A dad's journey into health




What do I think about Halloween.  I am totally on the fence about this one, on the one hand I really don’t like the fact that us Brits have adopted this American tradition, of, let’s face it dressing our kids up to beg for free sweets from strangers, something I spend a lot of time telling my kids not to do.  This must confuse them.

On the other hand, I love it.  I’m a father of three small devils and they get so excited about dressing up, scarring people and being allowed out in the dark (supervised of course).  And let’s be honest, anyone with kids know it’s an easy win to wander round the streets for an hour and do very little with great results, what was it Gino said, “minimum effort, maximum results”.

However, there is one thing about Halloween in the UK that really upsets me, that’s right I said it, upsets (and I’m nearly a 40-year-old blokey).  It’s the fact that hundreds, possibly thousands of young people in each town or city across the country get dressed up and head out on candy adventures only to find 90% plus of all the houses in absolute darkness.  What, like Halloween is the only night that everyone either goes out or is in bed by 6pm, do me a favour.  What other event in the calendar actually gets young people out into the community like this and what’s the result……… Miserable buggers ignoring them, yea great message to send to the young n’s,  come on out into the community and nearly all of us will just pretend you’re not there.  It is a direct representation of our communities at the minute in the UK, ‘I’m alright Jack, so sod the rest of you’.  This needs to change, we need to change.  This is definitely one thing that the US gets spot on.  I didn’t realise it till I saw an Insta post from Everlast off of House of Pain (by the way you should really listen to his music it’s quality).  Loads of kids and parents mingling and experiencing things together as a community.  OK so it might not be a proper representation of all of America but you get the gist.

The UK seems so insular and down that we are too scared to care about each other anymore.  It makes me worried about the future especially when I see my kids skipping and singing past 25 dark houses to go and knock on the one house with their lights on.  They might be too young to notice but they must pick up on it subliminally.

Okay – rant well and truly over.

Next year why not just grab a bag of sweets from the supermarket and answer the door, what’s the worst that will happen?  There may be a few idiots out there but mostly you will make small people very happy in the short term, but in the long term you may help them (and yourself) become more caring about each other.

Peace and Love.

Losing my boy

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.  16-10-06_1611 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATelling 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)

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