Grief is devastating. And if you have had a pet, you will understand that they are your family. I am going to attempt to write this tonight whilst I have the strength. Our lovely 12 year old pup Lola is heading towards the end of her life. Tomorrow we take her to the vets in the understanding that she might not be coming home with us. My heart is broken.
In 2007, we decided to get a dog. Timm and I both had dogs as kids and we knew we wanted our kids to know the joy of having a canine BFF. I went to the Rotherham Dog Rescue website and saw there was a litter of puppies that were in foster care. The mother was a family pet who got out and come home pregnant. We went through the home checks with the rescue centre and then I went to visit the pups.
There were 5 or 6 puppies tumbling out the kitchen, jumping up at the little gate, trying to get my attention. But one was shyly hanging back, looking interested but not pushing forward. I went and picked her up, she snuggled into my arms and promptly fell asleep. And I knew she was the one.
Our kids were 2, 4 and 6 at the time and they instantly fell in love with her. We got her around this time of the year, she was barely past 6 weeks but as she was no longer with her mother, they let us bring her home with us. They say a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. We are lucky to have had her for 11 Christmases.
Our best doggy friend
Over the past 12 years, she has been our best friend, our constant side kick, my bed buddy when I was poorly and recovering from surgery. She was part of our wedding, has been a shoulder to cry on to all of us at one point or another. Lola put up with having bobbles on her ears and tutus on her back when the kids were little. She is the best dog any of us could ever hope for.
A few weeks ago she started acting oddly. She was weeing on beds and sofas, something she has never done before. She seemed a little confused and not quite herself. But we put it down to her age, as a 12 year old, she was allowed a few senior moments! Then last week she began to vomit. Not much, but it seemed odd. We thought she may have eaten something dodgy as she has a tendency to eat anything and everything!
At the end of last week, her poo changed colour to black and she vomited a few more times, so we took her to the vets for some blood tests. They gave her anti sickness meds, though they didn’t help.
The worst news
Today they called with the worst news. They think she has cancer in her stomach. She is anaemic and losing blood in her vomit and poo. Her kidneys are failing and she has pancreatitis. We are devastated.
The vet believes that with her age and the blood tests, that the kindest thing may be to let her go. She can offer us more tests at this point but she asked us to seriously consider putting her to sleep.
I am heart broken. There is no good time to lose a pet, but with my health and recent bad news about needing more surgery, it just feels like a massive kick in the teeth. I just want a little brightness and the thought of losing my gorgeous Lola is too much.
Giving her the best day
Today we tried to give her a great day, lots of hugs and love. We took her up to Leeds where our son is at Uni so he could say his goodbyes. We took her to McDonalds and got her a burger! She spent the evening in our bed with us and the kids getting kissed and hugged.
We talked about all the good times we have had together. Our favourite Lola moments. From the time she went and dived into a huge black puddle of mud when we weren’t looking and then ran over to us through our picnic. We were screaming “Whose dog is this???” then I realised it was Lola!
She has camped with us all over the UK, from Dorset through to Scotland. Lola loves swimming and is always the first to run into the sea. She went through a phase of diving into rivers and coming up with rocks, putting them in a pile and going back for more. At our wedding, she wore a bow tie and was our Best Dog. She once chased a ferret for about a mile and when she eventually caught it, she touched it with her nose and jumped a mile and ran back to us crying.
Her tricks include the usual paw, roll over etc, but we put a piece of meat on her nose and tell her to leave it and she won’t touch it till we say so, even if other people tell her. She is the best jumper, the fastest runner, the softest cuddler and the most gentle dog.
We talked with the kids about how for the past 12 years, we have had responsibility to make sure she had the best life, now we have the responsibility to ensure she has a pain free and gentle death.
I can’t even believe I am typing these words. It is truly heartbreaking. She has grown up with our bambinos and has been such a huge part of all of our lives.
Tomorrow, we will take her to the vets and plan for her to have the gentlest passing we can. She has given us so much over the past 12 years and we have been the luckiest family in the world to have so long with the best dog ever. Hug your pet a little closer tonight for me.
My heart is broken.
Peace and love