these years. Thank you for this heartfelt final tribute. Hugs to you from afar--Elizabeth

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  14. Standing waiting to board, kidding on I have something in my eye. Only you could write such a tribute Helen. What a boy, you made such a fine pair. Take care.xx

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  15. I'm bawling my eyes out.
    Must have broken your heart Helen. So thrilled to have met Archie with you, Sheila. Wasn't that a fun day!
    Amazing blog post. Your words and photos are such a delight. So glad Archie had lived in my phone and computer for almost 6years . Xx

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  16. Oh Helen I'm so sorry. Archie was a very lucky boy and you are a lucky lady to have such love. What a beautiful post you've written for him xxxxx

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  17. It is so so hard and a massive loss. Huge hugs xxx

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  18. Oh Helen such a beautiful post about a beautiful boy πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’› although I'll have to come back and finish reading as I can't see through the tears - I'm heartbroken for you 😘 Sending big hugs xxxx

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  19. I've had to stop reading a couple of times and wipe my eyes and blow my nose. I will miss you Archie, you were a treat to read about. I so looked forward to seeing those beautiful ears.

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  20. Dear Helen, these were very sad news. I'm so sorry but you made right decision. I'm crying and reading your beautiful story about Archie, his life, memories and photos. You were both lucky to find each others. He is now having a nap on a puffy white cloud and most likely only his nose picking out. Archie was for sure super Wonder dog and we all miss him. Sending you hugs xxx Teje

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  21. So I am starting my Saturday bawling my eyes out for you, and only Archie could achieve that from me, cracking my stoney-faced facade the little bugger! I am just so sad. Archie had been there with us ever since the days of manic blogging and getting to know everyone in our stitchy universe, and he will have a place in all our hearts and memories forever.
    You know he will be being spoilt rotten by your Dad and he'll be blushing at your beautiful tribute.
    We are all here for you and sharing your loss. Love xxx

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  22. I am so glad you had so many good years together and proud that you could do this last important service for Archie. I had to do the same for my little Daisy 2 years ago & I remember how hard it was. Choked up is such an accurate description. I miss her every day but I am so glad she was in my life and I feel it will be the same for you & Archie.
    It is great that he had you to love him.
    Take especial care of yourself.
    Lush x

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  23. Xxxxxxxx and OOOOO love Boo xx

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  24. Oh Helen, how sorry I am to hear this. You have written a beautiful tribute to your little partner in mischief. You obviously loved and cared for him in a very special way, a way that you were able to draw others of us into so that Archie's adventures were worth reading and bought him a spot of affection in our hearts too. Thinking of you at such s head time xx

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  25. Such a beautiful, eloquent tribute Helen to your wonderful Archie. How brave and unselfish you have been to let him go with the dignity he so deserves. I'm sitting with tears in my eyes and sadness in my heart for your loss and hoping you will find comfort in your happy memories of life with Archie. Thinking of you. Xxxx

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  26. so much love to you. Archie will be missed xxxxx

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  27. I can't imagine how long this must have taken you to write. He was the best dog a girl could have, wasn't he? A gentleman and a dear friend. I'm glad you have so many wonderful photos of him to remember him by. It's not only a wonderful tribute to the legend that was Archie, it's a beautiful, moving, eloquent and unsentimental piece of writing about your relationship with a great friend.

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  28. Archie and his ears have been a delight to follow since I started blogging. Such a lovely little chap, he will be missed.
    So sad for your loss, xxx

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  29. Farewell, you handsome boy,
    I adored you,
    you were my favourite animal on Instagram!

    Helen, you gave him a royal life
    Take care! Big dachshundie hug.

    Brigitte

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  30. My heart goes out to you, I have been in your position many times and it never gets any easier,...I looked for Archie and his ears, first on your emails and blog.

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  31. Oh Helen, what a wonderful tribute, what a massive loss, I will put mini Bud on treble teacayks rations in Archies honour, ears are at half mast chez Budsmam xxx

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  32. Oh Helen, I am so very sorry to hear about wee Archie. You must be truly devastated, but what a beautiful tribute to your boy. I know how hard it must have been for you to let him go bless you. HUGS xx

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  33. I am so sorry for your loss. I loved your stories and pictures of Archie. I have a dog with a personality much like his, and I will be devastated when I have to say good bye to her. Thanks for sharing him with all your readers.

