Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sad Times

Sorry for the lack of blogging but its been a sad time at home.

In the early hours of Sunday 20th April we had the sad task of allowing Lady a nearly 13 year old lurcher to visit the vets for the last time to make her journey to the Bridge.

I hadnt gotten around to introducing Lady to you all through the blog yet and very much hoped we would have more time but sadly it wasnt to be.

Lady came to us on 20th January 2008 a week after I sadly lost another of my own hounds Queenie.

Lady had been found wandering in Sherwood Forest. She was under weight, in poor condition and with a huge goitre in her neck nearing the size of a tennis ball. Her teeth were also in a horrendous state.

We took the call on the Saturday to say she had been found and taken home by a family but had spent the night outside in a holding pen. As there was no dog warden working myself and Trish another volunteer headed over to collect her. On seeing her our hearts broke and we realised that the growth in her neck was most probably cancer. The next day her *owner* I use the term lightly was traced having rung the dog warden regarding her missing status. It turns out that he had been working away for three months so Lady had been living alone with someone coming in to feed her and turning her into the garden lose for a few hours a day, she must have been desperatly unhappy and cold. This had resulted in her escaping 5 times in just a couple of weeks. When told of the condition she had deteriorated into their only worry was whether *they* would be taken to task as my vet felt a prosecution could well be in order. Thankfully the dog warden negotiated a handover without repurcussions to allow us to make Ladys time more comfortable and with a family who loved her. Had a prosecution been drawn she may have been *retained* in holding kennels as evidence. We didnt want her days to end like that.

Lady settled in well here and soon started to rule the roost. So happy was she that she sailed through the surgery to remove the goitre and clean up her teeth and settled into gaining 7kg, condition and muscle tone. Her favourite thing in the world was to run off leash with the others and my god for an old girl could she run. The wind in her ears, bottom tucked under and dropping down into first gear. My heart filled with joy everytime I saw that look on her face, the fact she had been given a second chance and the gratitude in her eyes every single time she looked at me, it said quite clearly "thank you". She adored us and us her.

On 22nd March we took Lady away with us on holiday to Swallows Dance in Pembrokeshire. She went as one of 8 dogs and ran like the wind on the beach, she chased into the sea, danced through the garden chasing squeeky hedgehog toys and frisbees, playing football with the kids. She was so animated every pore of her body was tingling, she had the time of her life.

We already knew that sadly the cancer had spread to her blood capillaries and lymphnodes but found it so hard to accept. Lady wasnt a dog who knew she had cancer and remained so consistantly well gaining weight that we were in awe of her sheer determination. She was an inspiration to everyone who met her or read about her adventures "live every minute as if its your last, make it count, be greatful for those around you and the love they instill on you and offer it back ten fold as you never know when it just may be too late".

Sadly 3mnths to the day of collecting her it was too late. Our hearts are broken. Our beautiful special girl began to swell abdomonally and she gave me "that look". Its a look I know well and one ive seen in all our precious babies eyes when the time has come to say our final goodbye, to share that last kiss, that last hug and that last I love you. An x ray and ultra sound confirmed the worst possible news, a tumour had spread and formed in her liver and ruptured her abdomen swelling was caused by blood. We had no choice but to give our angel eternal sleep. Hard to imagine when just that day she had eaten both meals with gusto, enjoyed her walk and licked me gently on the nose whilst enjoying a cuddle. Id have held her so much tighter had I know it was to be one of the last.

As Lady was already sedated because of the tests we left her be, we said our goodbyes to her whilst she was sleeping gently, im sure she knew we were there, brushed her gently with kisses and allowed the vet to grant her her freedom, allowing her to be whole and young again and free to run like she so loved. She passed away peacefully in our arms.

Our only gratitude through the heartbreak is that our girl went out on a high. She never knew cancer, she didnt linger, or suffer, she left quickly, gently and gracefully like everything she did in life.

Rest easy my girl, true spirit, sheer grit and such an overwhelming teacher I have never had the pleasure to meet before in my life. I hope the 3 months we shared righted all the bad times that came before. You will be eternally loved and missed, walk with us each day until we meet again.

Love and kisses your pack x

Lady on arrival in our care 20th January 2008

and sharing the good times the beautiful fun loving vibrant girl she turned into

Standing proud with the youngsters

Enjoying the sea

One last Sunset

We also said a sad farewell this week to another Gap legend the beautiful Billy.

Billy was another of those hounds who found us into his senior years. Before landing in Greyhound Gaps care Billy hadnt had much of a life and finally between 11-12 years of age found himself in rescue after his owner first dumped him onto a neighbour who then passed him onto us.

It was most definatly there loss. So many people fail to see that these special seniors are just pushing into their prime. They seem to follow the "when I grow old I will wear purple theme". Everything they do is done with such cheekiness, enthusiasm and the odd slight quirk. Billy we affectionatly referred to as *bovvered* because he wasnt much.
Billy was a lucky boy and went on to find the most fantastic home with a wonderful couple Dave and Jo. Neither had had a dog before and sensibly as they worked chose to offer their sofa up to a dog of an older age, I dont think they will ever believe how lucky they were to find Billy in their lives. Billy would run, would play, would misbehave and would love life like any puppy. They gave him many adventures and he in return gave them a few of their own. He qualified for Scrufts where last year they all headed to Earls Court and took part in the countrys biggest National show for crossbreed dogs and came home with his pretty ribbons and an exceptionally proud Mummy and Daddy.

Billy was part of Dave and Jo's family for 3 wonderful years and we know now just how much their hearts are breaking in two. To find the love of a dog like Billy is a legacy that im sure they will take through their life and before long remember every single second with smiles and laughter.

Dave, Jo you are very much in our thoughts.

Billy Bovvered rest easy old boy, although I very much doubt it and im sure you and Lady will be launching your very own Derby and Joan set up at the bridge, chasing, playing and dancing in the sunshine.

Love you lad x


kitten said...

Bless your heart! What a wonderful, but sad story! You sure are a wonderful person for taking in these wonderful dogs.

Pamela said...

You really are a blessing - to help these animals.

I haven't had a dog for a few years -- because it broke my heart when I had to make the decision.

Someone reminded me that dogs don't understand death, but they do understand pain.

My big 12 year old rottweiler had cancer - and we'd put him through treament twice. The third time it was in his spine....and he no longer could lift himself off the ground.
Boy did I weep and weep. I still weep when I think of it.

We have two neurotic cats -- one was 8 when we saved her at the humane society. If you watched my walk video - she was the fluffy Tessie at the very end. The other one belongs to my daughter....who had to move quickly and couldn't find an apartment allowing pets.

Dawn said...

So sorry for your loss. My mom had a sickly dog show at her place before christmas. She is a 10 year old beagle cross. My mom has her now as the Beagle rescue people couldn't find a home for her at her age. Sadie's ear infections are under control but she also now has a growth on her chest. At least her last days are happy.