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Angus - Everybody's Friend

Everybody in the Wandsworth Common area knew and loved Angus and they miss him now he is gone.

He was loyal, gentle and above all displayed a wonderful temperament with children. Countless are the toddlers who at first flinched when they saw our gentle giant ambling towards them, fluffy tail wagging and one eye on the pushchair in case there was a "snack" to rummage for.  He would readily sit or lay down so that they could tentatively touch his flank and then with encouragement move on to stroking an ear or his head. Many childly fears were set aside and new friends made. One even asked to ride him! 

He adored it. And we adored him. He could hear the biscuit tin five miles away and could find the only puddle in the Sahara (preferably muddy) He was a great big soft Goldie. Just one look from him and people melted. Big eyes, tongue lolloping, tail wagging furiously and a winning smile on his face. 

Angus came to us in January 2010 in the middle of a snow storm and as he passed to what our five-year-old grandson calls Doggy Heaven, a flurry was falling. Full circle and how fitting. He had lived his life to the full. 

He "brought up" our two grandsons (the eldest now 17) to love fun and frolics by chasing balls and rushing headlong into streams with the trusting loyalty all Goldens have in abundance. He was always first to the door to greet them. There was only one thing at which he was useless - retrieving!  Throw a toy or a ball and he would go after it and find it, but having done that he felt it was up to the human to collect it. The exception was a ball thrown into a pond. He would deposit that somewhere on the bank for a repeat performance.

Our friends relish telling the story of my first solo foray with him onto Wimbledon Common, a place he truly loved. All went swimmingly (I choose that word deliberately) until we came to the pond near the A3. Dogs are prohibited from it  but Angus could not read the signs, so in he plunged, swimming to his heart's content. It was a lovely day, so after the exercise he felt like a lay down to dry off and enjoy the surroundings - on the island in the middle of the lake. He came back to his new owner in his own good time, no damage done, with a quizzical Goldie look. "Who me? I was just having fun".

He always insisted that when we bought either grandson an ice cream that he would have one too. A vanilla cone was his favourite, usually disappearing in two or three deft flicks of the tongue. Ice cream brain freeze? No problem. His other "treat" was a daily croissant whenever we stopped on our walks for a morning coffee. Or if that happened at the cafe on Wimbledon Common or by the snack van in Richmond Park, he always relished a sausage.

He was our first dog and to the best our knowledge he was the first Goldie in the area. His popularity made him a trendsetter - now there are lots of Goldies to remind us of him. They are lovely to see, always calm and friendly.

And his celebrity spread much further than our area of SW London. We borrow a friend's house in Dorset and he knew the moment he saw the car being loaded where he was off to. To Hambledon Hill, the highest point in the county from where he would survey his domain. To the marvellous beaches at Studland Bay and to the village where everyone knew and spoilt him. He could hardly get out of the car on arrival before neighbours would come to greet him (not us).

Now he is gone but can never be forgotten. He gave us 11 years of total joy and we hope we repaid that by giving him a loving, safe home. In his last months he slowed notably because of arthritis and found it difficult to stand for long on his front legs although walking was fine. But even in his decline he remained a character...on their website our vet uses pictures of him having acupuncture and laser treatment. Angus, a star to the very end.

Thank you our wonderful Big Boy.