more than just a dog

Dear Polly,

When we said to someone at the rescue centre that we were looking for a family-friendly golden retriever, they laughed in our faces. They’re like gold dust, they said. And then a few days later they called.

You were like gold dust. You came into my life when I was juggling four small children, a failing marriage, and I’d lost my beloved dad to a heart attack.

me and polly

You’d never seen roads before, or cars. We had to teach you all about the outside world, and I took you to training classes where it was pretty clear after a couple of sessions that you weren’t ever going to do quite what you ought to, but that you and I were so closely bonded that the instructor said as long as I was around, you’d never go far. And so you stuck beside me for the last seven years, wisdom in those beautiful long lashed eyes, an expression that said you’d seen it all before.

j and polly

Everyone said you should never trust a rescue dog, but they’d never met a dog like you.

polly dinner

You had a personality like no other dog. The expression on your face when dinner wasn’t up to scratch, and the lie down protests over biscuits.

polly at halloween

You did your share of dressing up. Witch hats, cloaks, scarves and hats were borne with your usual patience and grace.


You even wore a fez, because fezzes are cool.

polly leg

Last summer when I was stuck with a broken leg you were by my side the whole time, keeping an eye on me. And as long as there was noise, and fun, and children, you were there by my side, quietly watching, tail half wagging, nosing me if I stopped stroking your head.

polly garden

I don’t think there’s such a thing as just a dog, Polly, and you were so much more than that to all of us. We’re going to miss you enormously. Run free, my beautiful girl.

Rest in Peace.


  1. Beautiful writing. Hugs.

  2. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss Rach, Polly was an awesome dog. Sending you all lots of love xxx

  3. I know how much dogs become part of the family, so sorry. She had a lovely life with you though, remember that xx

  4. Huge hugs and lots of sniffles here. It’s so hard because pets become such an enormous part of family life. x

  5. Awww so sorry for your loss. Animals become a part of the family and love us unconditionally.

  6. So sorry, you are all going to miss her so much.

  7. This is beautiful writing, I am sorry to hear about your dog. She sounded a beautiful girl. X

  8. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. This is a beautiful post

  9. I am so sorry for you loss! Big hugs, Marianne!

  10. Heather Allison says

    I’m so sorry for your sadness. I have a 14 year old Golden Retriever and 6 year old Black Labrador. we brace ourselves for the day when we’ll have to say a last good buy. I live in Southport Rachel, if you or your children need a ‘Golden’ hug, let me know. Very best wishes Heather Allison

  11. I’m going to miss her drooling all over my black trousers xxx

  12. I am so sorry. We have an 8 year old golden retriever and we love him so much. You chose a wonderful dog for your family – and she was obviously very loved.

  13. Thank you Anne – yes, she was very much loved and we are missing her so, so much.

  14. <3 and Hame is going to miss bouncing on her. LY xxx

  15. Thank you Heather, that’s really really kind. xxx

  16. Thank you Marianne, I’m really touched that so many people have read this post. x

  17. Thank you my lovely. You know how much we loved her.

  18. Oh she was. She’s left a huge hole. x

  19. I’m glad she had such a lovely holiday with you – she loved it down there! x

  20. Yes Susie, that’s just it. She was such a big part of our family. x

  21. Yes they do, and mourning them is so hard. I miss her horribly. Home doesn’t feel very homely at the moment. x

  22. You’re right. I am glad we had those years with her, and I feel she rescued us as much as she was rescued. x

  23. Thank you my darling. Go and have a lovely doggy cuddle for me xxx

  24. Funny how the five minute bits of writing often turn out better than the ones we spend hours on, isn’t it? Thank you J. x