It's amazing really how dogs find a way to get right into your heart. They have a way of always knowing what it is you need, whether it's a quiet companion at your feet, or just a head on your knee.
My mum's wee Maltese died today.
There was no signs of illness, he just passed away in his sleep at the age of 4. My mum came home to find his tiny body curled up on his favorite bed, peacefully asleep forever more.
My heart broke as she began to pour out her pain and it travelled across the miles of telephone cable, I could here in her voice the love she had for that tiny bundle of fur, who would steal things to be naughty and then bring them back again knowing he would get a treat.
Yes, he was spoilt. In a sense, he was her last child. Not long after my younger brother left the nest, the little dog arrived. My step-father is not a dog lover, but eventually he grew to love "Just this dog. Just our dog", and I would see him sneaking the best bits of meat to the dog who was not allowed to be fed from the table.
I had no words to offer her that would make it all right, and for a change I was the parent - offering promises that this too would pass and the pain would lessen every day.
He was a great dog.