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Bess’s Tail (Bridport Times, January 2020)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Written by Leila Simon

Just thirteen years ago this month, Ellen returned from Puddletown veterinary surgery with a roly-poly, black, tan and white collie called Scamp. Probably between 2 and 4 years old, Scamp was, we hoped, to be our new sheepdog. We’d spent two months without one, struggling to gather and move the sheep alone. Perhaps more difficult than that, we’d had no loving doggy presence in the house or companionship out and about. For years we had been looked after by a golden retriever who thought we kept the farm especially for her to play in, and then we got Moss as a puppy who we trained up as a sheepdog ourselves. She had died suddenly at 8 years old from an undiagnosed liver cancer that haemorrhaged. She had been asking for gates to be opened rather than jumping them, however she had seemed fine and was working well – just the evening before, she had moved the cattle very neatly from below the car park at Cogden to the field next door. The day she died had been spent apparently enjoying herself as a passenger in the tractor cab but when she got out she clearly felt bad, and we were on the phone to the vet when she died curled up in her basket. We had mourned the loss of a companion and a working partner and felt we couldn’t wait for a puppy to grow and, as we couldn’t afford a trained adult dog, we tried out a rescue dog.

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