So this week, we lost one of our family, Gus. He was amazing in ways I can’t describe here and he has left a huge hole in the family.
It all started just over a month ago, he was a happy and (seemingly) healthy dog. All of a sudden he developed a cough, we went to the vet and they said that he had a respiratory infection and started him on a course of antibiotics. This did help at first and he perked up again, soon though it came back and we went back to the vet. A stronger dose of antibiotics was prescribed and he perked up again but by the end of the week he had slumped.
Walking him was fine for about ten minutes and then he became exhausted, something wasn’t right anymore, I could feel his spine, something I had never been able to do in the past due to his impressively strong and muscular back. His fur had also lost it’s shine. He was struggling to take a full breath now. We went back and asked for an x-ray and the vet agreed.
The day came and we took the big fella in, hoping for the best but fearing the worst. We were told to ring back at 3pm to see how he was. No more than an hour later, we got a phone call from the vet. We had gone out to the supermarket to keep ourselves distracted. The vet sounded very sad and told us at there were multiple tumours in his lungs and there was only about 21% of tissue left. By the time he started with a cough (the first sign anything was wrong) it was already too late.
They said that he had only days left and that we had to decide to put him to sleep now (when he is groggy and free of pain) or take him home for one last night. Gus, doesn’t like the vet and we felt bringing him round and then taking him back again just wouldn’t be fair on him. We would have loved more time with him but we had to think about what was best for him.
Needless to say we ditched our shopping and headed for home. We had the conversation through tears and heartache and decided Gus’ fate. So we called the vet back and said that it would be best to put him to sleep now whilst he was comfortable and we would be there in five minutes.
We headed in and he was there on the table with a big blanket keeping him warm. He was awake and saw that we were with him, he then closed his eyes (for the last time) and went back to sleep (he was still quite sedated). We held him and loved him whilst the vet did what was needed. We had been told previously that the hearing was the last thing to go, so we stayed with him for a while longer. Leaving him there was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Telling the children that night was tough, and I’m still not sure they have come to terms with whats happened.
I have come to terms with it but it’s the little things that affect you the most. No-one greeting you at the door, no more Labrador shadow following me round where-ever I go, no more barking at the busses and no more cuddles.
That’s the story of the end of Gus’ life, but he was so much more than his final month. He gave us over ten years of faithful unconditional love. He made us laugh, ate our food (and furniture), made us cry and he always knew when you were upset – saddling up next to you and dumping his head on your lap to comfort you.
We’ve had so many adventures together and I was lucky enough to walk with him twice a day over the last ten years. Walking by his side literally thousands of times. He has brightened our lives and we were lucky to have such a happy, loud, affectionate and sometimes grumpy brute in our lives.
Gus was my dog, and my friend and I miss him every day.
Good night…………………my boy
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. (Dr. Seuss)