The Rescue Who Rescued Us


Harley in his ‘Little Old Man’ pose in France 2020.

Life brought Harley to us. We had lost our beloved Westie, Snowy The Dude, in 2012. We missed having a dog, it was RD’s 50th birthday and we had been talking about getting a chocolate lab for him for his birthday, so ‘Life’ intervened.

Off we went to France to stay in a beautiful gite run by the lovely Hannah and Paul. When we arrived out came their two beautiful Welsh terriers Ella and Dylan. We had never seen the breed of dog before and thought it was hilarious how they looked like real life teddies. Hannah told us how she had bred the two and how Ella had struggled with her pregnancies, only two pups had survived three pregnancies. One was Florence, the other was Harley. Both had found loving homes.

During our stay RD fell in love with Harley’s mum Ella. We used to laugh when she sat on his lap all the time, as if she was his mistress. She would jump in happily beside him when he went on short trips in the car, and tell the other two dogs off if they dared to ask for a fuss from him.

Fast forward to the October and Hannah contacted us to see if we would re-home Harley. Things had happened in his home and a home had to be found for him, even though his owner really didn’t want to lose him (in fact he has contacted me since Harley left us to say how upset he was. Harley was truly loved by so many people.) We decided to go ahead, even though we were apprehensive to introduce a fully grown dog to our four cats.

A nine hundred mile round trip ensued and on October 3rd 2013 Harley came home with us. Even on that journey home Harley climbed over onto my lap and lay there for most of the journey. It was a thing he would come to love, sitting on mummy’s lap in the car.

Harley in Classic Welshie Pose – The Old Man

He was a shock to our system because although used to terriers, Welshies are the most tenacious, wilful and stubborn terriers of all.

He chased the cats! We had to make a ‘cat flat’ upstairs, using a stair-gate to stop Harley from coming up the stairs. But Welshies are also intelligent and loving and it didn’t take Harley long to realise that to get to us he had to stop chasing the cats. After a month the stair-gate had gone and Harley was safely ensconced in our bedroom each night. (Although over the years he would still occasionally chase some of the cats, once coming out of an outbuilding in France with Daisy the bond villain attached to his face. He never chased her again!)

The day after we brought him home he got out, and he ran!! Not known for their recall Welsh Terriers, and Harley proved that on that day (although his dad was exactly the same, he would wander off everywhere if not on a lead!) as he hurtled towards a main road at full pelt. A builder managed to catch him in his arms and give him back to me, I was a shaking wreck.

His independence (renowned in Welshies) made us laugh when after about two months of living with us he put himself to bed on our bed at about 8pm. He didn’t care that we were still up, the message was clear, he was his own dog. When we checked on him there he was fast asleep on his back. I looked at RD and said ‘He is happy then!’

I sometimes wondered if we had done the right thing in the early days, he was such a sod. He ran away from us when we took him for a walk – we quickly realised he was not an off lead dog at any time. But as dogs always do he grew on me each day, and by the following summer he became my constant companion. When I was ill all summer after suffering from a breakdown I was forbidden to do anything that taxed my burnt out brain, and each day I would sit in our summer house reading, with Harley at my feet. Harley knew that I was ill and he loved me back to health. After spending a night away in the autumn he was so upset when I got home he sat upright beside me, like a little old man, and put his head on my shoulder for over two hours. He was a truly loving pup, and he saved me that summer. He helped me regain my sanity.

Harley Snuggled On My Clean Washing!

My memories of Harley are many: coming to the washing line with me every day when we moved to our first rental home in France, loving to roll in dirt as Wiglet dug holes, and yes still chasing the cats! Ending up in the naughty dog pound when he got out of our garden to pursue a bitch on heat. Cuddling, Cuddling, Cuddling. I will miss those cuddles, even when he was so ill he still cuddled.

Harley and Daddy 2021

When I used to come home from work in the UK he would be waiting for me to tell me all about his day. Talking away to me in dog speak, and I would say to him ‘And then what happened?’ and off he would go again. It was something he would do whenever we came home for the remainder of his lifetime with us. As if he was telling tales on Wiglet and the cats! He loved me singing Ferrell Williams song ‘Happy’ to him, substituting the happy for puppy.

Everything revolved around our Welshies, and when we house hunted in France (before Wiglet was with us) the main thing on the agenda was a good sized garden for Harley, and no main roads for the cats. We even took Harley house hunting with us, to make sure that he loved it as much as we did. He would sit on my lap, for the two hour journey, with his nose out of the window, snuggled into mummy.

After we bought Montaigu RD came to regret the decision about the land, when he often had to traipse up the chemin, late at night in the pouring down of rain, with a torch, wearing only his pyjamas and slippers because Harley would be at the top barking at the top of his voice, and had no intention of coming back in. He would often hide in the garden in the dark and was pissed off when I bought RD a super duper torch that picked him out in the dark.

Our Chemin In France (Lane)

But the biggest memory will be Harley and the pool. When we first moved to France we bought him a deep paddling pool. He absolutely loved it and would sit in it staring at us, because he wanted us to play and splash him. When we progressed to a larger pool there was no laying in it and relaxing – because Harley barked at you constantly to splash him, he absolutely loved it. And even in my pain as I write this it has made me smile, with tears brimming in my eyes.

When it was time to take the pool down, he was bereft, and would stand in the empty pool in protest, he did not want it to end. It was truly his most favourite thing in all the world. I will treasure these moments and times forever.

When Wiglet came along he welcomed her and loved her in his own way, but he was always the alpha, much to her annoyance and there were times when he pushed her too far, and she told him, as only Wiglet could.

Harley, with his bouncy ears, that would stick up in the air when he laid down, making me call him Roo Roo, because he looked like a kangaroo. Of course as with all our furry family he had many names and little bastard was used often. Especially when RD was chasing him around our French neighbours garden whilst he chased their chickens, with RD saying ‘Desole , Desole over and over again (sorry in French). Our neighbours thought it was hilarious. In the same way they did when he decided to just sit on their lap, uninvited.

Harley The Perfect Welshie

When Harley came to making his final journey he made it laying on mummy’s lap. He was so poorly, but he knew he was with me, and he snuggled into me, as I treasured that moment. Never to be taken for granted again.

Writing this blog has made me both smile and cry. The memories have made me smile. The emptiness that we both feel has made us cry.

We were heartbroken after losing Snowy. Harley, in the way of the Welsh, showed us a new way, full of adventure and love and mischievousness, and so many things beside. He showed us that it was okay to love again, even though one day our hearts would be broken. And they are.

Run like the wind baby, young again and free from pain. Run like the wind towards that big swimming pool that is waiting for you … Until we meet again

Rosie

10 comments

  1. This was such a beautiful tribute to him, Moise. Love the fun anecdotes like him standing in protest in the empty pool, running after the cats, enjoying Ferrell Williams (!), etc. He was loved and apparently gave it back to you in spades. May your pain be soothed by so many memories. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A moving and ultimately happy eulogy – all your best memories of Harley – such a special little character. He and Wiglet were the recipients of grand and true love from you both. How fortunate you have all been to share those moments in your life. The torch passes to Elfie now, but your Welshies will always be with you too.

    Liked by 1 person

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