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  • Alistair Tait

"Heart broken" Doesn't. Come. Close.

Izzy and I may have played golf 1,000 times. Maybe more.

Our next round together will take place on that great golf course in the sky.

Izzy went there at 12:40pm on 5 June.

Izzy would have been 13 on 21 July. A stroke last Friday rendered that milestone unreachable. Unable to walk a few steps without falling over, we took her to the vet. The vet said she may have had a vestibular episode, gave her two injections, prescribed some pills and said to monitor her for the next 24 hours. She said 70 percent of dogs recovered.

Unfortunately, Izzy was one of the 30 percent.

It’s hard to convey to non-dog lovers just how integral a dog is to a family. If you’d been in the Tait household this past weekend and witnessed the tears, you’d realise what a dog means to family life. I probably shed more tears over Izzy's death than I did my father’s. My wife and two children couldn’t stem the flow either.

I’m sure the tears will stop eventually.

Izzy was/is worth crying over.

Anyone who saw me at Woburn Golf Club over the last 13 years would have expected to see Izzy in tow. The only times she didn’t accompany me to the club were when I was playing in competitions. On those days I would try to sneak out the house to stop from feeling guilty at leaving her behind.

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Woburn. I wasn’t alone in sometimes thinking Izzy was better behaved than some members. She never had to worry about not raking bunkers properly. On our first visit to the Dukes course she got in the right greenside bunker at the par 3, 6th hole, thought it was the best play pit ever invented and romped around it like she was at the beach. It took me about five minutes to rake it. A few stern words was all it took to stop her from ever going in another bunker.

Like all Woburn members, Izzy had her favourite holes – 10th on the Dukes, 9th on the Marquess and fifth and 12th holes on the Duchess. Izzy would quicken her pace when we reached those holes. They’re the ones closest to the sausage huts.

Izzy had quite a few sausages in her time as a Woburn member, always cut up by friendly Woburn staff who seemed more pleased to see her than they were me. Same goes for friends I play regularly with. Pretty sure they only played with me because Izzy was going to be in the group. Some even packed treats in their golf bags for her. Oh, she knew who they were. No flies on Izzy when it came to food.

I didn’t lose many golf balls when Izzy and I played together. She wouldn’t pick balls up on the greens or fairways, but I would employ her services when I hit a ball into the trees. “Where’s the ball?” I’d say, and more often than not she’d sniff it out. Not just mine, but those of playing companions too. Izzy earned more than a few treats finding my errant tee shots over the years. Yes, there were quite a few.

One thousand games together? Seriously? Well, we reached a deal early in our relationship: Izzy said she didn’t mind playing a few holes at Woburn instead of regular afternoon walks. We played a “few holes” often. It was a win-win deal. She got a walk, and I got to play golf. While I chased birdies, she’d set out after squirrels and muntjac dear. She probably had more success than I did.

She knew her way around the Woburn courses well. Often when I’d reach, say, the sixth on the Marquess and cut over to the 12th hole, Izzy would head down the path towards the 7th tee. She often stop and stare as if to say, “Hey, Numpty, it’s this way.”

When we weren’t traipsing around Woburn, we’d often be walking up Scottish hills. Not sure how many Munros and Corbetts Izzy racked up in her lifetime, but it’s quite a few. And unlike some humans I’ve climbed with, she never complained.

It’s going to be hard to climb in Scotland this summer without Izzy. Just as it’s going to be hard to play Woburn without my faithful friend.

“Broken hearted” doesn’t come close to describing how I and my family feel right now.

Goodbye my big lassie. I love you to bits.

Izzy: 21 July 2008 to 5 June 2021.


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