I genuinely don’t know how to start this blog. These have probably been some of the toughest few days of my life so far.

On Saturday evening I received a phone call from my mother saying that my beloved dog 12240127_10153765263231060_2531941152697543103_nBertie had passed away. Bertie was a stunning black and tan Doberman. My boyfriend Dave and I got him has a puppy and we fell in love with him as if he were our own child. He was our baby. He was roughly 19-months-old when he passed and I’m completely devastated.

My mother was with Bertie at home on Friday afternoon. He was running around care free when somehow he managed to cut himself on his side. My mother took him straight to the vets where they sedated him to clean and stitch the wound. Later that day Bertie went home where my mother stayed up with him until the early hours of the morning and he seemed to be recovering well.

The next morning Bertie seemed well but was very quiet, although he was still drinking. My mother, still not happy, took him back to the vets as he was clearly becoming more weak. Bertie as we now know was going into shock. He was responding well to fluids but by this stage he had gone into a coma like state. Bertie woke up briefly to see my mother then closed his eyes and his heart stopped. I am assured everyone did everything in their power to resuscitate him but they could not make his heart start again.

The vets do not know for sure what made Bertie go into shock and for his heart to stop. Was there a underlying problem? Did Bertie have a bad reaction to the anaesthetic? We will never know what tipped him over the edge.

My mother and I made the decision not to do a postmortem as we felt this is a big invasion and we still may be none the wiser. Bertie has been buried in the secret garden at home with our other beloved dogs and cats, Kildare, Jodie, Peter, Smartie, Lukie, Otto and Cabbage.

I am truly heartbroken. I would do anything to change what has happened. I feel so incredibly sad that I wasn’t there for Bertie. He was a loving dog and was always so happy to see you. Full credit to his breeder Julie Groves for breeding such a caring, affectionate, loyal dog. Bertie will live forever in my heart and there will not be a day that goes past where I won’t think of him. Bertie, please rest in peace and know I will love you for eternity.

I have been overwhelmed by my friends’ responses on Facebook about the tragic news of Bertie and I cannot express how they have comforted me while I am so far away. Thank you to everyone, I am so grateful for all of your kindness.

A couple of days have passed since Bertie died and I have been on the phone to my older brother David. Since my father passed away David and I have become a lot closer and I look up to him so much for advice and guidance.

While I was on the phone David told me the tragic news of Pat Eddery’s death. My brother married Natasha (daughter of Pat Eddery) two years ago, though Natasha has been part of our family for nearly a decade. I am so proud to call Natasha my sister-in-law. She is one of the toughest people I know and she has always been there for my family and I. I never knew Pat very well but I know he would have been proud of all of the Eddery family because I know I am.

The news of Pat’s death is a shock to everyone and I wish I was at home for my family.

I know I have to stay strong. I have good moments and bad. Jenny (my groom) is staying positive and focused and is looking after Hilly (Fernhill Present) every minute of the day.

Jenny with her new grooming kit

Jenny with her new grooming kit

Dave is also being strong for me. It’s times like these when I look up to Laura Collett and Flora Harris who have managed to stay unbelievably strong through such heartache last season. Both Laura and Flora lost their beloved dogs last summer as well as other terrible tragedies. Things could be a lot worse I know and I do remind myself of this. Time is a great healer and I will be ok. I have to be ok.

We have been trying to keep busy and Hilly is well. This week he saw Tracy Matiland an equine massage therapist. Hilly loves having a massage and Tracy was very pleased with his overall physical condition.

Hilly has also seen the farrier Micheal Garcia. My farrier at home Mark Spriggs made up a set of Hilly’s shoes before we left and poor Micheal was under me watchful eye has he re-shod him.

“I’m putting 100% of my trust in you, Micheal,” I said.

Michael shoeing Hilly

Michael shoeing Hilly

Micheal clearly used to the pressure shod Hilly well and all still looks good today! We’ve come a long way to suffer a silly nail prick but Hilly seems absolutely fine, fingers crossed.

As I write this blog Jenny is clipping Hilly. His coat looked amazing before this third clip but his coat has now got a week to grow back a little before the trot-up (first horse inspection) and I so want him to look fantastic for everyone.

Jenny clipping Hilly

Jenny clipping Hilly

The weather here got into the mid 30’s one day this week so we went out and bought Hilly fans for his stable (pictured top). I also bought Jenny a new toy (a grooming kit box) — I think Christmas came early that day! I cannot thank the team here at Magic Millions enough for being so supportive, especially Greg Irvine and Tim Brown. They have really looked after me and made us all feel at home. Everyone seems in good spirits every day and we will battle on.

Until next time,

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

Alice and Hilly xx