Goodbye Hobbs

Goodbye Hobbs
Emma Bettridge and Josephine Birch

Based on real life events of love, loss and grieving, the author offers a dog’s eye view of losing a very dear friend. It’s with great reluctance, that Merlin eventually follows his owner out of the house for a walk to the shops. It’s hard for him to do so without Hobbs, his gentle black Labrador best friend.

As they walk, Merlin catches the scent of something on the wind and following his nose he detects a message asking ‘ … How are you today?’ but the message is incomplete. Merlin sniffs again and again as they continue walking and he finally stops beneath a weeping willow tree beside the river. ‘I just wanted to tell you that I am OK. It was time for me to go away. I love you. If you need me …’ Again the message stops mid-sentence.

On the two go, Merlin sniffing and gathering pace as he and his human head through the woods, back towards the village, bound for home.

Still sniffing and alert to any message, Merlin finally receives the words he needs so much. Words that will help him cope with those feelings of near despair as little by little he accepts that although his belloved Hobbs is no longer present in a physical form, he remains in the form of memories of the wonderful times the two have shared over the years together.

Josephine Birch’s painterly illustrations of the walk capture the complex emotions of Merlin. Her initial sombre colour palette changes to one of warm autumnal shades, and her subdued brush strokes become more exuberant as his mood lifts with each new discovery of his friend’s scented messages.

A helpful book for any parents or educators wanting something to help explain the feelings surrounding the loss of a loved one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.