We have had a rough run with Bandit (our oldest dog now); he has had a series of operations over the last six months or so. First he was eating a lot of grass, so we took him to the vet. The vet found he had a blocked bowel and managed to clear it. They also took a biopsy from a lump on his tongue at the same time. The biopsy turned out to not be cancer, but he had to have a piece of his tongue removed as the tumour was growing fast. That (very expensive) surgery had to be done by a specialist. The surgery itself went well and he healed quickly, but he had accidently been burned by the cauterising plate (some piece of medical equipment used in these surgeries) on his side. The burn did not touch his hair, but burned deep into his side. We discovered it when the hair began to fall out in the area. So we took him back to the vet, who gave us creme for the wound. He healed from that fairly well.
Recently, he began to eat grass again and went off his food, so it was off to the vet again. We expected another blockage but instead they found he had thickening of the small intestine. Which required another operation to take biopsies. The biopsies revealed that he had some sort of food intolerance, but before we could bring him home, the biopsy sites began to break down. He had another operation to clear the sites of infection and he was on multiple pain medications and antibiotics. I was driving to see him as often as I could (not easy as I had to cross a border and the drive was two and a half hours each way). I could see he was looking more and more unhappy, even though the vet staff tried their best to get him eating and make him comfortable.
Last Sunday (the day we had our second Covid shot), the vet rang and said his temperature was up again and he was passing blood. His other organs were beginning to break down. We made the decision to end his suffering. We drove up to the vet one last time to see him and be there when he went. That was the hardest time I have faced of late; Bandit was a very special member of our family…
When we were first going out together, Kev’ bought me a puppy. Not just any puppy, a two week old puppy who had been rejected by her mother and needed to be fed two hourly with an eye dropper. I’m not sure whether he wanted to ignite my mothering instincts, test my resilience or just take advantage of sleep deprivation, but either way it worked. I raised that puppy and she had puppies in her turn, then her daughter had puppies (we kept one puppy from each litter), her son had a single puppy: Bandit. Read a little more about our pack here. I wish we had kept track of the puppies we gave away, so we could maybe get another member of the line.
Bandit (and all his line before him) has been a symbol of our marriage, a superstitious good luck charm in a way. I guess you could say he was a horcrux, he held a piece of our souls that personified our marriage. So it was fitting that my partner and I were both there to see him on his way to the next world. He sat outside enjoying the sun and the cool grass, under a beautiful wisteria dripping flower petals. I patted him and stroked him for an hour or so and we lay in the grass together like we had all his life. Then the vet came and injected him with the Green Dream and he went to sleep in my arms with a final relieved sigh.
I am glad he is at peace but I will miss his soft little head that I stroke whenever I wake in the night. I will miss his happy face when I come home from work. I will miss him walking importantly in front of me on walks as if I would be lost if he wasn’t there to show me the way. Most of all, I will miss the pressure of his body against me through every long night.
If someone reading this took one of the puppies from Gismo (we were in Urbenville then) or Pucky (we lived in Drayton then) and has a descendant of that line, please get in touch.