The hardest goodbyes

If you’re not a pet lover stop reading now because you just won’t get this! If you are you’ll understand how hard it is to make that decision that it’s time to let them go.

It’s weighing up the balance and trying to decide when it falls against quality of life. If you let them go a day too soon you can’t give that time back to them. If you let them go on too long they’re suffering needlessly.

This photo breaks my heart and yet warms it at the same time. The final moments spent with these two wee rescues before we let them both go. One 18 and only with us 15 months, the other 17 and came to us as an unwanted pup who was being drowned.

It took several trips to the vet with both before I agreed that we were at the end of the road. My husband and I spent the morning in the garden with them in the sunshine, then let them go to their beds and held them gently as the vet released them from their pain.

So where is the comfort in this? It is in the memories they left us with. The days spent walking with a joyful girl who loved life and was full of energy until the end.

The joy of having seen an elderly dog who had lost her family and her home, blossoming again when she realised she was once again home.

The laughter at the antics of the tiny pup learning to climb stairs without tumbling back down each one. The antics of a little old lady who loved nothing more than a rummage in the rubbish in case a model of food had accidentally been thrown away.

The comfort of a little wet nose pushed into your hand when you were feeling a bit low.

I do regret that we didn’t have enough time together but whether that time was 17 years or 15 months it was time worth having.

Doggy dilemas

Sitting downstairs from 6.30 am with this one on my knee because….as an older lady…..she has perfected the “if you don’t come down I may be going to pee in the house but actually I just think you should feed me and give me a cuddle” bark…….And I can’t take any chances. Not only that but my Newfoundland ( who is also elderly) doesn’t appreciate the early morning barking either. He assumes she is aware of danger and he needs to take action……. Like find somewhere to hide or find someone to protect him!

Meanwhile this boy feels the need to gather as many of my clothes as his tiny body can drag to my bed. As I was sorting out my wardrobe yesterday he’s obviously been too busy to get much sleep last night!

For those who don’t know me I currently have 4 dogs……Or rather they currently have me. I love them all very much and they all have very different petsonalities……But after a night out on the town with a few glasses of red wine I could do without the early morning alarm call! So next time she does this I shall put my head under the pillow and ignore them both……..Though that may be difficult if the newfy tries to get into bed with us as he has done before when terrified 😫

Teed off

Marriage tip -Don’t let your husband play golf near anywhere you love to walk.

Me, walking, enjoying the mountains, the sand dunes with the sea appearing, the sound of the birds, the sound of the waves …….And him rabbiting on “Can you see that green over there that’s where Jonny…….” “Look at the the tee box…..when I teed off from there……”

I’m pretty teed off myself! Thank goodness dogs don’t golf! Stick with the dogs for walking …..You may have to pick up 💩 but you want have to listen to it 🙉

PS I love him really ❤️

Dogs, dogs and more dogs

My family think I’m obsessed with dogs which is totally nonsense. I’m not obsessed with them at all……I just like them that’s all……quite a lot.

Most dogs like me too. That’s the reason I have to stop to say hello to them. I can see them looking at me as I walk past……Not in a passing glance sort of way but in a very definite “Yoohoo I’m over here” way! It would be hurtful to ignore that!

My husband was adamant I should at least have tried to ignore it at LA airport security but the beautiful springer spaniel was determined I should talk to him before he carried out his search duties….Which did cause both my husband and the security guard a few anxious moments.

I wonder if I’ve been a dog in a past life? Is that why I have that affinity with them? I don’t generally sniff lampposts or greet people with a nose up their bottom but I do like eating, sleeping, going for walks and being made a fuss off. To be fair in my other past life working with young children I have followed a few around, nose close to bottom height sniffing -not my favourite part of the job 😷 💩

Anyway I’m certainly not obsessed with dogs- despite the fact my son just told me that his friend says he tells his new pup “just a quick hello then walk on” is appropriate on meeting another dog. ” Just like we need to keep reminding you mum!”

Dogs and disasters on the world wide web

This is Barney. I’ve always loved cocker spaniels from an early age. One day I decided that I would like to get one. So I got Barney. Not a rescue dog but a pup from a small “hobby breeder” who had two beautiful bitches that he showed. I did my homework, pre-internet and gumtree days, before I choose the breeder and the pup.

Barney came with a pedigree as long as your arm but it was still no guarantee of healthy dog. My poor wee man took his first seizure at 6 months and died at just 4 despite all the medication he was on having gone into “status epilepticus” or constant seizures.

But this isn’t about pedigree v mongrel, rescue v buying or about Barney’s ill health …except that it was mainly because of Barney I began to use the internet and became familiar with Google……Possibly over familiar 🤔

Barney was a black cocker and was hairier than the average cocker. He was also slightly on the large side. People were always asking me what breed he was……I was so delighted to meet one lady in the park who commented on how beautiful he was and how he was “very obviously a good pedigree” .l

….then asked “what breed is he?”