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  34. What a beautiful tribute to your boy. I'm so so sorry for your loss.

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  35. Beautiful writing for Archie Helen. He had all the pleasures of the doggy world right up to goodbye. So sad for you but a special thoughtful farewell. xxx

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  36. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful dog. Rest In Peace, dear Archie the Wonder Dog, and hugs to you.

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  37. Oh Helen I really feel for you, am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute post for Archie- struggle to read it through the tears. Sending you hugs.xxx

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  38. Such a loving and soulful rendering of a truly rewarding relationship. I loved following Archie's escapades and your captions were always spot on funny. He could not have asked for a better companion. So sorry for your loss. I'm hugging my own ball of fur as I type this.

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  39. Our furry friends mean so much to us. I feel for you so much that I could get past the first three pictures before I had a lump in my throat and my eyes were so blurry that I couldn't see. My husband asked me what was wrong and I choked on the words. We just lost our furry friend in January and it still feels like yesterday. *Hugz* At least our furry friends are off playing together somewhere.

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  40. Oh, I don't know what to say, I can barely see what I'm typing. I loved that little guy like I love my Molly Brown and Jessie. Sometimes I didn't read your every word but I always looked at Archie's pictures and the little captions.

    our girls are both rescues, Molly is 11 yrs. and Jessie is 9. Molly has a heart murmur and I watch her so closely. Our last Vet visit showed it haven't changed in the last 6 months and I am so grateful.

    I truly believe in The Rainbow Bridge, I know they will be waiting for us and I find myself waiting for that reunion. I do feel your pain, I just don't have words to express my sorrow. I just need some fur right now, the girls are napping but I don't care I need to hug and kiss them.

    I a truly so very sorry but loving them as we do it is our duty to respect their quality of life.

    Blessings,
    Joyce

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  41. A fitting tribute to your beautiful boy, so sad to hear you had to say your final farwells, but it sounds like you sent him off in style... love and hugs Sally anc Daisy-dog xxx

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  42. So sorry to read that! I loved to read all the stories. I can only send you a big hug

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  43. Whenever I open my email and find a posting from 'Archie the Wonder Dog' I always smile and can not wait to see you and Archie have been up to. My heart goes out to you and your family.

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  44. Oh I'm so sad and crying. I will miss each of your posts ending with Archie. He photographed so well. What a beautiful tribute. Hugs.

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  45. I know how hard it is to loose your best doggie pal. I throughly enjoyed reading your blog about quilting, and of course Archie the wonder dog. He will be missed by you and all your readers very much. Bye Archie - we are going to miss your cute face and your wonky ears.

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  46. I couldn't read too much of this. I know what you have been through. Can't stop the tears.

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  47. I'm so, so sorry to hear this Helen. Blogland will never be the same without dear Archie and his antics. I'm glad he had such a lovely last day and your post is a wonderful tribute to him. He was a very, very lucky dog to have you care for him all these years. Hugs :) xxx

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  48. And am so sorry to hear this, love and hugs to you xxx

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  49. THE Wonder Dog, like no other. I am thankful for the many, many smiles Archie provoked with photos, & to you for sharing them here. He was a blogging superstar who will be missed by so many!

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  50. I am so sorry, Helen. i'm sure you will miss him dreadfully, but you did the right, brave and generous thing to give him such a lovely day then let him go. I am crying for you.

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  51. Oh! There is nothing I can say that has not already been said! He was a lovely, special dog! I will so miss his photo appearing on my IG and Blog feeds! He cheered me up on 'down' days! May he have many happy hours in doggy heaven!

