Nothing prepares you for saying goodbye to your pet – Rick Jackson

That day has finally come. The day I’ve dreaded for 15 years, eight months and four days.  The day every pet owner has to deal with. That day for us was Tuesday – the day we said goodbye to our golden retriever Harvey.

Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 11:48 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:49 pm
Rick Jackson's beloved dog Harvey.

For anyone who doesn’t have a pet you may struggle to understand the grief you feel, especially when it is you that takes them to the vets and makes that decision to end their life in front of you, whilst you hold them in your arms.

‘Handsome Harvey’ has been with me through thick and thin and the darkest and lightest of days. My constant companion and my very best friend. Always happy to see me – no matter what.

That large tail would always wag unconditionally whenever I got home.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He always got attention when we went out. He was a large Golden Retriever with a big head, neck and paws. 

He had the most beautiful gait, especially when running. His siblings were show dogs and working gun dogs.

He’d be my companion on long runs to Gilkicker Point, Gosport. He’s the only dog I’ve known who could find a muddy puddle in a desert!

As time went by, I knew this day would come.

He was slowing down and his hind paws would scratch the pavement. 

But he was still trotting his way around the park and when told of his age, other dog walkers thought he was several years younger.

Nothing can prepare you for that trip to the vets.

You lift him into the car as he can no longer do it himself.

He sits there, looking out of the window oblivious as you know what is coming.

How I walked into the vets I do not know. That poor vet then had to deal with me protesting but deep down, I knew it was time and so did Harvey.

He slipped away peacefully.

You never know just how a dog will be when you bring them home for the first time – you wonder if they will settle in properly and will be happy. Over the years, they become a real part of the family.  

And with Harvey, I struck gold and won the lottery all at the same time.


Another sad goodbye to something I loved – a ferry

We said another goodbye recently and it was also something close to my heart – a ferry.

Don’t laugh, you become attached to these things after 32 years of service. I remember the day St Cecelia entered service with Sealink back in 1987.

But Herald of Free Enterprise had capsized off Zeebrugge earlier so celebrations were muted. Hundreds turned out for her last crossing and the nicest touch was eight-year-old Ellis Yates from Gosport, her biggest fan, being made captain and steering her home for the last time.

How can so many people have an emotional connection to a ferry you ask? Whether it’s a football team, stamps, dolls, emotional connection is what makes us human.


The Fratton Park experience never ceases to amaze me

The bug is back and my wife is worried! I broke the news on Saturday I may buy a season ticket for Fratton Park next season.

I didn’t think our seats, three rows from the pitch against QPR would be any good, but we loved it. You could hear the banter between the players and the linesman and the action seemed more exciting the closer to the pitch we were.

There was lots of leg room, something a six footer definitely notices in the Upper South. Even getting wet, cold and the slow trudge back to the railway station didn’t dampen the atmosphere.

With a Mick’s Monster Burger and a pint in the Staggeringly Good Brewery before the match, this is the perfect Saturday afternoon for any football fan.