Hugh Falkus: from his book “Some of it was fun”
Writing about his beloved dog.
And the day came (so soon it seemed ) when the leg cancer spread and he couldn’t run at all. We did our best for him. There were two operations. But they didn’t work. After the second, he seemed better for a time. Then very early one morning at daybreak I heard him crying. He was in great pain, and I realised there was no hope whatever.
At that hour we had no chance of a vet, but to let him lie there suffering was unthinkable. To keep a dog is a great responsibility, and I knew that here, alas, was my moment of reckoning. So I took a spade and went down to the Square at the bottom of the Run and dug a hole. Then I got my gun and a piece of chocolate. When he saw the gun his tail twitched with pleasure and he fell silent.
“Come on doggie,” I said softly. “Let’s go and shoot some ducks.”
The magic in those well- known words roused him, and he came slowly down with me to the river. When we reached the hole I gave him the chocolate…and while he was licking it, I shot him.
I took off the old shooting coat I was wearing and spread it out. It’s weird how the mind works when wrenched with emotion. Quite silly sometimes. But I just couldn’t bear to think of the earth going into his eyes…
You will probably think me very sentimental. And perhaps I am. But I don’t care. You see, although times have changed and fishing the Run is only a memory, I can pass the place without regret. I gave that dog as good a life as I could - and when the time came, as quick a death.
I only hope that one day, if necessary, someone will do the same for me.
Hugh Falkus ( born 15th May 1917, died 30th March 1996 ) was one of the foremost natural history film makers and angling writers of the twentieth century.
His film ‘Signals for Survival,’ made with Niko Tinbergen, Nobel Laureate and Professor of Animal behaviour at Oxford, is still the only BBC programme ever to have won both the Montreux Film Festival Italia Prize and New York Film Festival Blue Ribbon Award for documentaries.