It has been just over a week now since Lily, our lovely little Cocker spaniel died.
She was just seven years old.
I hadn't seen any sign of illness.
On the contrary, she seemed as fit as a fiddle.
But now, of course I'm replaying the past several months over and over in my mind and wondering whether I missed something.
The weekend before she died, Lily seemed in fine fettle.
She was her usual affectionate self and during a walk in the forest stuck close by, just as she had done ever since she had given us a mighty scare a couple of years ago when she took flight after we unexpectedly encountered a group of dogs.
Three days and two nights later after visits to nearby refuges and telephone calls to the gendarmerie, we found her right where we usually parked the car; scared, smelly but safe
That "decided" us. We took her to classes where she was hardly a model pupil but certainly gained in confidence when surrounded by strange dogs.
So what happened?
How did an apparently healthy, happy and still young dog whose only visit to the vet was for the once-a-year jab, die?
Well out of sight and without any sort of obvious visible symptom was a cancerous growth pressing on her intestines and an abscess ready to rupture.
On the Tuesday she refused breakfast and seemed lethargic.
I was used to her finicky eating habits; she had turned her nose up at food before and then eaten ravenously the following day just to make up for it.
When all was said and done, she was a Cocker!
During a visit to the vet with another dog I mentioned that Lily hadn't eaten that morning and joking (don't you just hate it when you unintentionally make light of matters which will later bite you?) said that I might well be seeing him again the following day if there hadn't been an improvement.
And that's exactly what happened.
On the Tuesday evening, Lily was definitely "under the weather", drinking a little water and sleeping.
Wednesday morning there was no improvement and once again she refused her food.
This time there was no hesitation. I took her straight to the vet.
He examined her, discovered her temperature had soared to 42.5 and told me he would keep her in to run some more extensive tests.
I left, knowing she was in safe hands and assuming she had nothing serious.
"She would soon be back home, yapping and making a royal nuisance of herself," I told myself.
It wasn't to be.
The vet called in the afternoon to say the echography had revealed intestinal inflammation and abnormalities and without opening her up, he couldn't tell the extent of the problem.
But he was worried.
A couple of hours later we received the call describing what had been found and saying that all three vets attending agreed there was nothing that could be done.
Lily died on the operating table.
If I only had three words to describe Lily they would have to be loving, noisy and...infuriating - but in a way you could only find endearing.
She had excellent hearing - so much so that she could hear noises that weren't there.
One sign from her and the rest of our dogs would join in, "singing" at the top of their lungs at the "nothing" Lily had heard.
Sometimes though, she got it right.
While our other hounds would quite happily doze inside, she was always "on duty" when the car pulled up to the house, having heard it approaching.
Given the chance for a ride, would provide her with another opportunity to express herself as she happily and not-too-bravely barked at everything and anything from the safety of the boot.
Lily was small - too small to meet the "standards" for one particular judge at an exhibition.
Even though she had been confirmed, Lily was discovered to be "below the acceptable height" and ignominiously (to her owner it should be added) "disqualified".
What she lacked in stature, she made up for in heart and man, could she kiss - as though it were about to go out of fashion.
It was almost her raison d'être and nothing could resist.
She would launch herself on our other dogs (and cats), stump wagging and tongue working at 20-to-the-dozen and if you put your face, hand or any other body part in range - you too would be treated to a full-on smacker, Lily style.
When a pet dies it's never easy. There's always a hole.
We had reckoned, and still do, on losing several of our animals this year especially as they are old and/or suffering from cancer.
When our elderly Cocker spaniel Mabel died recently, we were sad but prepared as she had been ill and weakening over several months.
But Lily's death knocked us for six and we're devastated
There isn't just a hole, there's a bloody great crater.
Lily was the one who would wake me up every morning, clearly believing that when she was awake it was time for the rest of the world to rouse itself and give her (and the rest of the dogs) FOOD.
And I miss my early morning calls.
It has been just over a week now since Lily, our lovely little Cocker spaniel died.
Hi Johnny, that was a beautiful dedication to Lily...Know how you are feeling and it is horrible...don't know what else to say as it has already been said. I am so sorry this has happened and am thinking of you...
So sorry to hear your tale, it certainly brought back memories of the black Cocker Spaniel I had . I went to work in the morning leaving a healthy dog and came home to find she had totally lost the use of her back legs. I can still see the look on her face and it's nearly cracking me up typing this, it was nearly 20 yrs ago. She wasn't an old dog, about 8 yrs of age. My thoughts are with you along with all on this site.
What a beautiful little girl she was. She will always be there in your memories, put up her photos and remember the good times xxx
So Sorry for your loss, Lily was a beautiful girl ........
