My story, faithful friend, happy companion – a dog.

Posts tagged “Sickness

Dear Zac

Dear Zac

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.


My French Cousins – Mes Cousins Français

A little while ago I talked about Beloved having a birthday and the family getting together. It was great.

Now, Ajay, number two son is preparing to return to Indonesia and our family is scattered again. Being a Tibbie who likes his pack all together in one room this is sad to me.

I thought though that I would take the opportunity to introduce you to my extended family in France.

Ooh! La La!

And yes, I shall also pepper this introduction with the odd French word and be very pretentious.

Most of you have never heard about my French cousins. To be honest, I have never met my French cousins. And to be even more honest they are English cousins who have moved to France to live. Being a very truthful Tibbie I would not like to mislead you.

Boodle & Dunthorne as puppies with Shelfie

These are two West Highland White Terriers, a brother and sister who in the photographs look very alike to me. They are true Terriers and they are most certainly very white. Their names are Boodle and Dunthorne.

For those of you who do not know, and I have to confess to having been ignorant of this myself, Boodle & Dunthorne is a jewellery store in the United Kingdom. I gather it is quite a famous one and has been in existence since 1798, which, when you think about it is only ten years after Europeans migrants arrived here in Australia.

Their Beloved is Shelfie. Shelfie isn’t French either, her mother is German, her father was English and like Beloved she has lived all over the place. People have no sense of territory any more, it is very disturbing not to mention confusing.

Beloved’s beloved and Tony, Shelfie’s husband were brothers.

Tony was a brave man who was diagnosed with a horrible disease called Parkinson’s when he was quite young. Despite that, a few years ago he came over to visit us in Australia from England where they were then living and we had a fine old time.

I have to admit that we were sometimes very naughty with Tony. My joints were not quite so bad then and I could still run quite briskly, certainly enough to evade Beloved and her beloved!

Tony was warned not to open the front door because I had a tendency to run out and escape but one day he forgot and I seized the moment and led The Princess out on an adventure.

Beloved’s beloved drove home to see Tony on his motorised invalid scooter driving around the street trying to catch The Princess and I who were having a fine old game!

We were soon caught and went home but we’d had a lot of fun. Good old Tony! I hope he enjoyed it too.

He rather fell in love with Australia and if he hadn’t had Parkinson’s I think he might have quite enjoyed returning for a longer holiday, but instead when he went back to the United Kingdom he and Shelfie and my two English cousins went to live in France and Voila! now they are my French cousins because it has more of a ‘cachet’ to it!

Mignons – Oui?

Then Tony got sicker and sicker and life became too hard and miserable for him. When he died we were very sad about it. We have great memories of him and his braveness and when I think my arthritis is painful and sore I think of  Tony and realise how brave he was not to complain and I try not to complain either.

Shelfie, Boodle and Dunthorne remain in France and seem to be having many exciting adventures driving to England and staying with friends.

But being a Tibbie of great wisdom I know that they must be very sad and still miss Tony a great deal.

I know that in the last few years Shelfie had to look after Tony which was hard for her, but she was willing to do it because she loved him. It makes me grateful that I have Beloved who loves me and who will look after me when I am sick.

I know too that Tony loved Boodle and Dunthorne and that they gave him so much pleasure. When he couldn’t do very much he could watch them play and have fun in the garden and it would make him smile.

One day I hope that the clever people find a cure for things like Parkinson’s Disease so that families like Tony, Shelfie, Boodle and Dunthorne do not suffer through this horrible disease any more because as you know I am a Tibbie who likes to watch and one thing I have learnt from watching my French cousins and others in a similar situation is that everyone in the family is impacted through a serious illness.

I am sure that Boodle and Dunthorne still miss their Tony and would be happy to see him come through the door but Shelfie is keeping them busy and helping them through their grief.

‘En voyage’
Travelling to the UK in style and luxury

As you can see from the photographs, life for them is pretty similar to life for us in OZ except that we have less flowers on our beds! I think I would get on well with Auntie Shelfie and I think I might be able to get a sausage treat out of her!

Although I have never met them I feel a certain ‘esprit de corps’ when I see their pictures and read about their trips. I think that they should start a blog too because I’m sure they would have a great deal to say.

I’m guessing that the pink is Boodle and the blue is Dunthorne but I could be wrong!
Very chic guys

I would love to know how they are getting on with their French. Have they made a ‘faux pas’ since living in a foreign country?

Is Boodle a ‘femme fatale’ locally? And do they eat ‘haute cuisine’ all the time?

I have a lot of questions for them and wish we could meet them but I know that the trip to Australia from France for a dog would be just too difficult for a holiday so I will make do with the photographs.

So with the ‘mise on scène’ set, I will leave you with these images of my french cousins pampered lifestyle and I will go and find my big soft cushion bed and have my morning nap because it will be lunch before you know it and I must have a rest in order to prepare for chewing.

Au revoir and bonne journee.

