While we had Charlie, we also had a black labrador who was a relation (despite the colour) but not in any way the same. Black Rocket was a rangy bitch. A nice enough companion but before she was very old, she developed a problem with all her mucous membranes. This involved drooling, eyes running etc. As we had a small baby, and Petty could not find a cure, we ultimately had to make the decision that she would be happier in Valhalla. For some time, I painted all over inside her mouth at least twice a day with something given to us by Petty. Not a nice job but would have been worth it if it had worked.
Rocket was followed by another yellow lab, Jasper. He was a beautiful animal but he never got control of his gut, so there were piles every morning - fortunately on a stone floor. As time went by it developed into a diarrhoea form of movement. In the end, he went to stay with Petty in the hope that he could do something about it. Finally his back end turned massively inside out, so he went to join Rocket. This all caused us much distress and made us feel that although we loved labradors, we should perhaps not try with one again. However, we were not going to give up the idea of a dog altogether.
One day, my sil rang to say that a friend had a Border Terrier with a litter of mongrels. The mum was a lovely well behaved dog and they were looking for homes for the puppies. Right, said I, I will be over. Of course I fell for the babies - they are always so adorable, aren't they?
Before long they were old enough to go to their homes so one morning I collected a small person who could almost stand on my hand. We spent the day getting to know each other and then we heard the car and No1 was home. We went out of the front door to greet him and the small object started as he meant to go on - he growled! and growled! and growled!!!!! I seem to remember that No 1 was able to laugh - he really was a ridiculous sight being so small. We called him Hector.
I think that was about 1967. Little did we know what a mixed 17 years we were letting ourselves in for!
Towards the end of 1968 No 1 was offered a job in Singapore. The available work in the North East, in ship owning/repairing was not exciting and he really needed to do something drastic. To me it really was drastic - we had 2 children and a dog. I had only lived for a short time outside the NE of England. All my friends and interests were here. My Father was getting old and my Mother had multiple sclerosis. On the other hand, I had 3 younger brothers, our son was 6 1/2 and daughter was 5 - ages that would move easily. What about Hector? My parents had 2 Sausage Dogs, (sorry, Dachshunds), Fish and Chips. Fish was a black and tan bitch but Chips was a large red dog. Hector knew them well. The parents said they would take Hector which was a golden offer and I am sure was made with some misgiving. No 1 went off to prepare the ground and find accommodation and so on. I was left to sort out our belongings and complete the sale of the Old House. Having completed all that, I moved, with the children, to my parents and Hector of course. It was not long after we got there that Chips and Hector had a whale of a fight. Thank goodness it happened before I left because it was clear that they could not keep Hector if they were going to fight - they were too old for that. So the decision was forced on us to take Hector with us.
The flight and the 4 years in Singapore were not without incident but they are for the next post.