Sadly, just as I thought Shaggy was improving, he took a real turn for the worse and we have unfortunately lost him today. He’d been up and down all week really but over the weekend he deteriorated to the point where he was having seizures and collapsing and losing control of his bladder. He was struggling to breathe and we had to make that decision that all pet owners fear and dread. We stayed with him whilst he went to sleep and although we are all heart-broken and will miss him terribly, we know we made the right choice. I thought I would dedicate this week’s post to Shaggy, in pictures, when he was in his prime.
My Red ‘jeans Cardigan that is. The short answer is NO. The longer version involves descriptions of flu-like symptoms, snotty nose, hacking cough, being off work sick and generally not having the energy to do much in the way of knitting. Actually, the knitting bit is finished, I need to sew in the ends, get a button and then I’ll be wearing it. On the whole I have enjoyed knitting it as much as I did the last one but it has got a bit tiresome towards the end and I’m looking forward to starting something new.
Last Saturday, amidst the aforementioned flu-like symptoms, I took Michael back to Uni in York. We went and did some grocery shopping first, then drove through to York in the afternoon. On arrival, I noticed that most other students being dropped off by parents/friends/whoever, seemed to have all their belongings in only one or two bags or suitcases. Why then did we have a car-load of belongings and shopping that would see a small third world village right for the next 3 months? I have come to the conclusion that my son is a pack-rat.
It’s been fun and games with the dog this week…well, not really but that’s one of those odd figures of speech we use isn’t it? Anyhow, the background is that Shaggy has been limping quite badly since before Christmas and I had been to the vets with him who said she thought he might have arthritis and gave him some medication which seems to have eased it a bit. Whilst Michael was home, Shaggy spent most of his time upstairs and apparently forgot to eat (the Vet thinks he may have Altzheimers too – more on that in another post I think!). I hadn’t really seen much of him, being up in Michael’s room as he was, so was quite shocked to see him looking even thinner than before and seeming very frail. He wouldn’t eat his normal dry food, so it was off to Pets at Home to buy special ‘Senior’ food, wet stuff in pouches that is easier to digest apparently. You’ll be happy to hear that he is now eating again…quite enthusiastically as it happens. My purse however is not so happy as this other food is quite a bit more expensive than Bakers Complete! Together with the regular cost of the medicines that he will need to take for the rest of his life, he’s turning into a bit of an expense. What can you do though? We love him, which is just as well because he has been a real pest this week.
Here he is asleep, with his tongue sticking out as he does nowadays. He does look funny when he wakes suddenly and looks up with his tongue poking out at us.
When I came to write this post, I found the previous one still saved as a draft which is why we have two posts in the same day!
We had a scare on Sunday night. Our elderly dog, Shaggy, had a Vestibular Syndrome attack http://www.nutrecare.co.uk/Product-2245/Dog-Diseases/Vestibular-Syndrome. Basically, he looked like he’d had a stroke, he was tilting over to the left, falling over and being sick. I honestly thought he was dying and it was horrible. I phoned an emergency vet and after talking through the symptoms with her and establishing that he was settled and rested, decided to wait to see our own vet the next day. Monday morning arrived and he seemed worse, I thought we would be taking him to the vet and not bringing him home again. Michael, my eldest son and I had slept downstairs with him all night to make sure he was ok during the night. I say slept, I dozed but woke and sat up at every little movement from Shaggy. I had cried a lot during the night, thinking that we would be saying goodbye to him the next day. When Michael woke up, I told him what I thought and he was devastated. I mean really heartbroken, sobbing, it was awful to see because I couldn’t do anything to ease his pain. Shaggy is very much Michael’s dog. He all but lives in Michael’s room, coming downstairs only for food and toilet needs! He sleeps on Michael’s bed, shares Michael’s snacks and is generally all-round devoted to the boy. Michael is almost 19 now but still that devotion is mutual. He stands for a lot of what most owners would draw the line at, getting up in the middle of the night to take Shaggy downstairs because he needs to go outside, having to curl up uncomfortably in a small area in his own bed because Shaggy (who is a fairly small dog) has decided that he will stretch out and utilise almost all the bed for himself. Shaggy also smells! He is an old dog at 16 years of age and makes some pretty nasty smells at times. Michael just doesn’t let it bother him, most people would be throwing him off the bed in digust but Michael just laughs and gives him a hug. So, I’m sure you can imagine how the lad felt thinking that his beloved pet was about to be put to sleep. So, off we go to the vets, both sobbing all the way. My ex-husband met us at the vet with younger son Mason who is almost 16 who wanted to say goodbye to Shaggy. In we all trooped, crying! The vet and his wife are the parents of Mason’s best friend so we know the family fairly well, Mike the vet called us through and the boys and I went in, me carrying Shaggy. I explained the symptoms and was surprised to see that Mike wasn’t perturbed by this at all. He went on to explain that it is fairly common in older dogs and is treatable with drugs and most dogs make a full recovery in about 10 days! All that grief was unecessary, thankfully! Michael has now decamped to the lounge with his mattress and bedding and computer equipment so that he can still be with Shaggy who cannot manage the stairs at the moment. I don’t know if he ever will be able to again so I really don’t know what will happen when Michael has to go back upstairs to his room but for the time being, we are happy to still have him with us and will do whatever we can to keep him happy whilst he is recovering from a very unpleasant experience.