Shelly was rather lucky to gain a Nanny position out in the English countryside. The new family she was going to work for seemed lovely, and Shelly had a good feeling about them. She couldn't put her finger on it but there was something reassuring when she was with this family, and Shelly knew she had to accept their job offer. Perhaps it was because this family had so many animals in their lives. Shelly had grown up around animals so understood the bond a person can share with a treasured pet. Minta, a soppy golden lab was such a pet, and it was clear she was the heart of the family. As the months past and Shelly became entwined in the lives of the family she cared for, and Minta proved to be a loyal companion. You see Shelly was not just a Nanny. Her job description was a little vague. When the children were at school Shelly kept herself busy with house work, washing, cooking, and lots of ironing. However their was always plenty of time left in the day. So taking Minta for a long walk became a welcome routine. It gave Shelly the opportunity to get out of the house appreciate were she lived. The family's home was the Manor House of a quaint little village. The houses were built with golden stone, and perched along a hill side looking over a patchwork of fields. A picture post card village with it's tiny shop, stepled church and old English pub covered in rambling roses. Shelly had the freedom to explore the entire estate, and often took one of the horses out so they could explore further a field. Out through the sheep paddocks they would go, passed the nut grove and across the fields into the woods. Sometimes they would cut through the wheat crops to the green lake where Minta would have a swim. Even during the coldest winters when a blanket of snow lay across the estate, Shelly and Minta would set off together for their daily walk. That was until the sad news came. That day would always remain very clear in Shelly's memory. Minta her friend was sick. She was riddled with cancer and had been ill and suffering for sometime. But Minta being the wonderful creature she was, did not show her pain, while the silent killer did it's worst. The vet said it was best to let her sleep, so Minta did not wake up from her operation. It was just so sudden, not time for goodbyes. Those soft brown eyes looking up with such love, her goofy smile and her wiggly walk where now just a memory. The family didn't talk about Minta after that day. The guilt was raw, how could they have not known. Their beloved friend had suffered alone. Shelly stayed on with the family, for years in fact, as she watched the children grow up. Christmas's came and went, and flowers of love grew around Minta's grave in abundance. The house remained the same. It was always cheerfully busy and noisy, with plenty of house work to be done, especially when the chickens wandered into the kitchen. But there was still an empty space in front of the aga, where Minta used to lye. Shelly helped out in the stables and cared for the horses to fill her days, when the children were at school. She still went out riding and loved galloping through the wheat fields on a summers day. And sometimes, just for an instance, Shelly thought she could see her golden friend, her beloved Minta running beside her amongst the leafy wheat stems.
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