Saying goodbye!

Last breakfast

Who could have known, that I would be giving my old boy his last breakfast that day!

I had noticed a marked decline in Luika’s health and he was undoubtedly slipping into dementia, so much so, that we now worried about allowing him alone time with our three rescue cats, when only last year, their relationship was mutual respect and harmony.

The day started like any other, but as it progressed, I noticed that my old boy was reluctant to leave the comfort of his bed.  Even when the biscuit tin was rattled.  When finally he did open his eyes, they seemed dim, almost like the light was diminishing before me.  He suddenly looked like a little old man and my heart sank, as I knew that the time was coming for me to make the choice that all pet owners dread.

After lunch

I ate a small lunch and for the first time, did not have to wave Luika back to his bed.  Despite his training, we never did break that ‘please can I have some’ look at feeding time.  He just wanted to sleep

Mid afternoon and he suddenly sprang to his feet and lunged at our youngest cat, who was over in the far corner of the lounge.  It was terrifying and completely out of character.  The attack seemed to last for minutes, when in fact, in could only have been seconds and I knew immediately that I needed expert advice.  This was not the Luika that I knew.

Vets

The appointment was made for 6 pm and the drive to the surgery was done in a complete haze.  I had made the journey so many times, since it was next to our local shop, yet I remember nothing.

Luika struggled to get out of the car and needed my support into the surgery.  When the door closed behind us, I knew that he would not be coming home.

Our last cuddle

Luika’s dislike of the vet seemed to summon his strength and he had to be muzzled. For a brief moment, I had hoped that this may be a sign that he would be coming home.  I cradled him in my arms to strop his struggle and looked into his eyes, that were sunken and gaunt.  It was just like the life was already leaving him and the vet’s examination confirmed that his body and heart were closing down.

I held him tightly and while the injection was administered and with uncontrollable tears, I promised him that he would soon be free of his pain.  I thanked him for all the wonderful years that we had shared and as I felt the life leave his body, I knew that I had made the right decision.  He was gone and a part of me went with him.

Alone

The vet and nurse left the room, leaving us time together.  Just Luika and me.  I sobbed of course, for Luika and for all the other pets that I had loved and lost and when I eventually left the room, I felt utterly bereft.

Memories

Driving home I recalled our first training class together.  I had already taught him the basics, so the down stay and sit were a breeze and we came away with two ribbons and a puppy bone.

I remember the frustration with him constantly emptying our bin.  We tried every make and model, but still he mastered the lids and within minutes was tucking into its contents.

I recalled him romping in the garden with our three cats and teaching our middle cat Harriett to bark.  Yes, she can actually bark, albeit cat like.  They would sit together waiting for the postman, before their morning chorus began!

I relived his whole life in that twenty minute journey home and wept inconsolably on my return.

Euthanasia

This is the last kind act we can do for our pets.  Knowing that we can stop their suffering.  It is a decision that will inevitably be wracked with guilt, but I try to take comfort in knowing, that he is now in a better place.  I just hope that he is behaving himself up there in heaven and not leading others astray.  I also hope that God has those waste bins firmly closed, or my Luika will have the contents out within seconds and a feast will be had by all!

Travelling with your dog

Dog holding his suitcase

Brexit

There is a lot of confusion surrounding travelling with your pet if and when we exit the European Union. Under the current Travel Scheme, pet owners can travel with their pet to Europe if they hold a valid passport and if we do ever leave, as long as we strike a deal, nothing will change.

Journey check list (not by plane)

  1. Medication.  It is really important that your remember your dogs pills and a little extra would tide them over, in case your journey home is delayed.
  2. Water bowl.  If your are travelling abroad, or just enjoying a stay-cation in the UK, you should remember to keep your pet(s) hydrated.
  3. Up to date chip.  Hugely important, since if your pet does get lost, an up to date chip will inform the dog warden/rescuer, of your address and contact telephone number.
  4. Shampoo and towel.  Readiness for bad weather.
  5. Check local veterinary practises in the area where you are holidaying.
  6. Blanket
  7. Poo bags
  8. Food (water for the journey)
  9. Treats
  10. Lead.
  11. Favourite toy
  12. Brush or comb

Plane trip

  1. Always check with the airline that your pet(s), details/passport is up to date and that you have the correct documentation.
  2. Keep your pets current medical history with you.
  3. Ensure that your dog is fed and exercised before your journey.

Remember:

  • Airlines can delay or cancel your pets flight if they are deemed to be stressed, ill or aggressive.
  • Crates must be appropriately sized.
  • No wire crates are accepted.
  • Crates must have appropriate ventilation.
  • Crates must have carry handles.
  • You must have fed your pet no longer than four hours before they fly
  • A health check must be undertaken by a veterinarian and a rabies injection given well in advance.
  • There should be no lead or muzzle in the crate.
  • Dogs should be older than eight weeks old and fully weaned from their mothers.
  • Live animal should be written on the crate.

Taking your dog on holiday can be stress free if you plan ahead.  Weather your taking your dog here in the UK, or overseas, any paperwork, documentation can be organised weeks in advance.

If your going in your car, make a habit of regular stops on your journey. You will both appreciate a toilet break and the chance to stretch your legs, but be sure to keep your dogs leashed to prevent an escape.

Leaving your dog at home

Not all dogs are suitable for travel.  Some may be nervous (have a history of anxiety during confinement or travel).  Some dogs may have ongoing health problems or just too old to undergo a long journey, so you should plan ahead for your pet care.

There are all kinds of care depending on your budget, but booking ahead will ensure that your dog will be cared for while you are away.