WARNING: This post may be upsetting to some so please only read if you are strong enough!
So Friday started the weekend off and it seemed like it would be a normal weekend. I was wrong. On Saturday morning, I had a lie in and came downstairs to discover that the dog was unwell. Nothing too out of the ordinary I thought, her IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) flared up every so often leaving her a bit poorly for a bit. It was only when I saw her trying to walk that I realised how unwell she was. Despite surgery on both her back legs at various stages, this time she was falling over a lot. She seemed to have no strength for brief moments which caused her to fall over. When I saw this, I was really upset and knew that this was serious and potentially fatal for her. She was refusing food completely and would barely have any water.
The day progressed slowly and she fought on. She always was a fighter; at less than a year old she had surgery on one of her back hips and despite the vet telling us she wouldn't be able to put her paw down for a few days, the afternoon when we picked her up from the vet (merely hours after the op) she was putting that paw down! She was hobbling very badly but still fighting the pain and recuperated a lot faster than the vet expected her to!
This Saturday though, she was behaving strangely. She would walk round and round the house for ages in a big circle. As she was falling over a lot, one of us needed to stay with her at all times. After one of her walks, I decided to pick her up in a towel and hold her on my lap. She settled for short naps on my knee and I asked mum to take a picture of me holding the dog. Deep down I somehow knew that she didn't have long left so I wanted a last picture of her. After an hour on my lap, she wanted down and shortly afterwards she went to bed.
I was upset thinking that this was it so was relieved to discover she was still fighting on Sunday. I had another hour long cuddle with her on Sunday and after a brief moment of hope that she had doggy flu, I knew that I wouldn't have long left with her. Dad stayed with her all night but when I came downstairs yesterday (Monday) morning, I could see that she was desperately ill. We had agreed to take her to the vet first thing that morning but before we could leave, we realised that she was in a strange position. Her head was tilted to the right in a distorted way and her right paws were floppy. Her eyes were darting from left to right quite rapidly and she seemed completely unaware of her surroundings. She had gone deaf a couple of years ago so we couldn't attract her attention with sound but her eyes weren't focussing on anything and no amount of patting her was attracting her attention. We left for the vets in tears.
I carried her out to the car and held her the entire journey. She seemed to be twitching a lot and when we arrived at the vets, dad booked her in and explained what was wrong. Mum and I waited in the car until dad came back to bring us in and mum took a couple of photos of her. I was crying my eyes out carrying her in there and a man walking past stopped and stared at the three of us. I felt like screaming at him but kept my cool and walked in, still crying. We walked straight into the consultation room and I laid her down on the table. She always hated the table and had always tried to jump down in the past but again there was no reaction from her. The vet examined her but said that if she'd been fitting like that for more than 15 minutes she would likely have brain damage and it would be much more humane and kind to put her to sleep. I knew it had to be done and thankfully it was done quickly. Just before the vet came in, the dog gave my Mum's hand a couple of licks (mum was her favourite person!) and within seconds of the syringe coming out of the dog's paw, the vet placed her stethoscope over the dog's chest and simply said "she's gone."
I was unashamedly crying by this point. The vet wrapped her up in the little fleece blanket I'd carried her in with and dad carried her back to the car. We all cried together for a bit and then drove her home one last time. I have her collar which I'm going to put in a little frame along with a little bit of her fur and a picture of her.
The vet said that she'd probably had a brain tumour and it had affected her very quickly. It was so quick. In 72 hours, she had gone from seemingly healthy to too ill to save. I still can't take it in that she's gone. It was so fast. The sadness hits me in waves, every so often I cry about her and then I stop for a bit. The hardest bit will be the final goodbye when we bury her. We'll plant a rose beside her in a spot she loved exploring. Then it's a case of moving on.
I can't really do what she "would have wanted" as she's a dog; what she "would have wanted" was a steak and umpteen bonios everyday! But as we're not getting another dog, I guess it could encourage me to focus on something else, writing for example, and try and turn it into a career. Freelance probably. But I just feel like I'm in a nightmare right now and I really want to wake from it and find her in her basket downstairs, looking up at me as if to say "Where's breakfast?"!
As a Westie (small white dog) she was the perfect metaphor for fighting the black dog (ie depression). And as opposite as black and white are colour wise, she could lift any low mood just by her presence. I will miss her so much and already do miss her badly. But at the end of the day, as cheesy as this sounds, it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. I have so many good memories of her, so many funny ones and only one bad one: yesterday.
Goodbye little pet. You will be missed.