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Monday, July 12, 2021


Roxy came to us in 2016 as can be viewed in this link. I had been used to German Shepherds, but, following a stroke and wanting another dog, I did not feel I could manage another Shepherd. She was a perfect little bitch who quickly became my shadow, following me everywhere and sleeping outside my bedroom door.

Recently she stopped eating and lost 3 Kilograms - a lot for a little dog whose normal weight was only 14.5 Kilos.The vet checked her over and said they could do x-rays and body scans. It would cost £500 and they could do it in about 10 days time and to go away and think about it. A crafty move. For two evenings I watched her panting and refusing to take tit bits. Not bearing to see her like it any longer I decided to take her back again to be put down (the final act of love for a much loved dog).

In the past she has walked quite happily into the vets but this time she pulled back on her lead and refused to walk up the path. In the end I had to pick her up and carry her in. Somehow she knew - weird!

The same vet saw her and said he had detected swollen lymph glands on the last visit, but had given me the option of further tests. I said I thought we both knew that the trouble was probably tumours - he did not reply but gave me a "meaningful" look.

Her end was peaceful and remarkably quick. A simple injection and she "went to sleep" with me stroking her head and murmering "Good girl". Would that humans could have this option to a peaceful end to life.

I am bereft and the house seems empty. Should I get another rescue dog? I am 82, would it be fair to the animal if I died soon and left it without me? Maybe another mature dog (Roxy was about 7 years old when she came to us). We shall see....

I have done mostly what most 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—
Somewhere that does not carry the sound
Of Four-Feet trotting behind.

                                                               Rudyard Kipling. 


the fly in the web said...

Poor girl...and poor you.
What about taking on a senior dog...if one can be spared from coming to the end of their lives in kennels then you will be doing a great job.

gz said...

Sending a big hug...she leaves a big hole to fill with lovely memories

Tom said...

Oh, how I feel for you. The grief was almost unmanageable when our Molly died in 2014. And I still miss her. Now we have Elfie, a rescue dog who is now about 12 years old. I am now 83 and am determined to outlive her, so that she will be spared the grief of loss.

There is much in what 'the fly in the web' says. I would suggest that you deal with the first outpourings of grief for the loss of your little companion before making a decision about getting another. If that means that there will be no more canine members of your family, there are always charities to support, if you are able. In the end, we must just do what is right for them, even if it means waiting for them to choose us.

Didn't mean to go on.

Dave said...

It'a always very sad when you have to do this. You know its the right thing to do but still very hard. Fly and Tom have good ideas.

Avus said...

Thank you all for the considered advice (and an especial "thank you" to "the fly in the web" for a new visit to my blog - how did you find me?)

I shall wait awhile and remember my daughter's advice (she is dog-friendly). "When the right dog needs you it will find you" Tom made much the similar remark.

Meanwhile I am dog sitting my grandson's dog, Milo, whilst he and his family go camping in Cornwall. He is a great dog, but he isn't Roxy..........

Avus said...


Good to hear from you again. I hope you and Lucy are well and in good spirits?

Tom said...


Yes we are all well and in very good spirits.

Lucy said...

Hello Mike,

Tom gave me a heads-up about Roxy, I'm so sorry. I know she came to you at almost exactly the same time as Elfie for us, and remember some shared anxious moments about both dogs' 'wild child' running off tendencies!

Initially it seemed hard to get used to such a different character from Molly, and even after nearly two years, when we were ready to take on another dog, it sometimes felt at first like a kind of betrayal. Now, though, I couldn't imagine five years of better dog companionship. Elfie has seen us through traumas and upheavals and watersheds, and now we take much more sedate walks from our new house, along canal and river banks sometimes in the company of other dog and human friends, and as always, I find the thought of life without her unbearable. But bear it we always do, since sooner or later we know that will be the price we have to pay for such unalloyed friendship and love. One should never think in terms of 'replacing' them, and certainly no need to think about such decisions now, but see what happens, as the others have said.

