I liked the walks for exercise, and to discover my local area. The map below shows all the places we went. I can't remember when I started keeping this map (on a photocopied refidix page) - at least three years ago I think. After every walk, I would add to it with green highlighter the new areas we had explored. You can't read the street names unfortunately, but if you know the area you will work it out and if you don't then names won't matter.
Having a Beagle's snoopy nature, Seren loved discovering new places. She didn't really like walking on roads, but as soon we headed off-road, into a park or vacant land, her tail would sweep up and start to wag. "Thank you daddy - I knew I could trust you to find a park" I imagined she was telling me. Every time we walked past Nudgee junior college sports ovals, she would pull on her lead. "Come on daddy, it's a park! Can't you see it's a park?" "No," I would explain to her "there are some parks we can't go in to."
The sub-suburb Jay Park is a great place to live for walking a dog (our home is the red dot). There are surprising amounts of park and vacant land all around the place, and quite a few walking paths connecting them, and connecting roads. Even in the last few weeks we filled in some more places on the map. Three weekends ago as I write, just after her first seizure, she and I and Jemima explored the North end of the ex-horse paddock (now council-owned) West of Jesmond road. And last saturday, two days before she died, we sniffed out some more places in the vacant land West of Fig Tree Pocket road.
What with Seren following her nose, and my lousy
of direction, we often ended up in unexpected places. But especially
last year I had been systematically pushing our boundaries. As the map
shows, we explored most of an area about 3km by 3km (each grid division
is 250m), including substantial parts of four suburbs. The map above
areas I hoped to get to eventually with Seren - Lone Pine, Jindalee,
and the large park near the freeway. Seren will never see these places
with her own eyes or smell them with her own nose. But when I do walk
by myself, or with another dog, I will carry Seren with me in my heart,
and tell her all about it. I cry.
We chose Seren at age 6 weeks, two weeks before we
her up. There were two litters at Adabuf at that time, and there seemed
to be armfuls of puppies everywhere. Seren was a big contented-looking
puppy who wanted to say hello rather than chew my shoelaces. (How
we were!) She was almost all black but with a white patch on one
Since we had already been considering the name Seren (Welsh for
this clinched it. Here is a photo of Seren shortly after we got her.
In the meantime, Seren had acquired an older sister
Jemima, in October 1998. Jemima became top dog, but this never stopped
Seren snatching food from under her nose. They became good friends,
together and playing together. Seren would often walk without Jemima,
Jemima would sometimes howl and wait by the door for to come home. As
as Seren got home, she would race to the back step and stand there
waiting to sniff Seren to see where she'd been. Jemima doesn't
what has happened now. She's never been an only dog before.
As well as Jemima, Seren made many other long-term
in the park. As she got older she played less, but she still
had a tussle with little Oscar the Jack Russell, or gave a hug and
to big Oscar the Bernese Mountain dog. She knew her friends; if Barney
or Meg and Mack or Champ walked up our hill she would stand at the door
and wag, never woof. And of course there were people friends as well,
the ones who carried pieces of sausage to reward good dogs. In the park
she finally mastered the fetch command as well, or, rather, the fetch
Many times she preferred to keep chewing on a piece of wood she had
and left me to fetch the ball myself. We loved her.
We took her home one week after she went into
She seemed almost as good as ever. Despite three lesions in her brain
showed no dysfunction. Jemima welcomed her home with great excitement,
and then after a minute they both settled down to sleep. Seren jumped
her arm chair and let out a big sigh as she lay down, as if to say "Oh,
its good to be home." Later that week, she played in the park with her
friends, enjoyed her food, and went for quite a long walk with me on
Saturday. We are very glad for those 6 days of happiness. Here is one
our photos of her from that time.
Things started to go wrong again on Sunday, when she seemed sore again. She yelped once on her walk with me and Jemima in the morning. By the afternoon she was as bad as she had been two weeks before. She went back on higher doses of steroids, but did not improve. She couldn't put her head down to eat so we fed her by hand (no loss of appetite!). The next day she was no better. That evening (yesterday, Monday the 5th of November) she took forever to settle in her bed. Then she awoke shrieking in agony, her neck twisted as she attempted to find relief from the pain. We decided then to end it for her and called the vet. Around ten pm she slipped peacefully from this world, at our home, as I cradled her head.
It's 24 hours now. Our beautiful Seren is gone.
Go to Howard's Home Page
Like Stars at Dawn
Like stars at dawn she is gone,
The sky empty, white.
Like the Huia's song she is gone,
The air still, quiet.
Like a golden thread pulled from the fabric of my world,
She is gone.
See my world fall down,
Softly, fold upon fold.
by Nadine, 7/11/01