I'm so very sorry - I can only imagine your heartache. be proud of the wonderful life you gave her
I have had them come throughout my life, then go. Most lived long, only one went young and that ws because he was hit by a car when he went for a 'jaunt'. Each one gone is heartbreaking. I miss every single one of them, never hestitate knowing names, situations, stories and the part of my ife they have always been. With overlaps and even allowing for my long spells out of the country when I really did work far away there has been a continuum, so that the GSD we have now overlaps with the one who came here with us, was also in Portugal for the year my wife worked there and then goes back to the time of two dogs who went in close succession, on of them migh on two decades completed, who then overlaps (just) with the won hit by the car and suddenly I am back from 63 to just over 30 with those alone... They are family, as we are, our children and beyond. I still mourn my favourite of all, a cat getting old but with a few good years left who was hit by a speeding car and died in my arms with my last GSD who was always by her side whining as she went. Even now my eyes are welling. So I feel for you and for everybody else when that happens whatever the age or circumstances and whichever species wins your hearts.
I did too Stu, you should
I am so sorry to hear of your loss - we too lost 2 chums (almost 20 year old cats) who travelled the world with us.
Many friends said comforting words but one poem stood out.
I have done mostly what men do,
And pushed it out of my mind;
But I can't forget, if I wanted to,
Four-Feet trotting behind.
Day after day, the whole day through--
Wherever my road inclined--
Four-Feet said, 'I am coming with you!'
And trotted along behind.
Now I must go by some other round--
Which I shall never find--
Some where that does not carry the sound
Of Four-Feet trotting behind.
It may sound trite but it does get easier - just as long as you remember the good days and not the last few days.
My condolences. She's was a little beauty.
I wrote a whole tome to you saying how sorry I am at your loss but I have a new IPad and something has gone wrong and I have lost the lot…anyway please accept a hug over the ether from me to you both…you must be devastated, Jennifer
Oh I'm SO sorry dear. This is very sad. Try to draw on all the happy memories and wonderful love your precious doggy gave you.
I wish I could have written something like that about our boxer Poppy. Maybe I should try. I've got a little tear in the corner of my eye reading this Johnny. Take care...........Stu
I am so sorry! I can just imagine what you must be going through! It is always so hard to lose a beloved companion, but fortunately time will heal your pain and turn it into beautiful memories of your Lily. She is now happy and free from pain and probably chasing birds together with our red cocker spaniel Alpha who we also loved so much.
Weep not for me though I am gone
Into that gentle night.
Grieve if you will, but not for long
Upon my soul's sweet flight.
I am at peace, my soul's at rest
There is no need for tears.
For with your love I was so blessed
For all those many years.
There is no pain, I suffer not,
The fear now all is gone.
Put now these things out of your thoughts,
In your memory I live on.
Remember not my fight for breath
Remember not the strife.
Please do not dwell upon my death,
But celebrate my life.
Copyright (c) 1992 Constance Jenkins
My heart felt condolences; you have lost a family member. Perhaps not quite a child, but damn close.
My lovely golden saluki lurcher died from cancer of the blood, his neck started to swell and he did not live long after the symptoms, it was heart breaking for everyone, so feel your pain!
I have so much sympathy with you. We lost our little dog Stuart in 2009 very suddenly at the age of about three years. There seemed to be no rime or reason to his death which was made even more poignant by the fact that my wife was undergoing treatment for cancer and we had decided on getting the little chap to keep her spirits raised. The happier outcome is that we now look after another little waif called Precious, who (touch wood) has remained healthy for the past eighteen months and that (again touch a lot of wood) my wife is cancer-free. Your writing was very moving - I have damp eyes from reading it - and I know, as a writer, that it really helps to express your feelings about these things. Grieving isn't just for human loss - our animals love us unconditionally and dependently. This was my tribute to Stuart http://oldhack.squarespace.com/journal/2009/9/2/an-unexpected-farewell-to-mans-best-friend.html
I also wanted to say how very sorry I was to hear about Lily. I lost a dog in a very similar manner and it was a horrible shock. I cant say add anything to all the other lovely comments you have had, but I did want you to know that we were thinking of you.
C and J xx
Someone sent me this when my springer, Bramble died two years ago. It still brings a lump to my throat and makes me value more the relationships I have with my dogs.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... ied this
I am so very sorry. When I had to put Bella my rescued dog down, I was utterly distraught. Kind friends said "anna shes only a dog, you gave her great happiness, and think about what is really happening in the world". This is all true but somehow, Bella was part of MY world, my friend through much tragedy, a constant warm and comforting presence. I miss her and still occasionally call Molly, another abandoned dog from the SPA in Golfech, Bella.
Bella, of course, is still there, I still have her collar which smells of her, and the wall where her basket was is still stained with the grease from her body, and occasionally I see her running off to the lake to chase some phantom animal. Well, if there is a doggy heaven I hope Bella and Lily are having a wonderful time.