Chapter 10 - Chelsea Remembered

Tragedy struck in August, when our wonderful Chelsea died. She had, to be fair, always been a thief and scavenger for food, and if she was ever missing, she could be found at the nearest bins or manure heap. On the fateful night, she got into the feed bin unseen, and managed to consume a very large quantity of food, requiring her to find some grass to make herself sick. This involved jumping the gate to the garden both ways, which we think caused her to start a torsion. We had superb vets, but this was their night to use the locum service, and valuable time was lost while we located their surgery. Further delays occurred as the young vet on duty didn’t heed our call for instant surgery, and when they did finally decide to operate, we were sent home. We got the call at about 3.30am to tell us that Chelsea had suffered damage to her vital organs, and had not made it. She was a very special dog, and at the time, 10 years did not seem half long enough for us to have her with us, but time is a great healer, and now we feel that perhaps it was best that she didn’t live to become an invalid, or senile, so we can remember her always as the life-force she was. We have a beautiful bush in her memory, as we do with the “extra special” dogs.

Pines Chelsea with some of her awards

Just to illustrate Chelsea’s awareness, there was the night we “lost” Alice. Alice was inclined to take herself off across the fields, and this duly happened at about midnight on this particular day. All the other dogs had retired for the night, and we set about looking for Alice. Time went by without any sign of her, until returning home for the umpteenth time to check if she had come back of her own accord, we must have left a door open, because Chelsea shot out, in a totally different direction than we had been looking, and after some ten minutes returned with a grin on her face and Alice trotting behind her, as if to say, “you should have asked for my help earlier, can I get some sleep now?” Chelsea would lie against a wall with her feet waving in the air, and we always felt that if she was in that position, all was well with the world.

Chelsea jumping the gate

Chelsea will always be remembered for another reason. She was the original from which John Stanbridge took his inspiration when making the model that is available now from the Hovawart Club of Great Britain and is the sculpture on the Tia Trophy, awarded by the Club annually to the dog that has “shone” most for the breed outside the show ring. Happily, we have a model in our sitting room, so we feel Chelsea is never far away.

Chelsea with the pigs


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