At the beginning of 2017 the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre took in a dog who has today left this world. Merlin spread much happiness, love and magic in the short time he got to enjoy freedom from life in a puppy farm. He was and will always be a special dog whose bravery serves as an inspiration to us all. But today it was his time to pass on, leaving us to mourn and remember.
It was clear when he arrived at the centre that Merlin had suffered. There was no doubt that the puppy farmer who’d confined him for years had made him suffer.
Merlin’s body played witness to the years of neglect and cruelty he’d endured. With his worn down teeth it was clear he’d tried chewing his way out of his confinement; a leg tumour the size of a grapefruit crippled him. Losing the leg and tumour with it, was the best chance of giving him a safe future.
So, Merlin braved this radical, life-saving surgery and came out the other side with a spirit that shone bright, lighting the way into the rest of his treasured life with his new mums Janet and Jackie.
A joyful spirit is evidence of a grateful heart.
~ Maya Angelou
For the next two and a half years, Merlin and his devoted family gladly embraced everything they could together. However Merlin’s past would go on to limit his life span. This harsh fact was always known and not a moment was wasted in enjoying all they could together. He romped on beaches with his canine sisters; he swayed in his rucksack on his mum’s back to the beat of their happy life.
Merlin was never left out of anything and they honoured their boy by making everything possible. He won the DBARC Dog of Courage and Best In Show Awards in 2017. He was rightfully honoured for showing us how to move on and embrace the future. He made it onto TV in January, sitting preciously in his buggy at the Susie-Belle Memorial Walk, surrounded by admirers. He’ll always be one of my favourite dogs immortalised by artist Annabel Wilson in our book, Did Somebody Say Walk? encouraging young readers to see tripaws as nothing less than perfect dogs who love their lives and walks.
But today this marvellous dog has gone. The time came when the challenges for him became too much for him to battle any longer. While he conquered much in his life, now, with grace, his mums have made sure his life completes, surrounded by love.
Together, they’ve shared a life worth living. A life where this brave boy with a thousand heroic faces has followed his bliss and made up for all the years stolen by the puppy farmer. A human who robbed him of his happiness and freedom but who did not break him. Merlin was not broken when he left that puppy farm. He was whole and brave and brilliant.
Everyone who met Merlin fell under his simple, bewitching spell – he was kind, grateful, courageous. He’ll always be remembered by those who loved him. With many whole hearts which are today shattered into a million painful pieces.
There’s no easy route through the stark awfulness which grief inflicts on us. But, I have no doubt that Merlin’s family will, through choking pain, get through to the other side and in time remember him with more smiles than tears. But for now, an ocean of tears is flowing for Merlin, who will never be forgotten.
If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.Joseph Campbell
If anyone would like to make a donation in their boy’s name, Merlin’s mums are happy if they go to the Susie-Belle Appeal. All money raised will go towards rebuilding the Rehab Unit at DBARC. A unit which will go on to provide a safe place for more like Merlin for years to come.
Donations can be made by visiting this LINK.