This week, since it was Valentine’s Day, I’ve been thinking about who I love most in the world. I mean, really love. Readers of my books will know that I always thank three names in every book: Alex, Luke and Rum. So, I think Rum deserves to have a blog post written about him!
Rum is my dog. He’s a Jack Russell Terrier who thinks he is a kangaroo – yes, that’s who inspired Ripper in Leger’s Valentine. He’s a real character, unlike any other dog I’ve ever met. He loves watching Emmerdale, eating carrots and bananas and climbing on top of people. He gets away with it because he’s so small. He often walks on three legs, just because he likes to and has a fear of tractors.
Our previous dog, Bidean died in January 2015. After she passed away, we weren’t sure we wanted to get another pet. Bidean had a lot of health problems and had become aggressive in later years. It was heartbreaking. So, when Bidean’s great-niece had a litter of pups in October that year, we decided to visit to see if we might get along with one of the pups.
He was one of three boys. Rum was first-born, just before midnight on 27th October. His two brothers, Eigg and Muck followed after midnight on 28th October. The names come from the Scottish island group (their granny was named Canna). I saw a picture of the three of them before visiting and instantly fell in love with Rum. I knew I had a connection with him before we even met. I told myself I was being silly but I hoped it would be the same when we met. We had picked the name Vorlich before meeting him. Afterwards, we thought Rum suited him so much. It’s short and snappy and just suits him better. Although once I lost him and I was in the street shouting Rum at the top of my voice. The neighbours probably thought I was a mad alcoholic or something. The name wasn’t really thought through.
We visited as a family. Luke and Alex liked the puppies well enough but for me, it was love. Rum was around the size of a hamster. He sat on my lap and fell asleep straight away. Snuggled in to my belly, so comfortable. I knew that he had chosen me too.
2015 was a difficult year for me and my family. We had a lot of bad luck, bad news and bad times. We needed someone like Rum to come into our lives and brighten our days.
He’s not just a dog to us. He is a friend and brother to Luke. He is a walking companion for Alex. And he is a writing buddy and a muse to me – not to mention the best therapist any of us have ever had. He’s a better listener than any counsellor I have met and he helps Luke to say the things he really wants to say when he can’t find the words himself. What do I mean? Luke will become Rum’s voice and “Rum” will speak through him.
Rum is as much a part of our family as any human, and in fact, I’d go so far as to say that I like Rum more than I like most humans. He gives so much and all he wants in return is to be walked, fed and loved. If you’d like to follow Rum on Instagram, he can be found as RumTheJackRussell on there.
Do you have a dog who means the world to you? Or perhaps another animal?