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Not quite a week

Az has been getting steadily wobblier and more tired since my last update, and his heart and breathing were clearly troubling him.  I decided yesterday that enough was enough: he was no longer able to enjoy life, he was just going on existing, in a tired, worn-out kind of way.  It was very hard to make the choice, when the decline was so gradual, but as my mother told me when I rang her to share my woe, this is the responsibility that comes when you have power of life and death over another being : you make his life good as long as you can, and then you give him a good death.  Pp and I agreed that time had come for Az, which was reassuring.

He had a tiny walk in the sunshine this morning, steak for lunch, and then as the sun was going down, we took him to be put to sleep. We stopped on the way for a short sniff in one of his favorite spots, but he didn't have the heart to wobble more than a few steps, and we knew it was time.  It was very quick and easy: he was very very tired.

Az was a very frightened dog when we first adopted him.  So many things worried him: traffic noise. being alone, lorries, people with sticks, rolls of wallpaper, groups of people, children...  It has been wonderful to see him grow into a calm old dog who was, I think, happy most of the time.  I'm sad it's over, but in a way I feel I've been saying goodbye to Az for almost two years now, and this last year has been something of an unexpected bonus.

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( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
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wellinghall
20th Jan, 2014 19:59 (UTC)
I am very pleased that you and Az have had this extra year, and that the end was quick and easy.

*hugs*
bunn
20th Jan, 2014 20:07 (UTC)
I'm going to be looking round for him at my heel for a long while, I think. But an extra year is an extra year.
ningloreth
20th Jan, 2014 20:17 (UTC)
Aw. Your mother put it perfectly. And what a lovely last day you gave him. I can see from the pictures he was a beautiful dog.

[rolls of wallpaper That's a chilling thought, isn't it?]

bunn
20th Jan, 2014 20:25 (UTC)
Thanks - he was indeed beautiful.

Really, he was scared of anything long enough to hit a dog with, it was very sad. In his last week when he was so thin, you could actually see where his rib had been broken all those years ago. But thank goodness, it did get forgotten, with time - the time when we were gardening and I cut a stick and he grabbed the end to play with it, I cried. And the first time he approached a stranger with a walking stick I almost hugged the poor guy. When I explained, this complete stranger was so thrilled. :-D
sally_maria
20th Jan, 2014 20:28 (UTC)
I am sorry to hear your sad news. I always enjoyed reading your stories of his adventures - it felt like I knew him, even though it was only on the other end of the internet. Thank you for sharing him with us.

I'm glad to hear he went peacefully, when it was obviously his time to go and I hope you can take comfort in the good, happy life you gave him.
bunn
21st Jan, 2014 09:23 (UTC)
Thank you. It was so hard to decide if it was 'time' but by the end of the day there were no doubts left, so I think it was.
huinare
20th Jan, 2014 20:32 (UTC)
What a lovely fellow. I'm so glad you were able to provide him with a long, happy life and a stable, safe home.
bunn
21st Jan, 2014 09:25 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll miss him but it's one of those few situations where you can look at it afterwards and actually think 'yes, I did everything right there'. And how many of those do you get in a lifetime?!
parrot_knight
20th Jan, 2014 20:38 (UTC)
Poor dear Az. Nobility and longevity, though, and sensitivity (within a canine sensibility) evinced in the way you wrote up his exploits. I'm sorry for him and for you, as you will miss him, as will your other four-legged housemates.
bunn
21st Jan, 2014 09:26 (UTC)
I think you have got him right there: there was something noble about Az. (Unlike silly Brythen, who is a right scurvy poacher's dog!)
chainmailmaiden
20th Jan, 2014 21:00 (UTC)

So sorry to hear this, As was a lovely dog and I always enjoyed hearing about his exploits. Such a difficult decision to have to make, but it sounds like this really was the right time. Be thinking of you as I know you'll miss him a lot.

bunn
21st Jan, 2014 09:29 (UTC)
We will miss him, but it was the right time. It was only when I saw him not breathing that I really realised how much effort he was having to put into going on doing it.
chainmailmaiden
20th Jan, 2014 21:02 (UTC)

Sorry, stupid auto correct changed Az  to As & won't let me edit the comment :-(

(Deleted comment)
bunn
21st Jan, 2014 09:30 (UTC)
He had really faded into a shadow of his old self, but it was still terribly hard to decide. I think I'm glad today that I was able to do so yesterday though.
inzilbeth_liz
20th Jan, 2014 21:30 (UTC)
I'm so sorry you've had to finally say goodbye to Az but I'm sure you will take comfort from knowing you gave him a wonderful life and a dignified, timely end.
bunn
21st Jan, 2014 09:33 (UTC)
Thanks.
jane_somebody
20th Jan, 2014 21:56 (UTC)
I am sorry for your loss, but glad that the end was as peaceful and gentle as possible, for him and you.

And you certainly gave him a wonderful life, and a chance to overcome his early fears. I remember he coped remarkably well with a three-year-old wielding Rock Band drumsticks, given his earlier experiences.
bunn
21st Jan, 2014 09:34 (UTC)
Thank you!

Yes, he did cope pretty well with that, although he was being brave about it then - over time, it got so that he didn't really need to be brave any more, he just rode over things and was able to relax.
sineala
21st Jan, 2014 00:37 (UTC)
I'm sorry for your loss.
timetiger
21st Jan, 2014 01:50 (UTC)
I'm sorry for your loss. I know you'll miss the lovely fellow.
(no subject) - bunn - 21st Jan, 2014 09:36 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bunn - 21st Jan, 2014 09:35 (UTC) - Expand
island_of_reil
21st Jan, 2014 03:25 (UTC)
:(

But, as other people have said, you took him in as a frightened, traumatized dog, you gave him a good long life, he overcame a lot of his early trauma, and his death was peaceful. That is about all we can do for our pets.
bunn
21st Jan, 2014 09:38 (UTC)
Yes. At the moment it is all a bit raw, but it will be all happy memories.
lil_shepherd
21st Jan, 2014 05:20 (UTC)
I am so sorry. They give us such joy that it's so hard to make the choice for them, even when you know it's time.
puddleshark
21st Jan, 2014 08:02 (UTC)
I'm so sorry.

He couldn't have wished for a better life than the one he spent with you.
bunn
21st Jan, 2014 09:31 (UTC)
Thanks.

I shall be looking out for his clever ghost leading Brythen and Rosie into mischief now!
ladyofastolat
21st Jan, 2014 08:17 (UTC)
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, but glad you got that extra year. I remember last November, when you took him to the vet one day, half fearing that it would be the end. A couple of days later, he went leaping over a stream and disappeared joyously into the undergrowth by that little lake on Kit Hill, seeking ghostly rabbits. He definitely got plenty of happiness even when old and doddery.
bunn
21st Jan, 2014 09:52 (UTC)
Aw, thank you for remembering that! Amazing he could still take off so well really.

It made it so hard to decide - he had so many miraculous recoveries! But this time it was pretty clear that he wasn't going to come back from it: if it had been just the heart, or just the legs he might have fought through, but the vet thought he had Cushings syndrome too, and maybe a growth in his chest as well. I don't think he would have chosen to give up, but he trusted us to choose for him in the end.

I was so afraid he was going to be nosing at the consulting room door wanting to go home, like he did last week, but I put his coat on the floor for him to sit on, like we used to do in cafes, and he settled down on that and seemed quite relaxed.
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