My life changed in 2003. I had a dream job, my own wedding dress business which I had run for 15 years with my best friend. I didn’t have a partner in my life and I was ready to meet someone special, but I was resigned to a life as a singleton. I decided that the answer would be to give up the search for a man and get a dog! A whippet. Not just any dog, I had grown up with a whippet and for me there was no other choice. It just happened that the mother of my vet’s whippet, Frodo, was with pup so my name went on the list!
When the time came I was asked to go and choose a puppy when they were just 4 days old. I was leaving on an epic trek to Nepal for 4 weeks and they wanted me to have first choice. Well, the choice was Bruno's - this 4 day old pup with his eyes closed walked across my friend’s chest, then mine and nestled in my arm pit! ‘I shall call him Bruno’ I said. I knew then he was a determined little character, but had no idea how much he would change my life. 12 weeks later he came home, and to cut a rather long story short, 3 weeks after that I met my husband!
Throughout his 14 years and 2 months Bruno made us laugh constantly, he was by my side almost every day. At the beginning he came to the Bridal Shop and charmed the ladies, then he came to my little gift shop in Devon and charmed the customers. In later years, he was beside me in my workroom keeping me company, and charming my loyal helpers. He was never happier than when he was with me. In fact, so strong was the bond that when we left him with his breeder for our first holiday, he did not eat for 4 days, even though he was with his mum and sister. Then, in later years, he and Frankie both went on hunger strike when left in the familiar hands of a lovely lady. She had never known dogs so attached to their humans!
When Bruno reached 1 year old, Frankie, our rescue girl, came into our lives. They quickly became great companions and partners in crime. Bruno taught her that everything would be OK with us in her new life, and in return she taught him the delights of rolling in fox poo and how to run and run without a care in the world!
The bond between Bruno and I that developed in those early years was to become ever stronger. We saw him through two broken bicep tendons, an MRSA infection, Autoimmune disorder and in later years a heart murmur that developed into heart failure. But he was strong – that bond, our love and the good care of several vets saw him through to a good old age. Despite heart failure, he lived 2 years longer than the vets predicted.
Bruno taught me several lessons, the most important of which are, to take any opportunity that is put in front of you – he did this by thieving food or soft toys when you weren’t looking! He taught me to value those that are dear to me, and never to take anyone for granted. He showed me that it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks, how to charm people by being gentle and kind. He showed me how to love without condition, and how to say goodbye when your heart is breaking because it is the right thing.
We have so many memories of our darling boy, and luckily many amazing photos of him. His legacy must surely be this business that he inspired. I had no idea in 2003 that I would, 7 years later, be making dog clothing for a living and not wedding dresses. He guided me into this, and for that I am so very grateful. He provided constant inspiration to design and make better products. He made me pick my knitting needles after a 30 year break, and this led to my dream of writing a book being a reality –Dogs in Jumpers is now published in 5 countries!
So, if you have ever purchased one of our products, you have Bruno to thank for it. They have all come from the needs of a little blue whippet with alopecia, who hated the cold and wouldn’t go out in the rain!
RIP my amazing best friend, you are forever loved and remembered.