Boodle & Dunthorne visiting Tony’s grave

Old Before My Time

Old Before My Time

When I was a puppy I used to enjoy running and playing and being like the other pups around puppy school. Sure I had my problems when my knee joint slipped and my shoulders were sometimes a little sore, but it didn’t stop me doing anything. I felt normal, just like all the other pups.

I would sit waiting for the front door to open and if I had a chance I would be out and off running down the drive and into the big open field next door. Beloved and her beloved would be chasing after me trying to get me back! I could be a very naughty Tibbie in those days. But as I have said before, I do not like closed doors and I am a dog who enjoys freedom.

I am very proud of the fact that it is written in some books about us Tibetans that we do not respond to commands unless we think they will benefit us, we will not mindlessly obey. I like that about our breed. Beloved calls me stubborn but I believe it is more that I am a free thinker. Unfortunately because as well as being a Tibbie who likes his freedom I am also a Tibbie who likes his food I can always be bribed with food. This is a weakness and always curtailed my adventure. But I have heard that everyone has a price, sausages are mine.

In the last few years however I have noticed myself slowing down. The problems with my body have become worse and though I don’t complain, because I am a very stoic little chap, I do feel it in lots of ways.

Of course I feel pain and that in itself is not pleasant. Waking up stiff and sore everyday is uncomfortable, but more than that is watching all the other dogs, many of them older, being able to run around and play. They can join in with the rough and tumble of life in the dog park in a way that I can’t. It causes me to wonder what it is that has caused me to be different. Why can’t I be like them? Why can I not be normal and healthy?

Beloved’s number two son used to take me (just me) to the coffee shop sometimes. I loved that. It was special. We would walk slowly to the village which is close by and go to his favourite coffee shop and I would sit and watch the world go by. He is living overseas at the moment and we miss him, but I would struggle to walk that distance now and that makes me sad. It seems such a little thing to want to do and I can’t.

I am old before my time and sometimes that seems unfair. I sit on the sidelines in the reserve. When Beloved stops to chat to anyone I lie down to take the weight off my shoulders and hips. Sometimes it is too much of an effort to even go and meet the other dogs and I am a very sociable Tibbie so I miss this.

It seems like I am sitting on the sidelines of life and you only get one chance to live it. I have to confess to moments of feeling it is not fair.

I have always been drawn to greyhounds. I love their sleek bodies, long legs and the graceful way that they run. I tried to keep up with one once, many years ago. I gave up quickly and now I just envy them from afar. How I would love to be able to run like they can and feel some of the exuberance for life that they must have bottled up inside. I do realise though that I am a sturdy Tibbie and even with full health I would never be able to keep up with a greyhound, but The Princess can run and play with some of the other dogs and I would be happy to be able to do that.

I am only eight but I am less active than some of the dogs who are twelve and fourteen. I feel like I am already old and I shouldn’t be. The other dogs who are fit and healthy show a passing interest and sometimes express sympathy but they don’t really understand, how could they? I am left to sit with the old timers, feeling like one of them rather than the middle aged Tibbie that I am.

Occasionally dogs will come and tell me I should just run and loosen up those stiff joints. This makes me grumpy because it makes it sound like I am lazy and it is my fault for having these health problems.

Others share the things that their pack leaders give them and I listen and I’m polite because I am a well brought up Tibbie but I know that Beloved has tried almost everything she can to make me feel better and I trust her to do her best. There are just some things that you cannot change.

I have had some who have told me that I am being a puppy and that if I just got a grip of myself, stopped eating all the rubbish medicines, special foods and vitamins Beloved gives me and behave like a proper dog I would be fine. I just give those dogs a Tibbie look, they are ignorant and uncaring. Fortunately there are not too many like that at our dog park.

I have moments when I feel a little better and then The Princess and I have a romp and a bit of a play, she always loves that and I wish it could be like that all the time. Sometimes I feel bad that I am not the companion to her that I could be if I were well.

Today is a day when I woke up a little sore and stiffer than usual. Our walk was a little harder for me than yesterday and I feel a little frustrated.

But now I am home with my soft beds and the sofa I lie on at night. I think of the treats that Beloved bakes us. The things I love like Beloved, television and cuddles and realise that despite it all I am quite a lucky Tibbie.

If I had to have these health problems at least I have them in a comfortable, warm home where I am loved. That has to count for something. And of course, there is also Big Dog to comfort me.

The Princess is on about making a guest post, but I’m not going to let her yet. Instead I might tell you some stories about her growing up. But for now it is nap time, a time to stretch out these aching muscles and rest and when I wake up it will be lunch and cuddles on Beloved’s nap. Not a bad plan.

Sickness Is Just Not Sexy

Many of you know that from a young pup I have had my health ‘issues’. When I was new to Beloved I gave her a real scare one day when I suddenly began screaming after slipping on the shiny kitchen tiles. She rushed me to the vet who diagnosed a subluxation of the patella.

It was then discovered that my shoulder joints were none to good and I have learnt to throw my front legs out a little when I walk to minimize the discomfort. The Princess laughs at me but I don’t care. It means that I only run occasionally but running is over rated.

Then of course there have been the frequent trips to the surgery for the ear infections, skin infections and allergy problems.

