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Posts Tagged ‘Dog loss’

Pepper and salt Mini Schnauzer sleeps on a checked blanket
Sleep tight baby boy

I’ve put off writing this as long as I can, but it’s with an impossibly heavy heart that I have to report that our darling Little Bear passed away on 22 June. It was his fifteenth  birthday.

We were meant to be celebrating. He was meant to be tucking into his birthday cake while wearing, just long enough for me to snap a picture, the obligatory, home made birthday hat. Other Half was meant to be rolling his eyes at me as I made him sing to the birthday Bear. Instead, we were saying our goodbyes.

We are beyond heartbroken. We lost Annie 11 months and two weeks before Bear, and now the house is without a furry heartbeat for the first time in sixteen years.

Rapid decline

There is some comfort in the fact that he was unwell for a very short period. Mid-afternoon the day before his birthday he started to tremble. I took him straight to our vet, who suspected a slipped disc. Doped up for the pain, we booked an appointment the next morning for a follow-up. The plan changed though when, as the meds wore off, he became increasingly restless. At one am we headed off to the out of hours vets and he was admitted. They referred him to a specialist and we collected him first thing for the trip to High Wycombe.

After ruling out a disc issue, their concern was that he’d had a neurological event as the emergency vet had spotted some unusual eye flickering during the night. They sent us home while they prepared him for an MRI scan, wanting first to do an ultrasound to rule out any other causes.

Unwilling to go too far away, Stu and I wandered around nearby Marlow. We had lunch while obsessively checking our phones for an update or missed call. Running out of nerves, I called them at lunchtime and the vet called me straight back. They asked for permission to proceed to the MRI as they were just finishing up the ultrasound and had found nothing untoward. We said yes, and they suggested we go home and wait for an update.

Nine minutes later, the vet called back, full of apologies. As they were finishing the scan, they changed the angle and discovered a golf-ball sized tumour on Bear’s liver. There was nothing they could do. Our boy was deteriorating too quickly.

We talked about bringing him home and asking our vet to visit, as we did for Annie and Vizzy, but decided that would be unfair. When we got to the vets, they brought him to us, wrapped in a blanket. He was barely conscious, and I was glad of that. Glad that whatever they had given him for the pain was working as it should. That he was, I prayed not fully aware of what was going on.

Stu grabbed ‘Littler’ from the car, a soft toy Miniature Schnauzer I bought years ago in a car boot sale for 50p. Bear loved it, and for reasons I can’t remember, it had been in the car for weeks. Even doped up, he immediately rested his chin on his teddy and then he slipped quietly away. My Little Bear. My Daemon Dog. My little soul mate was gone.

Legacy

I’ll write more when I’m able to. For now I’m just incredibly sad that he is no longer in the world. He taught me so much and if, by sharing our journey these past twelve years we’ve helped just one other reactive dog, then Bear’s legacy will live on. 

Thank you for following our story. Hold your fur babies close. x

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Annie

Our darling Annie passed away last Friday after telling us she was finally ready for a new adventure. I still can’t quite believe it. Her absence is deafening.

The strange thing is that we had expected that awful day for so long, that when at last it came, it felt surreal. In January, we called the vet because we thought the changes in her behaviour, random demand barking, nighttime disturbances and wandering, were caused by the pain of her arthritis. The diagnosis of dementia was both a shock, but, strange though it sounds, a relief too, just because it seemed to be the lesser of the two evils when compared to physical pain.

We had expected a rapid decline, but thanks to the addition of a new drug, it didn’t really happen that way. She soon started sleeping through the night again and most of the time seemed to be her usual waggy, happy self. She even started asking for the odd walk, never far, but evidence of an interest in the world that we were always happy to oblige.

Our vet made another house call just three weeks ago, and we heaved a great sigh of relief that she didn’t sit us down for ‘the talk’. We all agreed that so long as she was still pottering around, enjoying her food and cuddles and, most importantly, was as pain free as possible, then nothing needed to change.

The look

People say that they tell you when it’s time. Until last week I might have considered that wishful thinking. The product of the unbearable weight of having to play God. But Annie was always a great communicator.

On Thursday afternoon, as I typed away on my makeshift desk in the living room, she fixed me with a look that I couldn’t explain any other way. She didn’t leave her bed again. Refusing all attempts to coax or lift her onto her feet, as if adding a big fat exclamation mark to what she’d just said to me. For that clarity, I will always be thankful.

She passed away peacefully in my arms at 1.30 on Friday afternoon. We brought Bear downstairs to say his goodbyes, but he kept his distance, seeming to sense what had happened but not wanting to see for himself.

Life after love

After the vet left, Other Half and I busied ourselves washing bedding and picking up the dozens of rugs and mats that gave her safe passage across the laminate floor. Next we rearranged the furniture that had many months ago been consigned to corners to give her clear routes, then I moved my work things back up to my office. The duvet and pillow left the sofa and went back upstairs. It seemed at once a betrayal and a necessity. I still expect to see her in her bed by the sofa, tail wagging, eyes expectant, and to have left it there empty would have made it so much worse.

I hope that in time I can write more eloquently about our girl how our runaway foster fail changed our lives. For now, I’m just too heart-sore. All I can say is that we were truly blessed to have known and loved her. Life will never be the same, but that’s how life should be after great love, isn’t it? Forever changed by the force of it. Rest well, my darling girl. Until the next time. ❤️❤️❤️

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