Tag Archives: Dogs

Farewell to Gill

We had to have our faithful dog put down three weeks ago.  I say ‘our’, but Gillespie (or Gill, for short) was actually my mum’s dog.  However, you know how these things go… he was a member of the family.  He’d been doing remarkably well really – at almost fourteen years old he’d had most of his teeth and one eye removed (have a read of Canine eye removal if you’d like to know more about this particularly grim event which, for me, was far too close to home).  He’d also coped with a slipped disc and had a touch of arthritis and doggy dementia, but he still greeted us with enthusiasm, scoffed his food with gusto, and frequently legged it up and down the garden as if he was still a puppy.  He was always delighted to go for walks, particularly if they involved a spot of geocaching along the way.  Gill was the ultimate geohound, you see.  Sniffing out tupperware was a speciality of his, along with sitting and waiting patiently for the last corner of my toast in the mornings (shhhhh, don’t tell my mum!).

However, we knew things weren’t good when he started going off his food.  His appetite seemed to wax and wane, and we did occasionally wonder whether he was milking it a bit in order to get titbits of chicken and beef  and even a bit of liver which my sister held her nose and cooked up especially to tempt him with.  He developed a liking for shreddies and it wasn’t unusual for me to receive a text from my mum which stated proudly, “Gill’s eaten 24 shreddies this afternoon! :-)”  Sometimes, once he’d eaten a few shreddies, he’d go on to eat other things, leading on to texts such as, “Gill likes my lentil soup!” and, “Gill’s had 3 good saucers of chicken and half a sausage!”.  I should probably add here that the vet had said to keep trying to tempt him with whatever he would eat (within reason, obviously).  However, after a while his appetite plummeted to new depths and a blood test revealed that his kidneys were failing.  I won’t focus on the last few horrible days, but putting him to sleep was the kindest thing which could be done for him.

Anyone who has pets will know how grim it is to lose them.  Sometimes I wonder whether it’s worth it.  But then I remember all the good things about having them.  Gill was my canine eye buddy.  He always seemed to know when something was wrong, and after my first surgery he would lie with his head on the arm of the chair as he watched me anxiously.  He was my posturing companion, when we disobeyed house rules while my mum was away and allowed the dogs upstairs and into the bedroom.  He didn’t really quite get the knack of posturing, but he was a huge comfort as he lay down by the side of the bed, and he was also quite happy for me to practice learning German on him (https://rdramblings.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/pondering-posturing-part-two-or-meine-augen-schmerzen/).  Dogs are great, because they somehow know when something isn’t right and they come and sit next to you or lean against you without saying anything stupid like humans so often do.  Gill did that sort of thing a lot.  He brought us much happiness and hilarious entertainment at times, but now we have to get used to a Gill-shaped hole in our lives.  Considering he was a relatively small dog, that hole is remarkably huge… 😥

Gill, lying on the floor in happier times

Gill, lying on the floor in happier times

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RD holidays: first guests

After my ramblings on the idea of setting up some kind of holiday exchange programme together with my eye buddies in my post RD holidays, I was amazed and delighted at how swiftly my first guests contacted me to book themselves in for a seaside break.  My mum had decided to head to Cornwall with my aunt and her family for a week, leaving my sister to dog-sit.  Naturally, my sister and the dogs didn’t see why they had to miss out on all the fun, so they motored down to their very own little holiday cottage on the Kent coast… otherwise known as my gaff.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… “But that doesn’t count – they’re not eye buddies!”.  Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong!  Okay, maybe not entirely wrong, as fortunately my sister’s peepers are practically perfect.  However, much to our distress, poor Gillespie (aka Gill) had to have one of his eyes removed back in August 2016, due to keratitis.  (Have a read of Canine eye removal for the full story.)  Unbelievably and horrifyingly, Gill’s brother, Dizzy (aka Diz) developed the same condition earlier this year, leading to an extremely anxious few weeks, as it seemed increasingly likely that he too would have to undergo surgery to have his eye removed.  Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea; an extremely painful condition which can progress rapidly and lead to sight loss if not treated urgently.  Keratitis can also affect humans.  Amazingly, the eye drops slowly worked for Diz and he didn’t require surgery, much to our huge relief.  However, he’s still on several eye drops and there will always be the possibility of the condition flaring up again.  So, you see, although they haven’t experienced RD, they are most definitely my eye buddies too!

Diz, having his eye drops put in.

Eye drops time!

As such, they were delighted at the opportunity of a relaxing, eye friendly holiday.  After enthusiastically exploring the garden and fertilising the courgettes (the dogs, that is, not my sister), we set off for a walk along the sea front, where we had to discourage Gill from fertilising a couple’s stripey windbreaker along the way.  As the dogs are rather elderly now, they have the additional problem of arthritic joints as well as dodgy eyes, so they can’t cope with much more than a few minutes walk in one go.  It’s actually more accurately described as ‘a sniff’ rather than ‘a walk’, to be honest.  So after half an hour or so they were quite happy to head home and sprawl out on the sofa for a well-earned rest, until they magically awoke on the very dot of 6pm and proceeded to clamour for their dinner.  It has to be said, they were rather demanding house guests where food was concerned.  And that was pretty much the pattern of the whole long weekend: sniff, wander, eat, sleep, repeat.

A walk along the sea front, past the beach huts.

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside!

It certainly made a nice change to have a spot of canine company for the weekend… as well as sisterly company, of course.  The only downside was that on the Tuesday evening when I returned home from work to a silent house, I opened my front door to the particularly pungent smell of DOG.  It was probably stronger due to the fact that we’d all been drenched in salty sea spray the previous day during our seaside sniff.  The whiff of wet dog is one that is hard to ignore.  However, it was a small price to pay for a fun weekend, and nothing which couldn’t be cured by a few squirts of Fabreeze and windows thrown wide open.   So, if any of my other eye buddies fancy booking themselves in for an RD holiday, just let me know…

Gill, asleep on the sofa.

Snooze time

Note: Fertilising the courgettes and sniffing around the garden is not obligatory.

Note 2: Please pack deodorant.