This is honestly the hardest post I’ve ever had to write…
Last Monday, 24th April, it became very apparent to us that our darling dog daughter, Poppy, was very ill and we were going to lose her.
She was doing pretty well considering all the hurdles she’d had recently, however, on Sunday 23rd April, it all changed in a flash. She suddenly couldn’t walk and was dragging her back legs. We tried everything to help her, I was physically helping her stand and then walking with her to hold her back legs.
We thought maybe if she slept overnight then she’d be a bit better on Monday morning, but that wasn’t the case. If anything, she was worse.
We slept downstairs with her on Sunday night and she was very restless and around 3am looked so scared because she couldn’t get up herself. It was so heart-breaking to watch someone you love so much struggling.
The worst part by far was the fact that the mind was willing, but the body wasn’t. I’ve beat myself up about this for months because we did know this was coming. I’ve cried and screamed about how unfair it is that she’s totally fine in the head, but her body was failing her.
You’d think I was sort of prepared, but until it happens, you aren’t truly prepared.
On Monday morning, we made an emergency appointment with the vets and Mr AN carried her in. She was stressed out as she was frustrated by her legs and the vet said there was nothing they could do. We’d done everything we could, we’d changed our whole lives, cared for her 24/7, put rugs down to help her grip… put stair gates in to stop her hurting herself….we’d kept her walking as long as we could, with a structured routine of medication… she wasn’t in physical pain (one saving grace) but she was mentally stressed.
I know Mr AN was hoping they could sedate her for one more night and then we re-evaluate, but it was clear she wasn’t going to get better, we were both just in denial; desperately hoping and wishing there would be some miracle cure.
I’d already nearly been physically sick that morning because deep down I think I knew. I spent every last minute with her that morning, sat on the floor with her, calmed her down… but I did know what was coming.
However, when those words came out of the vet’s mouth “I think we should put her to sleep now” my world crumbled.
I’d read up on the process, so knew what to expect and it was very peaceful for her. We got to spend as much time as we wanted with her as the surgery had shut for the morning. They sedated her and we sat on the floor with her feeding her some paté. I never once let go of her, I kept stroking her and telling her she’d been so brave and she wouldn’t be suffering for much longer.
She looked back at me one last time and it was almost like “it’s alright mum, I’ll be OK. It’s time for me to go now”.
I never thought I’d be strong enough to stay in the room when it happened, but I had to for her. I stroked her until the end and with one last deep breath, she was gone.
I know many people will say she was “just a dog” and we should just get on with it, but we are utterly devastated.
She wasn’t just a dog to us, she was like our only child. She loved us unconditionally, was so loving, kind, funny and cute and just the perfect companion.
She might have been a German Shepherd and people saw her and immediately were cautious, but she was the loveliest. She was the one who taught me I could love a dog because until I met Mr AN, I was terrified of dogs.
She taught me to be a mum, she taught me to put someone else first other than myself. She was perfect.
Right now, we are taking things one day at a time because I know for me, if I try and think ahead, I just feel like forever is such a long time without her and I feel dizzy with grief.
We’ve told ourselves a hundred times that we did the right thing and we know deep down we did. We always said when she could no longer walk or go to the loo herself, it was time. But it doesn’t mean you’re ready and it happened much faster than we expected.
It doesn’t make the pain any less, knowing it was the right decision; I actually have a physical pain in my chest and it feels like my heart is breaking in two.
It’s the silly little things that catch me off guard. The fact when I drop raisins or chocolate on the floor, I don’t have to rush to pick them up in case she eats them. The fact I no longer have to check where my feet are when I’m working out in case she moves and I kick her.
Most of all, I miss the cuddles and her soft little ears. The little kisses she gave me; those beautiful eyes. The fact she was a madam, but we could never stay mad at her. The side eye she gave, how gentle she was… I miss her so much. We both do.
It’s so strange being in the house as it’s so quiet. We can’t bring ourselves to put her bed away right now, so it’s still there in the lounge and her other bed is upstairs with ours. I haven’t hoovered it either as it’s covered in fur and it’s the last we have of her.
We’ve put up loads of photos of her and we’re having a frame made with her tag and a photo. We got a lock of her hair too and her collar back and put them on her bed, then put some of her favourite toys on her bed too.
I actually sleep with one of her toys because at the moment it makes me feel closer to her and it’s the only way I sleep.
We got her ashes back last Wednesday and that made us feel a little better as she was back home with us. It also made it all too real because until then we could almost fool ourselves that she was just at the vets and being kept in.
So… I honestly don’t know what is next. This has been the worst year so far, so I can only hope it improves a little. I guess as time goes by we will find it easier to cope, but I can’t ever imagine not missing her.
It would have been her 14th birthday next week, so that’s another hurdle we will have to get over. There are going to be so many firsts. Firsts we never wanted to experience.
I’m going to try and get back to blogging as it will give me some focus and take my mind off of things, but I’m not promising a regular schedule right now.
Thank you so much for all of your support and I’ll be back soon with some new recipes.