Susie-Belle’s Memorial Walk 2018
Three weeks ago I headed back to the UK for what has become a much-requested event, the Susie-Belle Memorial Walk at West Wittering. It’s such a touching thing for me, to know that by adopting her and subsequently writing about Susie-Belle’s life, it’s brought together a lot of caring, kind human beings who feel moved to remember her each year. Not only her, but all dogs who are forced into lives of deprivation and cruelty.
As we walk together surrounded by dogs just being themselves and revelling in their simple, delightful dogness, it’s impossible not to contrast the lives of those like Susie-Belle trapped in breeeding facilities around the world. Some will be fortunate and get to taste what life should always have been if they’re rescued. The few that are saved in time to flourish do so with impressive determination. In the right homes, they will, with all help and support given, as well as inifinite love and patience, develop into incredible examples of animal forgiveness and courage.There were many on the beach with us at West Wittering, walking in Susie-Belle’s memory who have gone through great healing journeys.
But the majority of breeding dogs never get to enjoy a moment of peace or love in their lives. Most will be born into misery, suffer lives of abject misery and die in misery. I am forever thankful and grateful to the core of my soul that Susie-Belle escaped that fate and got to share four years of her life with us. For me it was the most treasured experience to have her beside me for those years.
As each year passes, the memories we hold become ever more precious. This was the third memorial walk and I felt, both on the day and in quiet moments since, a sharp, sometimes pained, emotional melee. I miss her as much today as I did the day she died. Life continues on and of course black days are much less, tears don’t fall as readily now, but the stark reality of a great loss remains. But so does the happiness of all the days we shared and it’s into that part of my memory I go when it all seems too sad once again to face the fact she is no longer here with me.
When Susie-Belle was lifted from the darkness of the puppy farm, she brought with her a powerful message, which I heard loud and clear and in my writing hope to make others hear it too. I believe strongly that the emotional grip Susie-Belle had on me from the start, and still has on me, and others, is part of her message. She was a disposable commodity to the puppy farmer who turfed her out when she was at death’s door, but in the few years she survived and lived on, she made sure she would never be forgotten when death finally came to take her away.
Confining dogs to lives of breeding is a wicked betrayal of these beautiful creatures. To everyone who knows this, whether that’s through hearing about Susie-Belle, or my writing, or through any other medium, I thank you for helping to spread this message to as many people as you can.This is what Susie-Belle’s life’s purpose was.
It was loud and clear on the beach at West Wittering on 4 February 2018.
The Susie-Belle Memorial Fund 2018 has raised £1872.50. Thank you very much indeed for all your donations which will help the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre with the care of Cid and Paula.