Just when you thought my posts could not be any more depressing, here comes one about a dead dog! My dead dog to be exact. Exactly one week ago this morning, we had to say goodbye to our much beloved pooch Herbie. The week since has without a doubt been the worst week of my life, so in the hope that something…..anything……can make this easier, I decided to write about my best buddy.

The Herbster came into our world way back in December 2006, when our friends Sinead, Eden and Joe picked him up in Limerick. He was the runt of a litter of 5, and was only a few weeks old when he arrived in his new home in Knockcroghery, County Roscommon, right next door to us! We very soon spotted a little ball of white fur in the back garden, and it wasn’t long before he was in the back door in search of what would remain Herb’s obsession for his entire long and happy life……food!!! Intelligent as he was, he quickly realised that the more neighbours he called to, the more his belly would be filled. That was a lesson that served him well over the next 14 odd years.

When Herb’s family were gone out to work, he would often hang out in his fenced in back garden….though it only fenced him in for a short while. If I was at home, I would often hear a loud banging noise, followed by the appearance of two white paws over the next door fence, and then the sight of the rest of Herbie scrambling over as he escaped to freedom. It was a nice safe estate, and he had plenty of room to roam.

Herb and his family moved house to Kilteevan in June 2009, and of course we missed his presence around the place. In his new more rural location, he had lots of scope for long walks with his beloved human brother Eden, but less neighbours to beg from!! We often visited our buddies in the sticks (Knockcroghery being so cosmopolitan in comparison) and were always greeted by the happiest and luckiest dog in the world….usually sending socks and golf tees flying in the process!!

Not that long after, the global economic recession began to bite……Herb would read the Financial Times to keep himself informed…….and eventually Herb’s family decided to move to Dubai for work. They were all devastated to have to say goodbye to the Herbster…….can’t blame them……and we were lucky enough to adopt the little white lunatic. Herbie Conran Rogan became Herbie Conran Rogan Sugrue O’Driscoll (quadruple barrelled wanker) in March 2011, and he was with us right up to his passing on 14 March 2021.

When Herb joined us……right next door to his first house…..I was in the middle of a mid life crisis under the guise of being a mature student…….or as I told whoever asked, upskilling into the knowledge economy. Therefore I had a lot of time at home hanging out with my buddy……I mean studying……and we would go for multiple walks and have lots of chats until Herbie got sick of listening to me and wandered off around his old manor making sure everyone knew who was the King of Dun Ard.

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In 2016, we decided we weren’t quite alcoholic enough, so we moved into the nearby town of Athlone to be closer to pubs……and obviously restaurants, the theatre, cinema, library and all that shite. But mostly pubs. As he always did, Herb settled in quickly……he was always very adaptable……didn’t mind where he was as long as he was with the people he loved. He made lots of new friends, and quickly became very popular in St Kieran’s Terrace…..and he also learned who would give him the most treats…..I’m looking at you Marie and Jimmy!!! And of course he landed in to see our next door neighbours whenever he felt like it, usually frightening the shite out of little Bella and Max!

Herbie was also very affluent, and owned a holiday home in Kerry, where both his parents hail from. So he spent plenty of time down there, and developed a love of the beach and paddling in the water…..though he never learned to swim. Herb also had a habit of bringing the biggest stones he could find back to my car, and for a while I had a mini quarry going on in my back seat. A constant throughout his life was his love of the car, and he didn’t mind where we went and how long it took as long as he could go too. Herbie also spent a lot of time with his grandparents Helen and Mike and his uncle Jamie when we were off on one of our trips to god knows where. He also loved to visit his other grandparents James and Assumpta, uncles Garry and Don, auntie Karan and his cousins Lucy and Ella……seriously has any dog ever been so loved by so many people!!

And then sadly the end came last weekend, and I was not ready…..I was never going to be. Right now the sense of loss is severe. Our lives were intertwined…..he was obviously dependent on me but I was also dependent on him in my own way. I knew this was coming as he was old and his legs were going, and I knew this would be bad, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad. Everybody tells me that I did the right thing, despite being wracked with guilt over his last weekend on earth, but that’s coming at it from a practical standpoint…..’the dog’ was old and sick so you don’t let him suffer…..you put him out of his misery. But that’s the dispassionate viewpoint……..it completely ignores the 14 year bond that a person has with their dog. We spent a hell of a lot of time together, and now there’s a huge void in my life. His absence is most keenly felt in our house and in my car where he spent so much time.

I’m sure time will help, and as it goes on I will hopefully only have good memories of him. But right now, all I can focus on is his last days, and wondering if I contributed to unnecessary suffering for him, and most of all the reality of never seeing him again, which is the worst feeling of all. Goodbye Herbie my beloved friend. I will always miss you, but hopefully I won’t always feel this bad about it.

3 thoughts on “Herbie

  1. Wow Flor, this is a fantastic tribute to a fabulous four legged friend & son, I laughed in parts mixed with tears flowing down my face (pretty sight not…). Hopefully the pain you are in at the moment will ease soon, think of all the happy memories made over the years and stop torturing yourself thinking of his last weekend.

    He nearly took the boys out by not learning to swim, their uncle bought them one of those blow up dingy so one fine Sunday morning this was blown up and put on roof of the car, we headed out to Portrun Jetty, the boys set sail and Herbs thinking he was missing out & his bro’s were leaving him, the lunatic dived into the water forgetting that he couldn’t swim!! He grabbled at the boat, the boys seeing that he was panicking left the boat to help him get back to the jetty, Herbs managed to scrape Ede & Pete everywhere, his black harness was how the boys managed to pull him to the jetty where Joe laid on his stomach so he could grab the harness from the boys dragging him up onto solid ground…. Herbie refused to shower for a week after that he was so scarred of the water!! Blinking idiot had a few close encounters with water, tried to chase swans on frozen water forgetting his size!! He was full of fun, had a fantastic life and was loved by more people than any other pup i have ever met xxx.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely tribute to Herbie he was such a lovely dog Sean Sian Ciera and I remember him with fondness he was then living with Joe Sinead and Eden and was very much loved which seems to of continued throughout his life. Memories will last you all forever RIP Herbie x 😢

    Liked by 1 person

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