It’s been a surreal couple of weeks leading up to this. We’ve known he’s been on borrowed time for about 6 weeks, after the vet said it could be vertigo, it could be a tumour, it could be a stroke, but that she would be reluctant to do anything about it even if we knew – as he was nearly 14 years old and that’s a long time for a little dog. She said, take him home and come back when he’s worse. On top of that, he had been going blind for more than a year so we knew the moment was rapidly approaching.
It was interesting watching him adapt to his new circumstances, he’d been unable to walk in a straight line and his hind legs gradually stopped supporting him, but he soldiered on, problem solving and learning new ways to do things. However, he was mostly cheerful and happy to just hang out with his people so we were happy to accommodate that. The last few days though, he was noticeably worse, and getting skinnier and skinnier as he lost his appetite (for anything except chicken necks!) and he could no longer get down the 2 stairs to the garden without falling over. We knew the moment the vet had predicted had come, we had to call time.
I had a love-hate relationship with this dog for most of his 14 years (as in, mostly I loved to hate him). Over that time he has barked at storms, possums, fireworks or just leaves falling from the tree; terrorised our cats; killed blue tongue lizards in our garden (and once, a neighbour’s chicken in theirs); bitten the next door neighbour (a different one) and cost hundreds of dollars in council dog-catcher fees, racking up many, many kilometres in escape adventures along the way. Mind you, over the years I’ve also met some lovely people who’ve phoned me to tell me he’s in their backyard. Nearly everybody I know has a story about Jack – not always a good one but a story just the same.
For all of that, he was part of the family, for better or for worse and a link with the past that is now gone and I’m sad about that. I am not a dog lover but this will be the first time in more than 20 years that I haven’t had a dog. It was weird to come home from the vet tonight knowing he was not here and it will really hit me when I come home from work tomorrow and he’s not here to greet me.
Finally, because I love a good digital storytelling tool, here’s Jack 🙂