To the left is a picture of my late and much loved Lucy. Lucy was a greyhound cross who we adopted in her later years in life. I've previously posted about how much having Lucy changed my life for the better. Check out that post here: https://flickeringmind.wixsite.com/home/post/how-relating-to-my-dog-taught-me-about-myself
This is something that I could have posted at the beginning of the year but to be honest, I think I'm only just ready to talk about Lucy's passing in a public setting without turning into a blubbering wreck. Here is her story...
The day before we lost Lucy we had places to go and things to do, we took Lucy and Cass everywhere with us. The first stop was a nice walk, both Lucy and Cass like to be outside and Lucy never strays too far from us and has the perfect recall. She just trotted around sniffing and living her best life. From there we went to McDonalds for lunch and I got them a family nugget box to share. After all, they are the best girls. Now we were all full we had to pop into my partners mams. She has a huge garden and the dogs played none stop. Of course, she had also bought treats ready for our arrival so those good girls got more treats! When we got home and got ready to go to bed, we wrapped them in their blanket and they cutely fell asleep together.
I'm so thankful that her last day was so filled with everything she loved. Although we didn't know it would be her last, it was pretty much how I would have wanted her last day to be. On the night when she was getting snuggled in, she had started to cough. Like a raspy, hard cough. I thought maybe she's just getting old and it has been a long day and she's tired.
The next morning her cough was more persistent and I began to get worried. I rang the vet and described what was happening. The vet told me it sounded like she had caught Kennel Cough while we were out yesterday and that it will usually clear up in the next two weeks. Feeling reassured we decided not to take her for a walk and to just stay in and recover. However, by lunch time Lucy's breathing had became laboured and you could hear she was struggling. I called the vet again and she asked me to bring Lucy down so they could assess her in person.
Because this was in the mist of COVID I wasn't allowed to go in with Lucy. Me, my partner and Cass waited in the car park to hear any kind of news. Eventually the vet rang and told us she needed x-rays and tests to find out exactly what is wrong. I told her to do anything she could to save my baby. Price didn't matter, I'd find a way. After what seemed like an eternity we got another phone call, she was no longer able to breathe by herself and her lungs were filling with fluid faster then they could suck it out. I had to let her go. They still wouldn't let me in to be there with her when she passed and I was hysterical at this stage. I think they took pity on me, I was allowed in after she had passed. She looked so peaceful, like she was sleeping. I kept thinking she would wake up, like in the movies. She was too loved to die. She needed to wake up. I hope she knew I was there. The vet told us for something to happen this quickly it was either poisoning or she had already been ill and we had not known.
She had to have been ill for sometime, we just didn't know it. Cass did everything she did, ate everything she ate and went everywhere she did. I thought I was ready but, at this stage of typing the tears are flowing again.
We cried for a day straight without stopping. Cass didn't understand what was happening. All she knew was that her best friend had gone. I still struggle with a weight of thoughts such as, did Cass think we just abandoned Lucy? Does Cass think we'll do the same to her? Did Lucy know how much she was loved? Was she wondering where I was at the end? Was she upset I wasn't there? If I had done something sooner would she have lived?
It took me a few months to be able to talk about it without crying. Cass would cry and look for her. It was heart breaking she was just as depressed as us. More months past and we knew, we're a two dog family. Cass needed someone to help her get herself back to normal and we knew we had space to rescue another dog in need.
This is when we reached out to Dogs First, a rescue based in North East England and the Scottish Boarders. I was drawn to them because they are a foster based rescue. No dogs waiting in dark kennels for human interaction. The way I always thought a dog should be, on a sofa not in the cold. Looking through all the photos of dogs looking for their forever homes it's hard to pick just one, you want to help them all. Then we found Reggie's story, it was a sad one. He was unwanted, barely looked after and hungry all in the attempt to toughen him up so he could be used for hunting. The owner had described him as "useless". He had been with his foster home for a few weeks, and we knew we had to meet him.
First thing that struck us was his size. Reggie is a big boy. At only 1 year old he's a bouncy puppy, just the size of a small giraffe. Cass circled him and was interested in him. We thought this is the one. Deciding to bring Reggie home was one of our best decisions. He just fits in, like he was meant to be here. Don't get me wrong he steals things, digs everything, eats anything but he also gives the best hugs, has the dopiest face and his ears droop when he's sleepy.
He's brought Cass back to her playful self, she'll play and make all sorts of noises while wagging her tail. He'll follow you were ever you go, toilet - he's there, bed - he's there, outside - he's there. He greets everyone he meets and just loves people. He reminds us not to give up and to keep going. He sees magical joy in everything and it prompts you to see things through his eyes.
If you're thinking about adopting a dog, or are looking to volunteer or donate please look for Dogs First. Find their Facebook link below. https://www.facebook.com/groups/319367915598107/