In Memory of Bracken - a small dog with an Enormous Heart
by Colleen Brand
(Cape Town, South Africa)
Bracken 17 Years and Five Months
Bracken arrived at our home in Cape Town on an SA Airways flight from Johannesburg. She was a gorgeous little puppy and we all just fell in love with her immediately. But the story actually began earlier than this. My husband had decided that a Jack Russell was the perfect breed; gutsy little characters who had retained their working breed characteristics both physically and mentally. He did masses of research through the SA Jack Russell club before deciding that Sandhi’s Rogerson's dogs were the ones he liked most.
And Bracken became an integral part of our family. She was everything anyone could ever want from a dog. Enthusiastic, optimistic, energetic, friendly, courageous and above all loyal. Thoughout her life she enjoyed long hikes in the surrounding mountains with my husband. She would charge around for hours in the fynbos, prancing and pouncing, - chasing dassies (sort of rock rabbits), butterflies and anything that moved. Eyes bright and pink tongue flapping. A tough little thing. I don’t think she ever was sick! When she was about two years old, my husband carefully chose a good partner (Roseberry Garnet of Adelex ’97 Western Cape Champion) for her and she gave birth to five fabulous little puppies. She was a fantastic mom and did everything perfectly – much to our relief as we had had no experience with this.
Bracken was full of guts! Our property borders wild mountain and snakes, mongoose, baboons and porcupines are regular visitors. On many occasions we would be alerted by her barking and come outside to find her defending us against cobra’s (she always new just how close to go without being bitten), puffadders and other animals.
In the last year of her life she became almost totally blind and deaf and eventually her back legs seemed to be collapsing. She became very confused and even got frights when we approached her. She was so good natured though and never snapped. Not ever! Up until the end she still alerted us to porcupines in the back garden at night relying on her sense of smell alone and looking very proud of herself.
It was so terribly difficult to make the decision to euthanize her but eventually we really felt that her quality of life was so bad that it was the kindest thing to do.
Our vet was very kind and we distracted her with some “biltong” (dried meat) that she loved as he “put her to sleep”.
We buried her in our garden where it meets the mountain. A wild leafy glade where birds gather and sing and butterflies flit from flower to flower. A place she loved.
She enriched our lives beyond measure and we will never forget her.