Monday, 4 January 2010



One evening at about ten-thirty the phone rang and Arthur answered it.
I heard him say: ‘yes, yes. Mostly black, getting old.’ He put his hand over the phone and turned to me.
‘It’s the vet. They’ve got Rusty, he’s been run over’. He turned back to the phone. ‘OK. I’ll come down there right now.’
Arthur replaced the phone and turned back to face me. ‘I’m afraid he’s dead. A car hit him as he was crossing the Hertford Road.
I screamed, and started to cry. ‘What was he doing in the Hertford Road? It can’t be him. He isn’t out, he’s upstairs under the bed.
‘No, he isn’t,’ said Arthur. The vet has his collar, with his name and address on it. They don’t advise us to have him back.’
I just couldn’t believe that he was dead. I really thought he was upstairs, asleep, and I had no idea that he’d gone out. He never went down to the main road, as far as we knew.
I was desolate. Rusty was eighteen and a half years old. We’d had him longer than we’d had the children. He was like one of the family. Indeed he WAS one of the family. I suppose with him being black and it being dark at the time, he never stood a chance. It took a very long time to get over his death. Every part of the house held memories of him, and sometimes we’d swear we could hear him shuffling to get under the bed.

* * *

I can’t remember what exactly it was that prompted a six-year old Philip to leave home in search of fame, fortune and new parents. We had a period of him complaining and sulking over something. Not being able to get the better of me, he suddenly stated that he wasn’t going to live with us any more and was going to pack his things and leave home. I was very understanding and said that he was entitled to dislike us all if he wanted to and, although I didn’t want him to leave home, if that was what he really wanted to do, I would help him sort out his things. I went upstairs with him and gave him a small suitcase. To this I added his pyjamas and a couple of other things, including his favourite bear ‘Daisy’. My attitude was not what he had expected, and he sat on the edge of his bed not sure about the way things were going. I didn’t want him to lose face by saying he’s changed his mind, or by crying, so in a matter-of-fact voice I said: ‘we’re just going to have tea. It seems silly for you to go now, you might as well have your meal first, don’t you agree?’ He did.
By the time we’d all sat around the tea table eating and chatting, Philip had, by accident or design, completely forgotten that he was supposed to be leaving home that evening. Later, I crept upstairs, unpacked his little case and replaced all his clothes where they belonged, tucking Daisy up in his bed.
to be continued...


Babs-beetle said...

I'm afraid I can't find part one, and I don't remember it now.
Poor old rusty. What a horrible way to lose him.

weechuff said...

Poor Rusty. I will always remember him with affection. I remember you used to put a matchstick between his toes, and watch the antics he used to get up to trying to get it out. He loved that game!

Jay said...

Oh, how sad about Rusty! He was a very elderly cat .. but even so, it's awful to get that phone call and find a beloved pet you'd thought safe upstairs was in fact dead. We lost a few on the road, the worst was an elderly black cat, going blind and deaf who wandered out one day shortly before we moved house. We searched and searched but never did find him. The only conclusion is that he met his end on the road, poor thing.

Love the story about Philip leaving home! You handled that rather well. ;)

granny grimble said...

Yes even to this day I picture how he might have been injured, and it's always horrific.

Yes he was a dog in a million. He had a terrific sense of humour and would tease us and have almost human fun.


Rusty was our first pet after getting married and he was a cross bred Collie. We've had two cats and a dog live to be eighteen and a half! Our remaining cat Willum is now about thirteen.
I felt for you losing a cat before a move. It must be awful to have to leave a district not knowing where a beloved pet has gone.

Croom said...

Oh Leeta, poor you. The worst thing about it all is that you had no chance to say goodbye to Rusty. We all loved him and I remember the shock when he was killed.

Perhaps all kiddies at one time or another get so angry with everyone they threaten to leave home (for two minutes) few actually do! One day after a little telling off and being sent to his room to cool off Pip decided to leave home. The difference from Phillip was that Pip did go; he had packed a little bag and somehow got out the house. I went up to ‘make it up’ and he was gone! Both Dave and I after a quick search of the house rushed out and there he was in his red striped pipidee pyjamas clutching his bag and teddy on the way to live with his nana (who you may remember lived in the same road.) We continued with him to his nana and after a short visit he promptly said I am ready to come back home now mummy!

Enjoyed your blog Leeta,

granny grimble said...


How strange that your Pip and my Pip both had the same idea. I would have been distraught if my Philip had left the house though. Thank goodness I managed to diffuse it all pretty calmly.
I've never heard that story before, does Pip remember it?

SWUBIRD said...


That's a sad tale about your poor dog. I can certainly understand how you felt, because I also lost a long time canine friend. I'm so sorry for your loss.

AS to the other story, I can't find part one. Help.

Until then, happy trails

barb said...

I once lost a dog hit by a car, and your recounting of Rusty brought it back like it was yesterday.

And I, too, had one time where I wanted to run away. And I did, all the way around the corner to my grandmothers. I was home within the hour.

Lynne Chapman said...

hi Mum: hope you're getting this.

We are stuck in Naples of course - no flights no trains probably for days! We will probably have to sit it out. Thinking of moving down the 'boot' a bit though as not keen on Naples - very noisy and full of manic traffic everywhere you turn. Working on the assumption that we will have to pay for at least 3 extra days hotel nights. And it's raining here too!

The walking bit went well anyway and my feet are fine.

NB if you are reading this immediately, leave a comment in reply as we have limited access so won't know if you got it or not.

L x

granny grimble said...

Just found your comment and received your email. I did try phoning you yesterday on your mobile, but couldn't make contact.
What a miserabble end to your holiday, but thank goodness your foot lasted out. Let me know when you are coming home if you can. Be careful and stay safe.