Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A dog's life?

I had a new experience yesterday. I went to the vet. No, I wasn't ailing and no, I haven't acquired an animal. I was meeting Mrs Heathbank who had been held up by a scarcity of vets and was lurking in the car park with her canine companions awaiting their turn. Because it was a mild, pleasant afternoon, other animals and their people were doing the same thing, and the car park was quite busy. Apparently an ailment called kennel cough is rampant in Dunoon and vaccinations were the order of the day for the Heathbank Kennel Club, whose members include one Hamish, yet another small spaniel.

However, this jolly family outing was put into perspective by the presence of another friend of mine whose 15-year-old dog was at the vet for the last time. If you know me at all, you'll know that dogs are not my thing, but I found it difficult to be detached as I stood with this quiet, dignified collie waiting to be called. When he left, my friend couldn't bear to go and her partner took the dog away. There was no fuss, and we went on talking. I was aware of trying to keep it light and mildly distracting - and then the partner returned carrying the lead. And that was that.

I hope I was of some use. But I wonder if everyone who gets a puppy or a kitten thinks on that day of the other end of the animal's life - because any pet-owner stands a good chance of outliving their pet and having to deal with their end. And many will have to make the decision when that end will be. I suppose they think it's worth it.

This post, by the way, is dedicated to Charlie, who thinks I write too much about church. Tomorrow I feel a post coming on about grammar ...


  1. Yes, it was very sad, but at least we pet owners can do this kindness for our animal friends. That collie left us with dignity.

  2. Anonymous11:15 PM

    this struck a chord with me, as yesterday Itoo was at the vet with my Bethany, but she was sent home for a wee while longer - rampant cancer all through her - after 15 years it is sad. I cant seem to reply to Di - please tell her she looks splendid at the wedding, and it wasnt really my fault she was late for sallys wedding, even if I could be blamed for the soggy bottom! love Doddy

  3. Ah, Chris...anyone who owns a pet does indeed know that the day will come all too soon when our little companions will look us in the eye and tell us that it is their "time".

    Before our Angus, we had a wire-haired fox terrier. Lady was the most timid, sweet, dainty little dog, ever! Tiny, compared to the standard, she was frightened of her shadow. It was not our doing...she had been a "kennel dog" for her first 11 months. When we freed her from life on concrete floors and several other dogs, she was not grateful at all. Instead, she would hide from us...After several months of patient coaxing, she suddenly realized we were her friends, not rivals who might hurt her!

    Lady was with us for almost 12years. At the end, she could no longer walk. I had to carry her outside and set her down. When she began hiding behind the toilet in the bathroom, the vet advised me this was Lady's equivalent to a wild dog going off into the wilderness to die.

    The cold September night of her last vet visit, Michelle insisted on going with me. Not able to watch, we left her with the vet, telling her good-bye and feeling as though I was killing my friend.

    NO MORE DOGS....EVER!!!! I informed my family I would never go through that again.

    About a month later, I would awaken in the morning, longing to hear the ticking sound of nails on the hardwood floors. It drove me crazy...some days, my ears literally ached from listening. It was then that I discovered the best therapy for such a loss was to get a puppy. Not a replacement. A NEW puppy...one who could begin the healing process and cause my heart to laugh once again.

    Each dog I have ever had has his or her own story. Each was my best friend. And so, each remains.....

    It was very kind of you to remain with your friend. I know she appreciated it, even if she did not say so...

    Oh, and kennel cough is a dreadful illness...so many dogs cannot recover from it! If one wants to board a dog here, the dog must be vaccinated against the disease.

  4. Anonymous6:40 PM

    Thank you gorgeous. You've made my day!

  5. Doddy - I shall, but I don't know why you couldn't post to her blog: did you do the word verification and so on?