Yesterday was probably one of the most horrible days of my life, having to stand back and watch my dog lose her fight for a life that only lasted 5 and a half years, she was too young and still had so much to do and adventures to go on but today all I feel is numb, sitting looking round the room there are reminders of her everywhere. To some people they are just dogs, to us she was our family, our little girl and in the past couple of years through my depression she has been my reason to get up in the mornings…no matter how bad it all got she needed my attention and in return she gave me everything. She wasn’t lucky to have us, we were the ones who were honoured to have her in our lives.
She spent her whole life being troubled with bad ears, constant infections blighted many days, some days were worse than others but she saw them all off and still kept giving to us despite the pain she sometimes had to endure. She never let us forget who was the boss, we were the ones doing the running round after her.
She loved to walk, as long as it wasn’t raining as she didn’t ‘do’ rain…the word ‘walkies’ moved her quicker from a slumber than anything else and she was always first out the door. It is quite fitting that today it is raining, she would have taken one look out that door and headed back to the couch, even when she needed a pee she would hang onto it till the last minute before stepping out in the rain.
Missing her companionship will be hard, missing her being with me as we walked the streets of Limerick, or Blairgowrie, Aberdeen or Edinburgh will be the hardest. She loved to get to a park and get off the lead to run about but she rarely if ever strayed more than a few feet from me.She always kept me in sight and I never had trouble getting her to come back to me. Dawn and I would take her to the park with her football and once the initial burst of energy was done she would settle down in the grass and watch us kicking the ball about…She must have thought we were the nutters, she took it all in her stride.
She had a thing about anyone wearing a fluorescent jacket, much to our amusement on the many journeys she made with us on the ferries over to Scotland from her homeland of Ireland and back again after visits. She was an Irish dog, born near Limerick. She adapted well to Scotland though, Snow was a massive attraction and not something she saw much of in Ireland as a puppy. Thankfully she had a couple of years of proper snow to play in when she lived in Aberdeen and then last December here in Edinburgh.
She brought so much to our lives, filled every hour with something and today we are just empty. We knew she was ill over the weekend as she had stopped eating and pretty much everything that she tried to consume came back up again quite quickly. It looked like a stomach bug and after leaving it a couple of days and trying various things to make her feel better she took a turn for the worse on Monday. She was struggling now to walk and bringing up yellow bile regularly and despite still trying to drink she was struggling to function. We made arrangements to take her to the vet in Blairgowrie who agreed to see her at short notice and after dropping Dawn at work in Edinburgh I headed up yesterday morning, genuinely feeling that some tablets or other would soon do the trick and she would build her strength up again. She watched Dawn heading off to work and then laid down on the back seat and slept all the way to Blairgowrie. This was another sure sign she wasn’t right as Bonnie had developed a habit of being a bit vocal in the car over the past year or so, she hated sitting in the back and let us know of her disapproval in very vocal terms. She obviously never forgot that i used to sit her on my knee and drive when she was a little puppy back in Ireland and thought she had the right to ride up front.
The fact I had to carry her into the vet’s wasn’t a good sign, she didn’t seem to have any fight left. It was obvious that something was seriously wrong and the blood tests came back off the scale. She had entered final stage Kidney Failure and the most likely cause was probably that she had ingested some kind of poisonous substance. We knew we had nothing around the house that would have caused it, even the mouse trap we have is humane and filled with nothing worse than peanut butter so the only assumption we can make is that she must have come into contact with something whilst out walking and I hadn’t spotted it at the time. It may have taken a few weeks to slowly destroy the function of her kidneys so there is no way of knowing what, when or how it happened. Whilst we were living normally a ticking timebomb was working away on her organs and we knew nothing about it until it was too late.
The vet was honest with me and there was an option to try and flush her system but in the end it may have prolonged her life a bit but the Kidney function couldn’t be rebuilt and the distress at watching her try and fight a battle she had little odds of winning wouldn’t have been fair on her and the love we had for her.
Thankfully the Vet was able to stabilise her and allow me time to get back to Edinburgh and bring Dawn up to see her and we were able to spend some time with her and say goodbye. As she drifted off quickly into her final sleep we were the last people she saw in life and that is a comfort that she was with us and not on her own with strangers. After a final goodbye we had to leave her. We never dreamt she wouldn’t be coming home with us but arriving back in Edinburgh last night was soul destroying, the house just as we had left it, her bowls…toys…bed…even the ‘beware of the labrador’ sign we had in the window caught us out and made it horrible to bear. We always laughed at the thought of that sign, Bonnie wouldn’t have harmed the hair on a fly, a canny beast and just a lovely placid animal with good nature through every bone.
And today I just feel empty, my routine has gone, I keep expecting her to appear and now I know she never will again and it hurts like nothing else. We have lost a huge part of our family and she cannot be replaced. We are having her cremated and when we get her ashes back next week then we will bring her home where she belongs…with the two people who loved her more than anyone and the two people she did everything to give her love to and complete our lives.
As the days pass it will no doubt get easier to bear but right now it just feels empty. We talked last night about maybe using the money we spent on feeding Bonnie to sponsor a dog and we might well do that. Her food that is lying unopened in the cupboard will find its way to a local dog shelter as soon as I can find the courage to take it there. Some other dog deserves the chance of a meal that Bonnie can no longer eat herself.
And there closes a chapter in our lives. 5 and a half years with the greatest Labrador we could have hoped to meet. She gave us everything and I hope she passed away knowing that she was loved by everyone who had the privilege to meet her. We will never forget you Bonnie…may you forever rest in peace xxxxx