I am a dog who has seen my fair share of sickness and one thing I can tell you is that it is just not fun to be sick. It is not cool. I don’t talk about it down at the dog park because none of the healthy dogs want to hear about my physical problems and once they know about it they will begin avoiding me because they are embarrassed and don’t know how to handle it. The few who do know tend to make a quick polite enquiry but are relieved when I tell them I’m fine. They don’t really want to be faced with the reality that physical problems occur, it makes them afraid it might happen to them.

The Princess, being the rather empty headed ditzy Tibetan model that she is has been in the dog hospital a few times. Once, like me, she had to have her ears thoroughly cleaned out. That was a painful experience. Needless to say I was very brave and stoic, she cried.

The second time for The Princess was when she stole some of Beloved beloved’s sleeping pills. This was actually rather amusing to watch. He was packing to go away and had spread his stuff over the carpet before putting them in the suitcase. Any well brought up Tibbie like me would know not to touch, but The Princess just had to have a taste. The first I knew about it was a shout as Beloved’s beloved realized the top was off the container (don’t ask, even I can’t account for how she managed it). Beloved came running and asked how many were missing. They didn’t know (rather irresponsible I think, what if  that had been me?).
Anyway, Beloved looked in the mouth of The Princess and saw nothing and they thought it was okay because they couldn’t see any pill crumbs.

Of course Zena had told me she’d swallowed some and admitted they didn’t taste all that great. Beloved went back to the kitchen and her beloved continued packing. Meanwhile I began having rather interesting interactions with The Princess which should have been captured on film! Finally Beloved let her out into the garden, she staggered in a circle and fell over laughing, that’s when Beloved rushed her to the vet but there was nothing they could do so I had to watch her all night and put up with her hangover moan.

The second time she was sick she ate something in the garden which she told me looked different. You would think she would have learnt, but learning from experience is not her strong point. In fact I’ll let you know her strong point when I discover it.

Again she was taken to the vet who at first thought she had a virus and gave her antibiotics. I watched her eyes turn a funny yellow colour and when Beloved saw that, The Princess was whisked off to a different vet who actually kept her in the surgery for two nights. I love him. Eventually she made such a fuss they had to let her come home, in fact I think they were pleased to see the back of her and my peace was over.

So you can see that between us we have had quite a lot to do with the vet over the years. the Princess is always nervous when she goes but I remember puppy parties at the surgery and I love meeting new dogs to be friends with and the smells there are just amazing.

But I have to admit dignity flies out of the window when sickness comes in the door.

To begin with there is the ordeal of the weighing scales. As you know weight has been a challenge for me lately partly due to the medication I have been on and the last thing I want is for my growing girth to be the subject of the waiting room sniggers. And of course it doesn’t help that The Princess has no such problems.

We had an appointment yesterday and just as I feared my weight was shouted out in front of a rather fine and definitely sleek Pointer. I did try to explain the situation and mention that I had actually lost a kilo but I could see she labelled me as lazy. It is so unfair that so often when you are overweight judgements are made about you. I felt it deeply. She was a very attractive dog.

Then it was our turn to go in and see the vet. He is a nice guy and I hold nothing against him. He has a job to do. Except… is there no other way to take a dog’s temperature? Really!

The consultation quickly became very undignified (and I believe unnecessary). Before I knew it I was held in Beloved’s arms and tipped upside down to lie on the table. I was a little surprised and would have struggled but I am a well brought up Tibetan so I lay there legs in the air whilst the vet examined parts of me which I really would have preferred to have remained private.

With that ordeal behind me, the vet began pulling on my back legs to straighten them out. It hurt and I wasn’t able to extend them back very far which I could see surprised and concerned Beloved. Then of course he demonstrated how far I should have been able to stretch them out on The Princess and she had no such trouble as she delighted in proving to me and to them. Like a limber ballerina she stretched and arched and I think was unnecessarily supple in order to show me up.

I am used to The Princess prancing around me and demonstrating her agility but this was public humiliation. Never fear, I will remember.

Then they moved on to comment on my age and then of course brought up the shameful my uncle is also my father business, will they never let me forget it? It wasn’t like it was my fault.

So after being prodded, pulled and poked I was sent out feeling very inadequate and as if these problems were somehow my fault. Perhaps I am a weak Tibetan, I should be of a stronger character in order to overcome these shortcomings. Would other dogs with the same problems behave in the same way or is it just that I am being a baby? All of these thoughts went through my head and made me feel as if I were failing somehow.

Feeling downhearted  I walked to the car.  I was pleased to see that the Pointer had gone. Sickness is just not sexy or cool.

And to add insult to injury I didn’t even get a liver treat and you who know me understand that I am a dog who likes my treats.

So today I am going to compose myself after the trauma of the visit and have a restoring sleep. By the time I wake up it should all seem like a bad dream and I will endeavour not to let it trouble me and plot my revenge on The Princess. Maybe I won’t play with her later, or perhaps I’ll sneak her lunchtime treat whilst her back is turned, or I could refuse to go out into the garden with her. I’ll decide after my nap.