Yesterday was one of the hardest of my life. Saying goodbye to you. Taking you to that clinic knowing we would be leaving without you and never have you with us again. Your eyes watching me, trusting me, loving me. I hope I didn’t let you down.
The house is too quiet today. For such a little fellow, you filled my life. You were with us for only eight years, a short but bright life.
I remember driving to pick you up. I was excited and as so often happens, you chose us. You came with us without looking back and I don’t remember an occasion over the past eight years when you showed any fear.
You confidently looked out on the world and you took me by storm.
From the beginning you stubbornly taught me that you would not tolerate closed doors. We compromised. You slept outside our bedroom door. You were happy. From that moment on you taught me to understand what you wanted and what you didn’t want. It didn’t mean you always got it, but you certainly tried!
You entertained us and brought life into our home.
2 years after having you we brought Zena into our family and you lovingly accepted her. You became her playmate, her parent, her protector and without any trace of jealousy you let her sleep in your bed and play with your toys.
You had such a big heart.
But your big heart was not enough to keep you going with all the health trials we have been through with you.
You bravely dealt with kneecaps that slipped out, shoulders that were sore and regular ear infections. For seven years these issues were painful for you at times, but the times in between were pain free and good.
Recently though, the pain has been a constant with you. We saw it in your eyes. The distress of constant itching, ear infections, the discomfort of arthritis. We saw it and did our best to help.
We tried special food, shampoos, medicines. We saw you struggle and it broke our hearts to see our brave boy dealing with all of this. You had such a gentle nature and you deserved a stronger body.
I thought we were coping, not winning, but coping.
When I woke today you greeted me and brought me Big Dog, I didn’t know it would be for the last time and how I ache this morning as I get up and you’re not there to greet me.
We took our walk and we had a good time, though you couldn’t do the full walk any more. Again, I had no idea it would be the last walk we took together.
I washed the sores around your face and we spent lunch together, you cuddling up on my lap as usual.
It was then that I noticed that your ear was worse and you had scratched it until it was bleeding. I called the vet and made an appointment.
By itself it was treatable. Taken with everything else it was an indication that your body was breaking down. How much could we put you through? How much pain, suffering, medications and procedures could we expect you to have?
If by a surgical procedure we could have made you better, we would have. I knew walking into that surgery that I would face the same question from the vet that he had asked me the last time I saw him. How was your quality of life? This time as I looked into your beautiful brown trusting eyes I couldn’t say it was good. It was deteriorating.
Suddenly the decision was made and everything happened so fast. You came home for a big dinner and a lot of spoiling and to give us a chance to say goodbye.
Even now I find it difficult to grasp. You are no longer here. The house is quiet. I can put the television on without you rushing to the screen.
If I could bring you back I would, but I would want you back healthy and fit.
As I walked from that clinic I wanted to rush back and take the decision back, to have you with me again. If we could turn back time, I would go back eight years my little pal.
But I can’t. We only had a short time together but you were so special to me. A furry soul mate.
I want you to know my friend that you have been a great companion. You could not have been better.
You have been a great pal.
You have been my partner in this blog and great company throughout your years with our family.
When I struggled with my health you would curl up beside me, undemanding and giving.
We will always remember your quirky ways.
We will always remember the way you howled if you felt you were being ignored.
We will remember the way you loved television and I will feel a pain when your favourite shows come on. Who will keep the bad guys away now?
We will remember the way you hated getting your paws wet and always insisted on walking on paths, even in the garden.
We will remember the way you always sat on your mat with that expectant look on your face whenever it was time for a treat.
We will remember the way you enjoyed your occasional sausage treat and the way you loved going into the village and I’m sorry that we didn’t take you more. I had hoped to take you when the better weather came but it was not to be.
Through this last night Zena, The Princess, who you looked after so well has been crying. Her crying turned to howls early this morning and as I got up comforting her I found the tears coming again. It hurts not to have you here. We all miss you
My precious boy, I will miss you for always. We have a Zac-shaped hole in our lives and it will always be there.
For those of you who have followed this blog I thank you for your encouragement and support.
This blog was truly inspired by Zac and his sometimes solemn ways.
He had a way of looking at me and the things around him which such a deep and thoughtful expression and I used to wonder what he was thinking, hence this blog.
This will be my last blog. In memory of my wonderful pal.
I have had other dogs but none as special to me as Zac.
Don’t look back my little Pal, look forward to the next adventure and know that if possible we will be with you again one day.
From the one who is proud to have been loved by Zac The All Black – a very wise and gentle Tibbie.
Things have been an bit upside down this week and as you know I am a Tibbie who loves his routine and like most dogs, I feel reassured when things are the same.
Things are definitely not the same at the moment.
Team Leader is in hospital. For those of you who don’t know or who have forgotten, Team Leader is Beloved’s Father. He is amazing. He is the one who first introduced me to sausages and from then on I have been his slave. It is the best time when Team Leader comes over for dinner with us because he recognises that I am a very hungry Tibbie and despite Beloved’s orders he sometimes slips me tasty things under the table.
I love Beloved and I understand she is my pack leader but Team Leader is a bit like her pack leader and he is very special.
We dogs love him. Even Zena who doesn’t like sausages (sometimes I wonder if she can really be of my blood), loves Team Leader and recognizes his importance.
Devon is a lucky dog because he gets to live with Team Leader all the time, except when Team Leader is in hospital and then he gets to live with us.
