Wednesday, December 1

A dog's life ......... A Final Chapter

On Monday evening I shook off my current (and wholly accidental) period of Blogging low profile to leave a comment on Darren's site on reading of his loss of a dear and well loved friend.

It was only when I sat down to pen this short piece for those acquainted with the Hee entourage, that I spotted the perverse timing of that seemingly innocuous event.

Life does throw up some freaky circumstances at times, so it seems.

(Happier times. Primrose days)

Having 'lost' Midge (left) a little over two years ago, Bob (right) has become my solitary companion on all my local outdoor wanderings. Especially so during recent months.

Little did I realised that shortly after penning my meagre words of condolence on that Monday evening that our own dog, Bob, would suddenly exhibit strange behaviour for a few minutes.

Erratic movement. Poor motor control. And most distressing of all his driving desire to urgently get physically close to family members.

As quickly as this behaviour began, it had ceased. And despite our close attention following this event, he appeared to have returned to normal, albeit a little quieter than usual.

Tuesday morning there was the usual waggy tailed greeting with its polite (but ever insistent) demand for food. Still unsure as to the cause of the previous night's episode we mentally shrugged and life in household Hee continued as normal.

Until Tuesday afternoon.

As the first of the snow started to fall locally there was an alarming repeat of the erratic staggering & Bob's need for physical closeness. Being on my own at the time, and with the clear distress of an animal in need, an emergency trip to the local vet was essential, with a hurried call to Mrs H along the way.

The diagnosis - a stroke. Cause - unknown. Treatment - drugs, close nursing & a trust that the next few days would show whether this had been a singular episode, or an indication of darker matters.

Sadly our vibrant and deeply loved companion of many years was not to bounce back this time.

Bob and myself spent the night together dossed down on the living room floor. My backpacking sleeping kit, normally used for happy circumstances, now turned to a darker occasion for one in need. Myself, frustrated by the limited means to comfort him, silent but ardently encouraging him to improve.

Sadly his physical and mental decline continued.

This dog that we had walked with out in a frosty New Forest only last Monday afternoon. He as usual eager to please. Somehow so suddenly gone. Leaving in its place this husk of a a shallowly panting & long inert shadow as a cruel reminder.

As the cold morning light dispiritedly lit the room the decision was inevitable. This being was slowly slipping away before us. The body not in pain, at present. But that vital & vibrant life force was going. The surviving body before us clearly declining to an unavoidable conclusion.

The vet visited later. Kind words were said. Stout hearts ripped. Tears were shed, or choked back.

Tonight my companion of many years lies alone on a cold garage floor, awaiting his final walk.

As I lay him there earlier I found myself wrapping the body in an extra blanket to keep out the exceptional cold. And
tonight my ears occasionally hear a familiar noise in the house. I start to turn before remembering that the assumed source of the particular sound can no longer be the cause.

Tomorrow, even if the ground remains frozen, the earth's crust will be ripped apart so that Bob's remains can properly be laid to rest beside his long time companion Midge.

But tonight ..... for first time in many decades ...... the Hee household is empty of any animal companions.

And is a much poorer place as a result.

RIP Bob.


So very sorry to hear this news John.
The loss of any of life's companions is always a very sad time.
My thoughts are with you sir.
That is beautiful my love, thank you. Oh you have done them proud RIP Bob & thank you my loyal prince xx
That really is rotten news John. Beautifully written - a moving piece for a worthy friend.

I also wrapped my cat, Lily, in a blanket in the garage overnight before burying her earlier this week. The thought of leaving her dead and freezing was just too much to bear.

I know exactly what you mean about hearing Bob about the house - I see Lily out of the corner of my eye frequent;y only to have the image dashed by the mundane.

Good luck getting over him John.
All the best
(looks like Mrs J has read and commented for those a little confused)
Sorry to read such sad news John. Alan said it well about a worthy friend. All the best in the days to come.
So sorry to hear that John. The loss of a long loved pet is so hard to get over. When we had to let our cat go it was a physically sickening punch in the guts to come down the morning after and not have her running round looking for her breakfast. Hope you all feel better soon.
Oh John, I am so saddened by this awful news. Only time will heal, hopefully you will manage, in time, to get over this loss. All the best and my condolences.
so sorry to hear your news John,i know iam a bit late posting but your article bought tears to my eyes.Bob will be chasing the rabbits with midge and bud.
Great article and I live in Cumbria and love nothing better than getting my boots on and taking my dogs on a Lake District Walks with fresh air and great views of the National Park.
reading this makes me so sad. I have a black lab who only 4 but is my best friend. i know he has years and years left but Im already fearing "that" day
I just don't know how I will cope when it comes.
Moving tribute Dad.

Brought a tear to my eye whilst reading this.

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