Wouldn’t have been so bad but she had a golden cocker with her.

So back I went to google. It had been a godsend when it came to getting information about canine epilepsy and treatments available. At least I thought so……Ian my vet got quite irritated by my constant “helpful advice”.

“You wouldn’t go to your doctor and tell him how to treat your children would you?”

Course not! Thanks to dr google’s advice I rarely had to take my children to the doctor!

Anyway back to Barney. He couldn’t be that unusual for his breed could he? So I did a search of Google images “cocker big black hairy male” ………And that was how I learned about internet safety settings 🙈

A blue boob and Pocahontas

How are the two connected? Well they’re not really except that they were both times when I ended up looking slightly crazy while trying to do the right thing.

Let’s start with the boob as I know that’s why you’re here.

Any woman who has found a lump in her breast knows the fear that courses through you…..But thankfully for 9 out of 10 of us those lumps will turn out to be something harmless. In my case they’re cysts. Once I found one and as usual made a GP appointment to have it checked out. Knowing how busy doctors are and wanting to make life simple I marked the spot with a big black x …..And went to work.

Later that day I explained to the GP why I was there and undressed for the examination telling her ( smugly) I’d marked the lump with felt tip…….What had started out that morning as a small neat black “x” was now a big blue smudge covering the whole of my breast! I have the most professional GP ever! She excused herself , left the room briefly then returned acting as if a blue boob was something she examined every day of the week 🙈

Pocahontas was again one of those times were things took an expected turn. I was a nursery teacher and we were having a fancy dress party at school- see straightforward so far).I decided to be Pocahontas and to wear my costume to and from school as I was going straight there and home…..I thought.

Getting there wasn’t an issue, the party went well and the children loved my costume. Then for the drive home.

Well, along the busiest road on my journey home, in rush hour traffic, I spotted a tiny dog running back and forward dodging cars and lorries and no-one was stopping! So I did….I stopped and I chased and I risked life and limb getting tooted at……but I got it safely back to its home were the owner snstched it from me without a word and closed the door in my face! I was livid. I went home and told my husband the whole sorry tale!

“I get why you’re annoyed” he said ” you see an ungrateful owner whose dog you saved…… However…….I see a woman who opens her door, sees a lunatic in war paint standing there holding her dogs so grabs it and gets herself and it safely inside and phones the police! The sight of you running around like that in broad daylight was likely to cause more accidents then the dog!”

Just as well I wasn’t in my pirate costume then 🤔

The not so bright side of life

So in recent years I’ve become involved to a small degree in dog rescue. I’ve had several rescue dogs over the years, helped with fundraising, fostered dogs, volunteered for a while cleaning kennels, feeding dogs, exercising, now researching why so many dogs end up unwanted …….and it is hard not to feel overwhelmed by the huge problem we have created in our throwaway society.

Take last night ……in 20 minutes looking at local Gumtree ads I came across many dogs being rehomed because their owner was moving house and the new landlord didn’t allow dogs……Or people who had “no longer” the time to give the dog “what it deserves”. Or people who’s relationship had ended and while the children, car and couch were all well worth fighting over neither of them wanted the dog in their new lives.

I came across 5 dogs all needing rehomed from one owner. I came across one lady who was selling a dogs, a dresser, a lamp and also for the princely sum of £90 was selling her 9 year old chocolate lab as she had two labs and now felt (after 5 years) that one was enough.

I look at all these beautiful trusting faces in the photos and my heart breaks. They have no say over the home you sell or give them to. They have no control over their future. They just want a roof over their heads, someone to love them, exercise them, play with them, feed and water them. Some of them will undoubtedly get that and more. They may become part of a wonderful, loving family and for them their life may get better. But as anyone in rescue knows the next family is also likely to sell them for the same reasons above or for others. They will spend their lives being passed from one home to the next. Homes where their needs are still the same but the expectations, routines, rules of the new family will differ. They don’t know what is expected from them so they become insecure and develop behaviour problems. What happens then?

What happens when no other “loving family” answers that ad? When you ring around the rescues with a variety of excuses but they’re all bursting at the seams?

I can’t even bear to write down the possibilities of what happens then.

I don’t want to be drawn any deeper into this dark place. Instead I’m going to cuddle my fat little elderly rescue then I’m going to put on my wellies and go for a tramp around the muddy fields throwing balls to tire out my two younger rescues while my newfy plods along by my side.

And I’m going to look into their eyes and promise them that I will do everything in my power to make sure that their world is never turned upside-down.