I like the Kipling, of course. He was so good about dogs! I love this one too, by Robinson Jeffers


All the best, and bon courage.

the fly in the web said...

I can't remember how I found your blog but have followed it for quite a while.

Avus said...


Wonderful to hear from you once more and thank you for those kind words. Thank you,too, for the link to that beautiful poem of Robinson Jeffers'.

Whenever a new dog comes to us and I see her/him stretched full length on the floor the thought occurs that one day (hopefully in years ahead) that is how I shall finally see her/him as I look back, leaving the vet's."The price we pay" as you say.

Kipling again - "Brothers and sisters I bid you beware/Of giving your heart to a dog to tear."

Vita said...

We we so saddened to hear of your loss. We're thinking of you.

Avus said...


Always good to here from you. Thank you for your thoughts.

Pam said...

Oh dear, much sympathy. I remember how we felt when we had to put our cats down. Poor you.

Avus said...


Good to hear from you again and thank you

Roderick Robinson said...

I'm glad you were able to see Roxy's end as peaceful; that it was in some ways a comfort. When Kim, my mother's English bull terrier, reached what was obviously the end, my mother couldn't bring herself to take him to the vet and I was given the job. I was in my teens, callow, cynical and self-centred. Kim sat dully and philosophically on the vet's table. The vet, agreeing with me about what needed to be done, seemed to be busying himself in some way. I dimly perceived a syringe. Then a mere foot away from me, Kim's short-lashed eyes closed. It seemed ridiculous - under the circumstances - that I should first be surprised then horrified. My first real encounter with death. Did the vet think he was doing me a kindness, sparing me the anticipation? If so it didn't work. I went away sensing what I'd always felt up til then - the inexplicable differences between the adult world and that of inexperienced youth.

I left for London. My mother went on to get a labrador, Barney, who was a great solace to her. I strongly recommend you to do the same. Avoid anthropomorphism. Animals don't fear the future and that's one of their greatest assets. If you are gone first ,well so be it. Animals also tend to be adaptable although this tendency is less dwelt-upon by humans.

Avus said...

Sorry about your first experience of death. Also sorry that your mother could not face that final responsibility owed to an animal companion. To be with that animal, who has shared your life, in its final moments is essential to me.

Yes, I shall wait awhile and probably then get another rescue dog thereby satisfying my need and also giving that dog a secure future.

I have always tried to avoid anthropomorphism where pets are concerned. A dog is only a dog, not a small human, but a dog can also display love and affection. I miss that welcoming bark when opening the front door. When I entered the house after a spell in hospital Roxy circled the house, up and down stairs at speed, finally settling by my chair and licking my hand. My wife said that she was inconsolable whilst I was away, looking everywhere for me and being off her food.

Animals are adaptable, but can pine in the short term.

The Crow said...

I think it a blessing our animal companions aren't humans. None of the drama, the deceit or disloyalty or judging, just loving acceptance. Hope another loving friend finds you soon.

(Kipling had a wonderful way with words. His stories and poetry go right to the heart. Thank you for posting this.)

Avus said...


Thanks Martha. Another Kipling fan I see. Many of his stories have personal derivations. Try "The Gardener" (his own son was killed in WW1) and "They" (his much beloved little daughter died of influenza in early 1900s)

Kay Cooke said...

Heartbreaking. So sorry for your loss of a faithful pet and friend. The poem is beautiful. I hope you can think about some replacement to ease the bereft feeling you've been left with after having lost Roxy.

Avus said...


Thanks for your support. Nice to see that you still visit blogs although you no longer write yours.

Share my Garden said...

I have been down this self same path and know what a large hole is left in your life with the loss of a much-loved four legged family member. You did the honourable and right thing in not prolonging her suffering. A house is strangely quiet without a dog.

Avus said...

Share my Garden:

Thank you for visiting and for your comments. I do so much agree - even after about 10 weeks there are "vacant" corners of this house and I am still missing her welcoming bark when I come through the front door.