It’s hard to write about losing beloved pets, ones like Harry and Jemma, 15 year old border collies. You say, well, they’ve had a good, long life – they’re old. Yes that’s true. It’s also true that their parting was very unexpected and sad. Without any warning black and white Jemma disappeared and did not come back. It was obvious to me that she had gone away to die. During those first few days and terribly hot ones, my heart broke a little as I was puzzled, confused, bewildered and yet accepting of her fate. The mystery will always remain unanswered. She was a beautiful pooch without a dignified burial.
Exploring throughout the back garden, bushes and neighbourhood, under every hidden place, I lost heart for dear Jemma. That’s when I realised that Harry would be alone, lost without his companion. He was OK the first 2 weeks, perhaps he thought she would return to sleep next to him. 7 weeks later I find myself noticing a definite decline in his eating, movement and his cheerful, friendly licks stopped. Deaf and almost blind, Harry’s blood test came back with pancreatic cancer – a grim outlook. So on a Monday evening I arranged with my vet to have him put down.
When you wake up and know this is the outcome, it’s difficult to distract yourself from the pain that is waiting around the corner. The school hours, classes to teach and activities throughout the afternoon meant I did have some distractions, yet from 4-6pm were the dark hours. On the way to the vet I cried remembering all the good times, the family love affair with the pups at 6 weeks, the chasey games, throwing the balls, clever tricks taught, walking on the leads , jumping up at visitors, barking at bats, snoring, belly scratches, the car trips, the athletic vigour of Harry and the snappy yet sensitive nature of Jemma, the tears came and the reality of putting him on the stretcher – the last crying words whispered in his ears as I stroked him tenderly – thanking him for his abundant energy, fun, loyalty and charm.
And then just like that, rusty red Harry breathed his last breath, his glassy eyes stared like an empty vessel. The black moment was over. No more “speak Harry!”, no more jumps. No more bones to chomp, no more baths, no more walks around the neighbourhood.
There’s more to the story but I won’t go on. My tribute to my furry friends is this – they give love unconditionally, and allow us to learn from them. They share their amusing antics, misadventures and naughty ways. I have learnt more responsibility and patience, organisation in life and lived with my short comings. The dogs have never judged me or complained. I will truly miss them.
As one of my son’s said in his text message to me, ” Poor fella. He’s been a great dog and will miss his optimism. Give him a big cuddle from me and lots of love.”
Apart from the recent sadness, I have wonderful memories of the two of them playing and running on the beach. There was always the chase, splash and healthy outdoor dip in the sea. What fun!
Let me know if you have a tale to tell or a doggy memory that you cherish.