The last days

I am feeling miserable. It is awful watching my lovely lurchers become older.

Whats more one of them is ill. Every day I get up I wonder how he is, on Saturday morning I watched helplessly as he had a fit. It was only the second fit since August but he was so very disorientated after that I wondered whether this one was was the one that would truly signal a decline.

This little lurcher has been a life changer for me. When I picked him up from a breeder 14 years ago I thought I knew about dogs. 14 years later I know I knew nothing, and what’s more, just like the horses, I realise I will never really know enough.

He was the oddest thing. He yelled all the way back from Burton on Trent on a busy Friday afternoon in October. He was 8 weeks old. Later -too late for him, I now understand that puppies should never leave their siblings and mothers at 8 weeks.

He was so stressed and distressed he never stopped yelling until I got home, my other dogs who were with me in the car too,must have thought I was mad. I thought I was mad too. He was good to house train, if you can count the fact that he used to have to go in the garden about 20 times a day and was seriously stressed.

The others dogs consoled him and cuddled up to him, thank goodness for that, because I was pretty useless. I didn’t understand him at all. I played with him a lot as he had lots of “collie energy” his mother had come from some kind of hill collie “working blood”-but I never really did find out much about her. Guess what? He became more stressed. He learnt fast but was always moving, and just couldn’t settle.

He was such a puzzle that after puppy classeses and lots of searching I realised that I really had to learn more. Life changing-this is what he has been.

He has also been a constant companion. He loves travelling in the car with me, and has reined terror on horses. He really has hated horses since he realised that I spend a long time with them. Weird but true. He has only ignored them over the last few months since his first fit.

He shares my lunch, nudges me when I don’t give him any , I chat to him when I get stuck in traffic and he has heard every swear word under the sun by now. He has been to numerous summer riding camps-and has always adored being there with me, until this year. Which was hard. He was reluctant to get back into the car as I left to teach, even though other years he has seemed to relish being the only one to share my tent.

Holidays, beaches, greyhound shows, walks, so many memories. Probably my last ever puppy, now that I generally take on rescue hounds.Now he is ill. Possibly his last days. How do we function after all that time? I am not sure.

The last days will be treasured like nothing else

Summer 2008 298

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