A Eulogy for Hazel.

This dear, precious dog!

Back in March, 2014 when I was writing a series of posts about our dogs, I published a Meet the dogs – Hazel post. This eulogy consist mainly of what I wrote then, with a few minor changes to bring it up to date, and a closing thought.

Hazel

I first met Jean in Mexico; namely, in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico to be precise. Just a few days before Christmas, 2007. At that time, Jean had 16 dogs, all of them rescues off the streets in and around San Carlos. Jean was well-known for rescuing Mexican feral dogs.

In September, 2008 I travelled out to Mexico, via London-Los Angeles, with my Pharaoh. Jean and I have been together ever since. In February, 2010, because we wanted to be married and to be married in the USA, we moved from San Carlos to Payson, in Arizona; some 80 miles North-East of Phoenix.

One morning, just a few days before we were due permanently to leave San Carlos and move our animals and belongings the 513 miles (827 km) to Payson, AZ, Jean went outside the front of the San Carlos house to find a very lost and disorientated black dog alone on the dusty street. The dog was a female who in the last few weeks had given birth to puppies that had been weaned. Obvious to Jean because the dog’s teats were still somewhat extended.

The dog had been abandoned outside in the street. A not uncommon happening because many of the local Mexicans knew of Jean’s rescues over many years and when they wanted to abandon a dog it was done outside Jean’s house. The poor people of San Carlos sometimes resorted to selling the puppies for a few Pesos and casting the mother dog adrift.

Of course the dog was taken in and we named her Hazel. Right from Day One Hazel was the most delightful, loving dog and quickly attached herself to me.

The truest of love between a man and a dog!
The truest of love between a man and a dog!

Of all the dogs that we have here at home, and, trust me, many are extremely loving, my relationship with Hazel was precious beyond description. She was in Pharaoh’s ‘group’ (Pharaoh, Cleo, Sweeny, Pedy and Brandy) so slept in our bedroom at night. Most nights Hazel was tucked up against me.

Plus frequently during the day Hazel would take an interest in what I was doing, as the next photograph illustrates.

Hazel taking an interest in my potterings.
Hazel taking an interest in my potterings; March 2014.

If ever one wanted an example of the unconditional love that a dog can offer a human, then Hazel was that example. Precious creature.

ooOOoo

Just stay with me for a little longer.

Recently there was a documentary on the BBC about Koko the gorilla and how many hand signs Koko had learnt. As Wikipedia explains (in part):

Hanabiko “Koko” (born July 4, 1971) is a female western lowland gorilla who is known for having learned a large number of hand signs from a modified version of American Sign Language (ASL).

Her caregiver, Francine “Penny” Patterson, reports that Koko is able to understand more than 1,000 signs of what Patterson calls “Gorilla Sign Language” (GSL). In contrast to other experiments attempting to teach sign language to non-human primates, Patterson simultaneously exposed Koko to spoken English from an early age. Reports state that Koko understands approximately 2,000 words of spoken English, in addition to the signs.

The reason why I mention this is at the end of the programme it is stated that Koko’s ability to communicate shows very clearly that she is capable of feelings and emotions. Indeed, the way that Koko hugs Penny is very moving.

The presenter of the BBC programme concludes how things have changed over all the years from the birth of Koko some 45 years ago to today. As in back in the ’70s’ the idea that animals had emotions was just not accepted whereas nowadays there is mounting evidence that many warm-blooded animals have emotions; are capable of emotional feelings.

Why do I mention this?

For there isn’t one shred of doubt in the minds of Jean and me that Hazel was full of feelings of love and affection towards her human friends.

That is the epitaph with which Hazel will be remembered! This is her legacy.

Picture of Hazel taken in the last twenty-four hours.
Picture of Hazel taken in March, 2014.

12 thoughts on “A Eulogy for Hazel.

  1. I read your first post a while back. Hazel reminds me of our dear Pippa who had the most generous temperament of any our dogs. They are all so very different, and yet, if we let them, I think they all show love and affection in their own ways. RIP Hazel xx

    1. And you put your finger on the key point; that we have to let them. Each dog is an individual with his or her own unique way of relating to the world around them. You take care!

  2. I remember reading how Hazel became a part of your family, and she certainly proved her worth as a special family member.
    I do believe animals have emotions and deep feelings because I saw it very noticeably with one of our own dogs (Penny the Lhasa Apso), whom we rescued with her brother Benji. Benji died at the age of 2 with a brain tumor and Penny instantly went into a state of depression, losing her appetite, didn’t want to play or go for a walk. The only thing that brought her out of it was when we eventually got another puppy about three months later; it took her a week to accept the new pup, but once she did, she was soon back to her normal happy self. That new pup was Poppy, who will be 17 next month!

    1. Oh goodness! What an amazing example of love and devotion between Benji and Penny. And Benji being in mourning, so to speak, for all that time. Fascinating. Barb, you and your family have a very peaceful and loving weekend.

  3. This is beautiful Paul. Again my deepest sympathies to you and Jean for the profound loss of Hazel. It never gets easier when we lose a pet but some are more special than others. Hazel possessed a deep capacity to love her humans and I have no doubt that she was grateful for having been rescued just before your departure for the US. You will miss her warm body next to you and her adoring eyes. May warm memories and the sweet photographs of Hazel sustain you and Jean in your time of grief.

    Warm regards,
    Yvonne

    1. Yvonne, trust me it would have been so much harder if you and others hadn’t been so kind and generous in the expression of your sympathies. Thank you very much indeed.

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