Not a Wolfdog, but the Best Dog…

Hendrix            24.06.2005 – 24.02.2017

Hendrix was ‘the’ dog, a dog in a million and the dog that changed our world. He was our first dog, we were young (ish) and had no idea what we were doing. It didn’t seem to matter though, Hendrix knew exactly how to be the dog we needed.

I was in my mid 20’s and not in particularly good place emotionally. I had been through a lot and was at the point where I was struggling to leave the house and my husband (Leon) wasn’t sure what to do with me.  During this time I remember him mentioning that when he retired (he was in his early 30’s at this point, so it was a way off) that he wanted to get a black labrador puppy. For some reason this stuck with me. I had dogs as a kid, but Leon had never had a pet before. As I wasn’t working at the time I decided now was the time for a puppy, not waiting until retirement. This could be just what I needed to help me back to being myself again.

I got a copy of the local ‘trade-it’ paper (this was in the days before we did everything on a computer), found an advert for a litter of puppy labradors based about an hours drive away and called them up. To my delight they had one puppy left and they would be 8 weeks old the following day. I said that I would be there in the morning to collect him and that was it.

Nowadays I would do so much more research in to breeders, but back then I didn’t know any better. I arrived the next morning, picked him up, handed over the £250 and left. My friend Ali came with me, luckily she knew a lot more about dogs than me and made sure we had food, bedding and a collar!

From that moment I knew he would change my life, but the moment that will always stay with me is when Leon got home from work that evening. I was holding Hendrix in my arms and he looked through the glass in the front door and I knew that they would be best friends forever, and they were.

From day one Hendrix came everywhere with us and was the kind of dog that is always eager to please. From a young age Hendrix & Leon would go off on adventures, exploring the local area, finding places to swim, chasing a frisbee, retrieving dummies or just playing hide & seek.

Our life changed – we swapped the sporty hatchback for an estate car, we no longer holidayed abroad as Hendrix had to come, we moved to a house with a larger garden and direct access to a field, our nights out were limited to just a few hours unless he was able to come, when I was ready to return to work it was to be part-time so I could be home with him enough and I started to return to myself and Leon and I became stronger together as we had a shared passion – Hendrix. We often referred to him as ‘the glue’ as he really did hold us together.

When our other dogs came along Hendrix was the best role model we could have asked for, he was patient and careful and put up with so much, especially from the wolfdogs.

He was always a healthy dog and other than one episode of kennel cough was never sick. He was accident prone though and had his fair share of vet visits due to poisoning himself with a frog, running in to a low branch of a tree and getting a bit stuck in his eye, slicing open his paw, taking on a badger & getting hit in the face with a tennis ball!

Hendrix was raw fed from day one and loved his food. As he got older he did become a bit overweight as his exercise was reduced due to arthritis. I am not sure he really understood why his walks got shorter and we stopped playing frisbee, his mind was always willing even when his body was not.

If I had to make a list of his favourite things, they would be; being with his humans, frisbee, bones, food and ear rubs.

I can’t explain how much Hendrix meant to us, or how much we miss him or how we feel going home when he is not there, not taking him for a walk or saying goodnight. It is hard facing everyday knowing he is no longer there to help me through, but his legacy has to be that I am stronger now for having known him and won’t let him down.


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