Monday, 25 August 2014

Harvey - he lives in you!

The Harveywetdog You Tube Channel is named after a very special German Wire Haired Pointer called Harvey. I made the name up for some silly reason years ago and for some equally silly reason Harveywetdog just stuck. Harvey was always a full of energy type of dog and the reason why I loved him so much was because he loved my wife so much. I always felt I could trust him to look after her.

Unfortunately Harvey left us earlier this year and this little blog is dedicated to him. Let's start by remembering him with two videos from when he was at his prime.

The second video doesn't always show up on mobile devices so I'm providing a link address as well.

Link to Harvey's Exmoor Adventure for Mobile Devices

Looking back now I realise Harvey was always such a big dog. "Big for his breed" people would say; and those eyebrows gave him such gravitas. But for all that he could also be a bit of clown, whether it was getting over excited when he realised he was going for a walk on a beach or racing round the field to chase rabbits gathered by the pond who just waited patiently until he was a few yards away and then slipped through the fence. Such things give a dog character, as did his loyalty and presence. He could growl and play fierce when he needed to and I have a scar on my thumb to show he could snap (especially if you shone a torch in his face when he was ratting!)

Harvey in his chair alert and on the look out!
But it is his latter years I will remember him for most fondly. Old dogs develop a solid dependability and he never lost his joy at the thought of going in the "car car" or the lorry even if we did have to lift him in. He could still be mostly relied upon to bark at anyone who came to the gate and provide the reassuring sound of snoring from the snug once the rest of the house was asleep.

Being stoical with the cone and buttoned ear
Harvey's end came very suddenly and surprisingly. He'd had a lot of trouble with his left ear and had undergone two operations to have various drains fitted and he was just getting over the second when something went internally and within 48 hours we were left with the unenviable and inevitable decision of having to have him put to sleep. He was very poorly but soldered on bravely and made it upstairs for his last night on earth to lie close by in the bedroom with us. We thought, we hoped, we prayed that it was just some minor complication from the ear op but it was not to be.

They let you know when enough is enough;
my final picture of Harvey on his last night on earth.
Luckily we had spent a lovely weekend away in Laugharne a month earlier and for whatever reason I had tons of video of him on the beach at Pendine. OK he isn't moving like he used to but there's still a jaunty swagger in his step as he takes in the sea air and avoids getting his paws wet. I decided to make this the basis of his tribute video and when Kirsty MacColl and "He's on the Beach" came on the iPod in the car I had my soundtrack. I was very please to find an extended version of the song on iTunes, the violin at the end fully capturing what I was looking for. I decided to mix a jumble of holiday photographs into the first couple of minutes and then leave the beach scenes uncluttered and relatively uncut. One of my favourite moments is when Harvey turns round to check that Judith is still with him; caring for her to the end.

I made a shorter video based on the Dylan Thomas birthday walk where I'd actually started to read the final verse of the poem to Harvey. Nice and poignant.

Time is ultimately a great healer; we now have Grace the GSP and eleven years of wonderful memories of Harvey. Of course he can't come back and of course Grace will be Grace and not Harvey and in time she will be a wise old lady plodding along a beach avoiding getting her paws wet; before then she's got an awful lot of living to do!

He lives in me!

Harvey: December 2002 to June 2014