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melting but not down

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Its taken me a while to get to the point where I could write about losing my lovely little dog Kish.  Guilt and grief are powerful silencers.  For quite a while before now, possibly even a year, she was rarely able to last the day without needing the loo. As Mr Lily and I were both out at work, it meant we'd often come home to puddles or poops in the kitchen where we'd moved her bed for ease of cleaning up.  Even though I'd spread puppy training mats all over the floor, sometimes she'd managed to miss them or paddle in her accidents, leaving huge areas to clean.  Unfortunately I was usually the second one home at night, almost always to be greeted by an extremely pissed off husband who'd had to deal with the mess, not a task with which he coped well.  He constantly insisted it was time she was "put down" but I ignored him, reasoning that at her age (16) it wasn't surprising that she couldn't hold it in all day - we couldn't - and in other respects she was fine, eating and drinking normally, enjoying pottering around the house and garden, not in any obvious pain although a little stiff in her back legs and lately had often to be helped out of her bed.  I loved my hairy little daughter and wasn't ready to say goodbye.

Three Fridays ago I drove home from work.  At the corner of our village I stopped to speak to Mr Lily who was waiting for a lift to the pub.  He said Kish had weed and he hadn't had time to clean it up so had just put an absorbant mat over the puddle.  I carried on  home.  I'll never forget the sight that greeted me when I opened the kitchen door.  Kish was on her side on the floor, thrashing about in her own shit, panting, panicking, desperate to stand up but unable to get to her feet.  The mess was smeared all over the floor and her and when she turned her head to look up at me as I entered the room her big brown frightened eyes pleaded "help me!"  I managed to get her up, covering my hands in poo in the process and put her outside while I cleaned up the kitchen floor.  (I never minded cleaning up after Kish - I'm blessed with a poor sense of smell.)  Then I took umpteen anti-bacterial wipes and did the best I could to clean her up.  I couldn't have bathed her - the last time we tried that she had a panic attack and couldn't breathe, I didn't want to distress her further.  This is Kish just after the clean up, you can see how wobbly she had become.....
That Friday was when I realised it was time to let her go.  It would have been cruel to put her at risk of another episode like that - what if she were left floundering from the morning onward? No, unthinkable, watching the video I'd taken on my mobile I could see she was a tired old girl.  I phoned the vet and booked her in for the following day - having made the decision, I didn't want to delay.  I phoned lovely daughter and she came straight over, bless her - much as she loved Kish she supported me in my awful decision and promised to come with me to the vet's the next morning, cancelling other arrangements that she'd made.

I was up at 5.30am the next day, couldn't sleep and wanted to spend as much time with Kish as possible before going to the vet's at lunchtime.  I brushed and brushed her to get rid of all the grey tufty moulting hair so she looked sleek and pretty.  I talked to her and stroked and cuddled her and LD put her coat on her to keep her warm....

For the first time ever, Kish was calm at the vet's.  No longer scrabbling and pulling on the lead to get out of there as fast as possible, she lay quietly in lovely daughter's arms and while standing on the table, buried her nose in my neck for ages while we talked to the vet.  They decided against shaving a patch on her leg as the poor old girl was covered in lumps, so gave the injection without fuss.  Kish just glanced at the vet then turned back to me, we kept eye contact until her head drooped and she gradually slipped away.  It took me a long time and a lot of tears before I was ready to leave her.  I cried and cried all weekend and on and off the following week.  Getting up on a morning and coming home at night to a Kish-free house was awful, so empty, so soul-less.  I started to question whether I'd acted too soon and wished I could turn back time and have her with me just a little longer.

Kish came home this Tuesday.  We had her cremated on her own and have put her casket on the  mantelpiece next to a photo of her as a beautiful young dog, decorated by her name tag and a taffeta bag containing a few tufts of her hair.  I have kept her original adoption papers, collars, halti, harness and frisbee - I couldn't part with all her stuff, seemed so callous.  I took her in the kitchen with me last night while I did the washing up and found myself crying while I talked to her about what had happened and how much I loved her.  Cracking up, obviously.  Here's a few photos of Kish throughout her long life with us, that's my foot she's cuddling in the last one. 


Joan said...

It hurts to say goodbye. You gave her as much happiness as she gave you, and she trusted you to know when it was the kindest, most loving thing to let her go. XX

Lily said...

Thank you Joan