I’ve been quiet again on the blog, and also haven’t been reading many other blogs, so my apologies. However, there has been a lot of reading, writing and submitting of manuscripts (to an agent, two publishers and a competition), so I’m happy about that. No good news yet but I’ll be sure to let you know 🙂
There was one very sad event which has taken up much time and emotional energy. Our big dog Tillie had been slowing down noticeably since Christmas. By late July, she was only managing short walks and I was hand-feeding her a lot of her meals. She even enjoyed breakfast in bed a few times, not wanting to get up until absolutely necessary (ie: when the dog leash was produced).
Finally we got the vet in for a house visit. Sophia was wonderful and did some tests. Apart from her arthritis and advanced age (at 14, she was doing extremely well for a 46kg dog), her blood tests showed some anaemia. So Sophia suggested we try an ultrasound. Since Tillie could no longer walk up the street to our vet’s, or even get in the car, Sophia brought down their new portable ultrasound, which doesn’t provide the same depth of scan as their in-house one. However, it was enough to check Tillie’s stomach and find some very large tumours. These were ones common in dogs, and often not found until they rupture suddenly and the animal loses blood, thus the anaemia.
The only relief in this diagnosis was that there was no question about what was going to happen next. Only when. That is the hardest part. Sadly, having animal companions is sometimes having to make that decision on their behalf – when is the best time?
Tillie decided herself the next morning. We tried to encourage her off her bed to walk outside to go to the toilet, but she couldn’t get up at all. She ate a handful of roast chicken (the only food she was eating by this point) and some liver treats, and we called the vet.
I can recommend having the vet come to you for this event. Tillie didn’t have to endure being lifted in and out of the car, and she rested on her bed with me reading beside her while we waited, and her companion Elvis on his own bed and the cats coming in and out. She napped on and off, and didn’t seem too uncomfortable.
All I can say more than this is that she seemed at peace, and she knew it was time, just as she’d told us she couldn’t walk too far, or eat too much. She was a gentle and dignified giant bear of a dog, right to the end, and I am so happy we were able to make her final 3 1/2 years ones of love and comfort and happiness.
Tillie, you gave us so much love and laughs in return, and I miss so much our hugs and the way you leaned against my legs for a head rub, and how you let me press my forehead against yours when I came home from a rough day at work, and the way you feinted at the chickens to make them flutter off in fright while you walked off with a doggy smile on your face. I miss you asleep on the couch with Elvis, a third your size but your best friend/rival. You loved him, us, the cats (you longed to get close to them but had to make do with being allowed the occasional nuzzle), visitors, liver treats and galloping headlong towards us on the oval on our early morning walks.