I have fond memories of Lils (but not of Hils).
Getting up at the crack of dawn (or, more often, being woken up by a barking bundle of energy who didn't want to be cooped up a moment longer).
The way she looked at me excitedly: "Please Sir, can we go out NOW?"
The way she knew that when I reached for my trainers her wish was about to be granted
She strained at the leash. She was still a little girl at heart. But she was growing up fast; learning to obey and understanding what the rules were. Until we had crossed the road and walked through the churchyard she had to behave.
Then I would set her free. To bound across the fields. And chase birds and rabbits. All of the time having fun. While keeping half an eye on me so she knew just how far she could go as she raced hither and thither.
When it was time to head for home she would sit while I hooked the rope back on to her collar. Because, back on the path, rules had to be obeyed.
But she'd still pull like a train on the road back home through the village. Because she knew we would return to bacon butties or sausage sandwiches. And she'd sit at the end of the kitchen counter with her wonderful liquid eyes.
"Please Sir. Dry biscuit is so dull. Tomato ketchup is so much more tasty..."
She undoubtedly "topped from the bottom". But she was adorable. And trusting. And loyal. Unlike the so-called sub I was dog-sitting with.
The moral of the tale? Man's best friend is...
Love is blind
I've told quite a few people what happened.
Almost all of them asked the same questions:
Did you not spot the warning signs?
What on earth possessed you to give her another chance?
For quite a time I began to wonder whether my judgement was totally shot to pieces.
But when I talked about it with a counsellor the answer was so obvious. It had been staring me in the face all along.
I told my counsellor how everyone kept raising those points. I'd barely finished the "what on earth made you to give her another chance" question when my counsellor simply said:
"It's obvious. You loved her."
Oh how blind love can be. How could I have been so taken in by someone even my counsellor was moved to describe as "very nasty"?
Looking back on it, there were lots of things I should have spotted.
Maybe it's naive, but surely you don't go into a relationship questioning whether the other person should be trusted. And you don't expect the person you love to betray you at every turn.
Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing...
This is a story that has to be told...
... for lots of reasons.
It won't change anything.
It won't make anything better. Though it might help me lay the last few ghosts to rest.
But it might make a difference.
I wasn't her first victim. Nor, I fear, am I likely to be her last.
So perhaps by telling my story I might help prevent someone else being made a fool of the way that I was.
This blog is dedicated to all the other people she hurt (there were many) and everyone else who got caught in the cross-fire.
You may not want to hear it. But it's about time somebody told you the truth.
To be continued...