Thursday, July 24, 2008

A blog a day keeps the blues at bay – I should co-co! This blog will be of absolutely no interest to anyone who has never loved and lost a pet. For the past five or six days this house has been what the Victorians I suppose might have called a vale of tears. We knew it was inevitable but it doesn’t help, looking into those sad eyes and wondering what was going on behind them. Was she aware that her end was near? Michael, the vet, told us she would be in no pain and she gave no indication of being in any but it must have been more than a little uncomfortable carrying that weighty burden of liver cancer around. Her belly was like a football and as hard and she had lost all flesh so that every bone in her body could be felt. It was like a skeleton with skin and fur on and she had become a caricature of her once pretty self. And she was pretty. People would stop in the street to admire her. He gave her six months at the most and she lasted four? In fact when he saw the results of her blood test he marvelled at the time that she was still alive. The last three days she couldn’t eat so yesterday Douglas called Michael to arrange for us to take her in this morning to be put to sleep but, when we finally went to bed last night, she was on the snuggle, either asleep or in a coma, and when I went out just after six this morning she was under the mandarin tree, having died in the night. I went back to my bedroom to have a cup of tea and when I came out again she had gone. A weeping Douglas was already down the bottom of the garden and he dug her grave so that we put her in it about six-thirty. It is becoming a regular pet’s cemetery down there but no matter how many well loved animals you bury it doesn’t get any easier.

Unfortunately we think two more will go before the year is out. Hortense the cat is 22 and weighs no more than a feather. She can no longer clean herself so her fur is all in matted clumps and she gets very bolshie if you try to do anything with it. She relieves herself wherever she feels like it but fortunately most floors here are tiles so easily mopped. Sweeney, the dog, is fourteen, and her degeneration took me completely by surprise and caused much anguish. One day we were in the garden with her chasing her ball all over the place as usual, even though her sight was going and she had to eventually find it by smell, and then suddenly she never went in the garden again. She is deaf and almost blind and losing most of her fur in the heat. These are the last two animals we brought out from England, Bridget the cat and Candide the dog having gone before.

Looking into her eyes (was it human imagination or were they really so sad?), stroking her, holding her, I cried a few times while she was still with us but I managed to hold it in this morning until I phoned Michael to say we weren’t coming in, and as soon as I said, “She died last night” the floodgates opened and I howled and there was no holding back. I apologised through my sobs and put down the phone.

Michael is very good and very sympathetic. He’s heard me howl a couple of times before. This time I wonder the whole neighbourhood didn’t hear me

We will miss her, dear little thing, only eight years old. Good-bye Puccini, known as Pooch, much loved little dog. I’m so sorry.

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