THE summer of 2018 will be memorable for a number of reasons. Youngest granddaughter Maisie passed her grade one ballet exam; I had an unexpected career change; the prolonged heat and unaccustomed spell of uninterrupted sunshine, but most of all, last month, on my granddaughter’s seventh birthday, we said goodbye to our beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Izzy, just six weeks after her 10th birthday.

One of a litter of three puppies, Izzy’s sister Millie lives with my daughter’s family while her mother Jennifer and brother Brigadier still live at home with me.

Now aged 12-and-a-half, Jennifer sleeps a lot these days. She has a heart murmur which is not uncommon for this breed, particularly in old age, but at the moment she is snoring gently beneath the table while I am writing; something that I find comforting and reassuring.

Surprisingly, Jennifer didn’t seem worried, or even to notice, that Izzy hadn’t returned home with me that afternoon, but the same could not be said for Brigadier.

He was unsettled throughout the entire evening, wandering outside into the garden at regular intervals, where he would pace up and down by the gate. Then he would come back inside and sit and stare at me.

Of my three dogs, Izzy was by far the easiest, the most compliant and certainly the quietest, but without her presence the house was eerily silent for days.

Everybody’s friend, always happy and so very sweet natured, Izzy was the sort of dog that you could take anywhere and on one occasion she even came to work with me.

That was back in January 2014, when she made it on to the front page after sampling a new canine spa treatment at Raithwaite Hall, on behalf of the Gazette. How she enjoyed her day in the lime light and especially posing for the photographs afterwards.

A brilliant ambassador for the breed, throughout her life she enjoyed good, robust health, in fact I can only ever recall her suffering from an eye ulcer on one occasion and a grass seed in her ear on another.

I never imagined for one minute that she would be the first of my gang to go, but when it eventually took hold, her illness was brutal, savage and short lived.

The mass grew at an alarming rate and became clearly visible from the outside. I agreed to an operation on the condition that I could stay with her up until the time that she was anaesthetised.

If I am honest, I think that part of me knew that she wouldn’t be coming home. Nevertheless, I still believe that opening her up was the right thing to do, but ultimately I had to do the right thing by her and that was to let her go.

You know, it doesn’t matter how many dogs you have, or how many dogs you lose, it never gets any easier, such is the dreadful price that we have to pay for loving them. But would we have it any other way? I think not. Goodnight beautiful girl.