Devon is a funny dog. Really. He is a Shih-Tzu and when you look at him the last thing you think of is ‘wolf’. Now I realise that that may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but he is this tiny ball of grey and white fur with some of the shortest legs I’ve ever seen.
He barks at people coming to the door, which I think is weird. I subscribe to the view that a stranger is the friend you haven’t met yet. But Beloved praises him when he does this and gives me a look as if to indicate that he is right! I still think it is rude.
Although he barks at the doorbell he doesn’t seem to take any notice about what could come in via the television and doesn’t bark at that at all. We are very different.
He tolerates us which I find a bit rich considering it is our house. Beloved has put a third bed in our kitchen and as his legs are too short for him to get on the settee he sleeps on the bed in the middle of the room. Not the one next to us.
He is happy enough to line up for treats with us but if we accidentally touch him he behaves as if we have an infectious disease. He leaps back with this kind of disgusted look on his face and removes his precious person.
He prefers Zena to me. He will sometimes sniff her and when she was younger he did used to chase her around the room barking, but when Bella, his pal died, he stopped playing.
I feel sorry for him. It is as if he doesn’t really know how to be a dog and yet he really would quite like to be one. Despite all his funny behaviour he really enjoys coming to see us.
When he first arrives he always barks and barks with excitement. If we get too close he snarls a bit but we know he wouldn’t bite, he just doesn’t like us to touch him. He likes to keep us at a distance but know we’re there.
He thinks living with Team Leader is the best too. He was living somewhere else for the first few years of his life which is why he doesn’t really know how to be a proper dog. I try and teach him a few things but his shakes at thunder and doesn’t chase the possums outside so I think I shall have to give him up as a lost cause.
Some people are like that. They don’t want to invite others in to their lives so they keep them on the outskirts. They want the company but don’t want the intimacy.
Devon did love Bella, my standard poodle cousin. From the very beginning when Team Leader brought him home he loved her. I always say it was because he thought she was a racehorse not a dog. She must have seemed huge to him.
I guess at that point he was so confused that to see a fellow animal who was gentle and kind was such a relief to him he latched onto her. He allowed himself to love her. It happened before he could control it. Love at first sight I think they call it. They would play together, sleep together, sometimes in the same bed. They were never apart.
Bella was very good. She didn’t seem to mind suddenly having this little thing with her all the time but then Devon is quieter than The Princess and accepted Bella’s lead in everything. The Princess is always arguing with me saying things like:
‘Why are we going here?’
‘Shouldn’t we check over there?’
‘Why aren’t we running?’……. You get the picture.
Knowing what we now know about Devon we are amazed that he loved Bella so completely and so quickly, but she was beautiful. Then of course Bella was taken away and it must have been devastating for him.
I know he still looks for her whenever Team Leader takes him out to their usual places. There is a tree they both liked to spend a long time sniffing around and leave messages at. Devon still goes there hoping to find a fresh message from Bella. Hoping to see her strolling towards him from the distance.
We’ve told him she’s gone and he understands, but he still hopes.
I am a tolerant Tibbie and I’m very easy going. I have offered to send The Princess home with Devon (Prissy Paws) so that he would have company again but Beloved doesn’t seem to have worked out that that could be the ultimate solution to all our problems – yet. I haven’t given up.
For a little dog so afraid of intimacy with other dogs he fell big time for Bella. He trusted and loved her. She was a exceptional dog so I understand. Having lost her, it makes it even harder now for him to allow himself to be close to us. He just won’t let us in.
When Bella died a little spark that was coming to life in him died too.
We can sleep in the same room, but not near his bed. We can eat in the same house, but not next to him. We can sit next to each other for the treats, but we mustn’t make physical contact. If we do he freezes, then looks at us as if we were beneath him. Sometimes that annoys me, but on the whole I am a sensible Tibbie and I know he is just being defensive.
I think by now he will not allow himself to get close to us because he knows that in this life their are no assurances. Hurt happens. Pain comes and although we hope it doesn’t happen to us, it often does. Devon is trying to protect himself but in the long run, he is the one who is miserable and isolated.
But I will continue to be polite and understanding to this rather confused little dog because I am a good natured Tibbie and I know that is what Team Leader would want me to do.
I have told him Team Leader is in hospital and he should come home again, but I understand that Devon has had many changes and losses and he does not trust me or have faith. And after all I cannot make promises about something out of my control.
Me, I am a very trusting Tibbie. Beloved always says she would not leave me alone in a public place because the first person with a sausage (or some other treat) to come along, I would follow them anywhere. I think it is good to trust, you get more treats that way.
Devon does like Beloved and her beloved. He does enjoy sitting on her beloved, it makes him feel special and safe.
He’d like him less if he realised that because he is the same colouring as my Big Dog toy he has nearly been kicked out of the way by him a couple of times!
So we have this uninvited, confused little guest at the moment. Uninvited by The Princess and I anyway. And we have to do the entertaining which I think is a bit rude. If Beloved brought him over she should take him out into the garden and stroll around with him.
One good thing is that we get cool treats when Devon comes to stay. Because he turns his fussy little nose up at our dog treats his pack send him with bits of ham and chicken and other things to tempt his delicate appetite. That means we get some too and as you know I am a Tibbie with a very important tummy which enjoys treats.
Get well soon Team Leader, we need you, Devon needs you and I think when you get back it would be a really good time to celebrate with a sausage.
Now I suppose I shall have to give up my window spot to Devon and go and have a nap under Beloved’s desk. Sigh……… Being a good host involves sacrifice.