Loss

Almost a week since I lost the light of my life – my little old dog. I’ve been down, very down. Then things seems to get a little easier and boom it hits again. I miss him so much. He was such a calm, kind, funny little dog. Literally everyone that met him loved him.

When I lost my old dog Angus I had sworn to never get another dog. Losing them was so hard. Then I started volunteering to dog walk at Munlochy Animal Aid. One day, after I’d been helping out for a couple of months, I went in to the kennels one morning to see this scruffy little grey and white dog cowering in a kennel. I pretty much knew then I’d have to take him home. He was so quiet and calm and trusting. Never pulled on the lead, answered to his name and was already house trained. The perfect little dog. Oh sure he had his own little quirks – don’t we all? His was chewing fabric when he was nervous or stressed. Also he absolutely loved eating tissues or paper towels! To begin with he was very nervous of the car but although he never loved it like some dogs, he got used to it because it almost always meant he was going a walk somewhere good.

For the past 8 years he has been my constant companion, my friend, my comfort. I hope I was the same for him. He was so scared of loud bangs, fireworks terrified him and if you grabbed his collar he hit the ground like he expected to be beaten. This broke my heart every time it happened. I had no idea what had happened to him before he came to me.

A couple of years ago he had an attack of vestibular disease, which was terrifying at the time, but to see his recovery was amazing. He bounced right back. He was a little wobbly on his back legs and he had a slight head tilt although most of the time you would never notice. Then last year he developed some lumps on his back legs which turned out to be cancerous but, after he had these removed as best the vet could, again he bounced right back. He was incredibly resilient and brave. My little dog was the only reason I was getting out of bed earlier this year for quite some time. Caring for him was what kept me going more than anything else. Even though through all my emotional upheaval he wasn’t well either, I like to think we kept each other going.

A couple of months ago I thought I had lost him when he suffered from an extremely acute case of pancreatitis and didn’t eat for almost a week and spent all that time in the vets. The nurses and vets were amazing with him and didn’t give up on him. Again he seemed to turn a corner and fought his way back to come home. He noticeably slowed down and struggled to walk some days, other days was his old self. Throughout it all he never gave up being a brave little soul.

A couple of weeks ago he started to drip wee a lot again. I assumed it was another infection but he seemed uncomfortable and didn’t sleep or eat much except for biscuits or chicken. When a course of antibiotics didn’t seem to be working I took him in to the vet for more blood tests and examinations. If I had known that was the last time I’d see him I would have hugged and kissed him so hard, but I didn’t know, so I tried to seem cheerful and told him I’d see him in a wee while. A few short hours later he was gone. A light went out. He had a massive tumour growing in his abdomen that couldn’t be removed. I couldn’t let him suffer any more, much as it broke my heart.

I go over and over all the things I did wrong or could have done better for him. Could I have done anything sooner that would have saved him, kept him with me longer. Of course you can’t change the past but I wish I could. I wish I could have given him so much more. I miss him so much but part of me is relieved that he isn’t in pain and trying to keep going for me. He was the most cheerful, brave little dog and I think he made me a better person.

I’ve had so many lovely messages and gestures of support from friends and colleagues this week. Each one of them has brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate every one of them. I can’t really talk about it yet to tell them how much they all mean but I hope they know.

I know it will take a long time to get over my loss but while I’m grieving I apologise if I seem rude or distant. I will get back to being a grumpy miserable cow soon, I’m sure.

Sleep well my brave little dog, Jock pop.

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