An explorer from the Moorlands has spoken of the recent loss of his pooch pal who was his 'lockdown buddy.' After the shock death of his puppy Levison Wood ‘Forsbrook’s Walking Man’, prize winning author, explorer, photographer and television star reflected recently on a pet’s power to change us.
An explorer from the Moorlands has spoken of the recent loss of his pooch pal who was his ‘lockdown buddy.’
After the shock death of his puppy Levison Wood ‘Forsbrook’s Walking Man’, prize winning author, explorer, photographer and television star reflected recently on a pet’s power to change us.
He said: “Anyone who has ever owned a dog can empathise with that feeling of great loss and heartbreak when one passes away.
“It hit me like a sledge hammer when I learnt that my own dog Byron passed away just a couple of weeks ago from some mysterious virus whilst I was overseas.
“He was just eight months old and became my ‘lockdown buddy.’
“Originally bred to hunt lions and defend against predators in the African bush, he grew very quickly the size of a small horse, for he was a Rhodesian ridgeback.
“I named him after the sentimental poet, for even as a wrinkly pup he appeared to be the most thoughtful, noble and courageous beast I have ever encountered.
“And I was also hoping that he might give me some literary inspiration during the long dark days we have all encountered during lockdown.
“Since I could not travel, I thought I could at least write but puppies are not conducive to writing.
“Byron came into my life as a 38th birthday present to myself and I simply fell in love with him becoming my constant companion even into the shower.
“Crate training to stay off the bed lasted for just two weeks before I succumbed to his big dopey eyes and thereafter took up position around my feet.
“Every day we would walk along the Thames Path or into the Park near Hampton Court where I now live, being so gentle with little dogs who came near him to play with this long legged giant.
“Byron would not hurt a fly and spent many happy hours with ‘Rags’, a Jack Russel who often tried to put him into his place. Byron would simply smile in his own way and put his enormous paw onto his head.
“Thus when I heard that he had passed away my world suddenly felt empty and the feeling of grief was overwhelming.
“Having just had a microlite flying accident that left my heel bone detached and in plaster my one desire was to get home without delay to see him one final time.
“Even whilst on the surgeon’s table I considered that they could repair my foot but couldn’t mend a shattered and broken heart. My not so little ‘best friend’ was gone forever.
“He had taught me feelings about life my adventures never could, no matter where I travelled.
“So when only two days ago my neighbour who had been walking the same path that we enjoyed so much presented a small plastic dog into my hand. She told me that her own dog had been sniffing the grass, suddenly barked and sat down.
“It was the image of Byron… my little angel had sent a message from above to say that he was okay and he was on his own next adventure.”
Lev’s dad, of the same name and who still lives in Forsbrook, told the Times & Echo: “With so many messages of sympathy from across the world on Instagram/ Twitter etc and over 300 just from our little village, it shows the love and warmth people can feel about others.
“Sadly in these dark days we need a bit of love, and that is what this story is all about.”
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