Dogs have been part of my life since I was a kid. I bought my first puppy from my pocket money that I had saved up when I was 7. She was a whippet cross something else, and was grey. I trained her myself and she was very well behaved. She remained my closest friend until I was nearly 18 years old.
Then one morning she did not get out of her bed to greet me in the morning. I told my mum that there was something wrong and asked her to take her to the vets while I was at work. When I came home Polar was not there. Fearing the worst I broached the subject with my mum. She told me that the vet had kept her in to do an operation as he believed she had a bone stuck in her throat.
However, the next day we got a phone call saying that during the operation her heart had given up and she died on the table. They then discovered that she was riddled with cancer, even though she had shown no signs of not being well until the day before. I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to her.
Move forward a few (well ok more than a few) years to when my son was the same age that I had been when Clover passed away. Our current dog was a labrador cross Spaniel called Clover. One day she vomitted on the kitchen floor and then fell over on her side into the mess. After picking her up (she wasn’t too heavy thank goodness) and cleaning her up she found her feet again. I was concerned but thought she had just slipped.
Two days later she fell again, and struggled to get up. This time we took her to the vets, who said she had had a stroke. He assured us that she would recover. Apparently a stroke in a dog is not as debilitating as in a human.
But a few days after this she stopped eating. No amount of tempting would work. We eventually realized that Clover was tired and ready to leave us. My son accompanied us on our last trip to the vet, and stayed with me while the vet prepared to put Clover to sleep. She normally fretted and whined when at the vets but this time she was quiet and accepting. She did not need a muzzle when the vet prepared the injection site. The first dose sent her off to sleep and her body relaxed and she breathed gently. The second dose stopped her heart and she was gone.
My son said it was the hardest thing he had ever had to do, and I agreed. But I felt this time I had to be with my dog to say goodbye.
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