Marley, the white fluff ball of doom was always, and will always be thebeanspoonerswife’s dog.
Bruce on the other hand, is a totally different dog, and he’s mine, loyal to the core, and dumb as a box of rocks.
We got Bruce from Minehead, when he was about 8/9 weeks old.
He was gorgeous, all tiny, fluffy and black. He has what we call a Forrest Gump leg. His one back leg is missing a pad, a birthing accident, so he has a bit of a waddle. Like a black hairy 4 legged duck.
But Bruce is loyal.
He wasn’t meant to be my dog. We actually got him so Marley could have company. He craved company, so the logical thing to do was get another dog. We got a Scottish Terrier (Scottie), thinking stupidly that they were not far off the same type of dog.
Oh Jesus how wrong were we!
Don’t get my wrong, I love Bruce with everything I have, and I say he is loyal, so am I!
So in theory, as Marley was thebeanspoonerswife dog, so would Bruce be.
We didn’t realise then that Bruce was a different sort of animal. Ignorant to the core, but loyal as they come.
On the journey home, which felt a lifetime by the way, he spent it tucked up in my arm, resting against my belly. He whined, cried, screamed, howled, the entire way home. Minehead to where we live, is a long, long way!
Finally home and time to introduce him to Marley.
Marley was not impressed at all. Bruce on the other hand, screamed and carried on whining for ages, but also followed Marley everywhere. Marley at the time was about 1000% bigger!
It was a slow process. We learnt very early on, that Bruce was nothing like Marley, not in a few ways, but in everyway!
Marley was smart, that’s the best way to describe him. Bruce, in the kindest of descriptions, was not!
But, they seemed to slowly bond. Marley got slowly used to Bruce hanging off of him, and I mean hanging off of him from every available place.
You would find them playing together, sleeping on the same blanket, Bruce would walk underneath Marley as they wandered around the house and garden together!
Over time, Bruce started to find his big dog voice, and wow, what a voice.
His bark. His bark has several different meaning.
You have the, feed me now bark. The ‘I’m dying for a pee or a poop bark. The bark just for barking sake. And then there was the protective bark. Something Bruce perfected from a very early age.
I’ve said many times before, but Bruce was never to be my dog. But, from that first moment of holding him in the car, it became apparent he had other ideas.
He went everywhere with me, when he wasn’t hanging off of Marley.
Marley and I had a thing, where if you tilted your head in certain directions or whistled in certain ways, it meant different things, actions and commands. Bruce on the other hand….did not.
He responded to actual words. I’m not saying he can understand, but whistles and head gestures were lost on this ever growing ball of black fluff!
Marley was loyal, to thebeanspoonerswife and pretty loyal to me.
But Bruce, I’ve never know a dog take sides, pick, and be loyal so much to one person.
Bruce and I have a thing.
When I leave the house, property whatever, and don’t come straight back, this happens. As I enter, he comes bounding over and demands attention. He also demands a hug, so I have to kneel down, while he jumps up and plants his head into my chest. Normally three times in a row!
It was something he did as a puppy, and now, at nearly 11, he still does it, but just to me. If this doesn’t happen, if you forget, he pines, whines and whimpers…..so really, you have to do it!
Over the years the two dogs became a formidable force. Very loyal, Bruce becoming even more fearlessly loyal to myself.
Then we got Hobbes!
Marley was not impressed and I swear, spent the first 6 months trying to catch and eat him.
Bruce didn’t seem too bothered, but over time for his idol Marley, spent every waking moment trying to murder the cat!
They are firm friends now, and I’ve seen on more than a handful of occasions, Bruce go charging out into the garden to protect the cat when he was getting the shit kicked out of him by the local neighborhood cats, who have always been bigger!
Then we had Magoo.
Marley was not impressed. Bruce even less so!
They were not impressed at all.
Their peace and lifestyle changed forever.
Unlike some people who either re-home all of their animals when a child enters their lives, or become overly strict with them, we did the opposite, we embraced it all.
They were all scared of each other to start with, but you would easily find Marley curled around Magoo when having his afternoon nap, with Bruce lying next to them, in a protective state.
Animals and kids are a good thing, a really good thing.
Then Marley died.
We didn’t know how we would cope, let alone Bruce.
His friend, his best friend he had known since coming to live with us was gone.
He did suffer I think, Bruce I mean.
For weeks he was off his food, he was stuck to us all like glue. He demanded that he sit on the sofa, getting as close to one, or both of us as possible, and at times, even Magoo.
He and the cat sort of had an unwritten bond, they become even closer, sleeping on the same pillows, same sides of the sofa, something they had not done previously.
He’s 11 this year.
But over time he became his own dog, so to speak, altered, but only slightly, like a person who was learning to deal with grief, I think Bruce learnt to deal with it in his own way.
He’s fierce and the most loyal animal, family member you could ever wish for.
He sleeps in our room of a night time, with Hobbes having free run of the house, being a cat. We have a raised wooden bed, so he sleeps underneath thebeanspoonerswife side of the bed, but me, he sleeps right next to me on the floor, on his blanket and pillow, every night without fail!
There are times, honestly, that I wish he could talk, so I could thank him.
When I’ve been ill, breaking down and having the worst days of my life, Bruce has been there. Next to me, by my side, listening and looking on, as I’ve ranted, cried, questioning everything and anything.
He has no idea, as a little black dog, how thankful I am for the times he has saved me from myself.
Lots of people say their dogs are one of a kind, one in a million, Bruce is.
We were lucky with Marley, as he was something different.
But Bruce, we hit lucky again, how about that!
Bruce features heavily in our lives and especially mine.
He’s a grounding rod, so to speak.
Something, I hope he knows and realises.
And I will be forever thankful for a little black dog from Minehead, that become the most loyal dog in the world and on numerous occasions, saved me, again and again!