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  52. Whilst you will have the greatest heartache so many of us enjoyed seeing his wonderful characterful face pop up in our feed. He had such a sweet expression and those ears... But he looked amazing for his age. I couldn't believe it when you made that joke about him learning to drive on his 17th birthday. All down to your care and devotion which was so very obviously mutual. I loved reading his biography - such precious memories and a fitting tribute to the dog of IG and blog land. Take care and I will give you the best advice I was given when I lost my best friend which was to be kind to yourself

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  53. Oh sweetie I'm bawling here. I know exactly how you are feeling as I still miss Stan even after 18 months or so. I just hope they are chasing stones on the beach together xxxx

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  54. I'm so sorry to hear about Archie. I have loved coming to your blog to read about his adventures. It was always curious to me that he liked tuna so much and I dearly loved watching his ears.

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  55. Just repeating what everyone else has said - I'm so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you.

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  56. Oh H I'm so sorry! I know I'm going to miss him and I never met him! I can't imagine what it's like for you! You have him a great life - a terrific third chance! Xxxx

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  57. Oh Helen, I am so sorry to hear this! I am just catching up on blogs this morning and was so shocked to read the title of your post. You poor things, you must be absolutely heart broken. Sending you lots of love and hugs. I will so miss seeing photos of sweet Archie on IG, though I know you will continue to post them for all his fans (and for you). xxx

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  58. What a sweet tribute to your beautiful dog, Archie! I've enjoyed reading here.

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  59. Oh Helen, I'm so sorry to read your news, Archie will be so missed by all of us out here in BLOGLAND but he had the best of days with you and and the best life a dog could wish for, and as always you made the best of decisions for him when the time was right.
    Lorraine

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  60. I am so very sorry for your loss. Your post is a beautiful tribute to him and the joy you brought to each other's life. I will miss seeing his sweet, funny, unique ears. Thank you for sharing Archie with all of us.

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  61. I'm struggling for words. Other than I feel your pain. You didn't let him suffer, can there be a love stronger than that. Take care Helen xx

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  62. I'm so sorry to hear about Archie. It's so hard to lose a dog, I know. You did the right thing in not letting him suffer. I'll miss seeing him on here. Sending hugs x

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  63. I'm so sorry Helen, not an easy decision to make xxx

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  64. In so sorry Helen, not an easy decision to make xxx

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  65. So sorry to read about Archie. What a lovely tribute you wrote for him and lovely photos.

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  66. I've been Archie's fan for about... 8 or 9 years, since I discovered your site. I always looked for his news after reading your posts, and now I'm writing this in tears... although we were in advice about his health issues. Sorry for your loss, Helen, it's so hard when there comes the time to say goodbye to our loved four-legged pals! Thank you for sharing his wonderful adventures with all of us!

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  67. What a sweet and heartbreaking tribute to a wonderful dog who was far more than just a dog in every way. He gave you all his love and devotion for all those years, and you, in turn, gave it right back to him. I am so very sorry you have lost him. And reading of your struggle with knowing when the time had come--brings tears to my eyes as I remember all those precious dogs that I've had the honor to love.
    For a smile--I have a friend who calls all those poses for ears--Dog Yoga :)

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  68. I loved your tribute to Archie and will miss the updates on him. He certainly was a special part of your family. If I miss him, I can only imagine how you must feel. I hope you will continue to post about your projects when the time is right to do so. I keep checking to see if you have posted anything on your blog. I hope you are doing ok.

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  69. Oh I'm so very, very sorry to read this. I realize I'm late but until I saw your Instagram post today I didn't know about Archie's passing. Oh he was such a charmer and I enjoyed his antics so much! I also had started my quilting blog (ages ago) with my Rottweiler Jada and she was always my assistant. I looked so forward to your updates and seeing was Archie was up to. He was one well-loved dog and he had such a wonderful partner in you. Best friends .... Jada will always be in my heart as I know Archie is in yours. Peace and love, Molly

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  70. Oh my goodness, I just saw your comment on another blog and didn't know you had a blog. I've followed you on Insta for little while, so I knew Archie just a bit before the end. I'm so sorry. What a beautiful tribute to a faithful friend! I really miss seeing that face and ears pop up on the Insta feed (but I'm enjoying the little Archie and his knitting adventures). Hope you are adjusting to life without him. Hugs.

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  71. Oh dear. I'm crying all over again. You have written so beautifully about Archie! xox

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