Dear Digby

Don’t bloody die.

As I write this, I am lying in a makeshift bed next to Digby in our sitting room. Today was my last day at OVO and whilst I have felt a bit tired and emotional about it all, I wasn’t expecting to be awake at 1am willing the dog not to die.

When we first decided to get the dog, about two and a half years ago, we did the whole ‘name the dog via Facebook’ game. You know, cute puppy pic, guaranteed responses. We got a few good ones (including Digby, actually) but a good work friend suggested Straw; as in straw that breaks the camel’s back. At the time I’d not long gone back to work and was juggling two children under three (with Olly’s help, obviously).

It was going to be a bit tricky, but we’ve always loved a challenge. Olly is affectionately referred to as “Rig-min” by his friends due to his love of anything that creates extra admin in his life. A dog would be perfect!

Now, I am trying not to get too nostalgic as I contemplate the fact that Digby might not make it. But it has got me thinking a lot about what he has brought to our family since May 2014…and given I love a list, here it is in order of preference:

  1. An outdoor life: we love to get out and an energetic labrador *needs* a decent amount of off-lead exercise every day. We’ve had a couple of cheat (read: hungover) days when the dog and kids have been babysat by cbeebies, but generally speaking, we spend far more time outdoors than we would without him.
  2. Unconditional love: I am probably kidding myself that it’s entirely unconditional, given his blatant hard-wired love of food. But the look, sneeze and smile he gives as we walk down the stairs every morning is so reassuring. He really would love me regardless of job, job title or anything else that I have frequently worried about in recent times.
  3. His patience and love of the boys: he is a WONDERFUL family dog. I have always had the nagging feeling that he is ‘wasted’ on us because he’s super bright and ought to be working. But I really cannot imagine any other creature that would not just tolerate, but seemingly enjoy the boys’ incessant desire to play games and just be around him. Wilf in particular is really forming such a close bond with him and it’s incredible to watch them getting closer every day.
  4. Cleaning the floor: part of the reason he’s in this mess is over-zealous floor cleaning (he ate some corn cobs which can get stuck in their tums and be fatal). However, with two small boys who still insist on eating yoghurt with their hands, his very discrete cleaning is always appreciated.
  5. Protection: I feel safer when he’s around. Be it at home, where I know he’ll give strangers a big woof or out and about where he’s able to spot a wrong-un at ten paces, I know he’d protect us if needed.
  6. His smiles: this should actually be higher up but I probably love and loathe this in equal measure. It’s utterly bonkers that a dog can smile and some have tried to say he’s snarling really. But he’s not. And as much as we love it, it can be a little awkward when people think he’s going to bite their face off!

Now, given he might not make it through the night, I am not going to list the bad things. Feels a bit wrong and I would hate to jinx what is meant to be a post to make myself feel more positive as I struggle to drift off.

Just worth closing off by saying that far from being a Straw, I’d like to think that Digby has been more like Glue that helps bind us all together a family. We would be utterly bereft without him.

So Digby, please don’t bloody die.