I have attempted to avoid writing this blog post. I've mentioned Poppy, one of our dogs. Her health began to deteriorate a few months ago. Infact, thinking back, I think it began when we went for the week's holiday to the South Downs, and which ended abruptly because of the awful weather we experienced and the fact that the electricity was cut off which forced us to leave after only a few days. Poor Poppy (as well as Alfie, our Yorkshire Terrier.) did not react well to not only the awful weather, but the fact that she wasn't supposed to follow us upstairs to the bedroom at night. The cottage we rented wasn't really dog-friendly, as it was advertised. It was a quite difficult experience for not only ourselves, but the dogs.
Poppy died on Saturday. As I say, her health deteriorated gradually over the last few months. Her weight came off very dramatically, so much so that she became just thin, she looked as if we didn't look after her. Very far from the case. Her eyesight went. It was clear that she could no longer see. Her eyes looked as if they had cataracts. I have known Carol for a little over 10 years, and in all that time Poppy had been around. She would have been around 3 years old when we first met. She'd always been an active little dog, gone on walks with us, gone with us on holidays. She could be incredibly stubborn when she wanted to. Also, very loving and great fun to have around. We got Alfie around a few months after we got married in 2007. We wondered, when we bought him home as a puppy, how Poppy would react, having a young pup in the house. We needn't have worried. There were a few issues during the first year or so, some quite scary particularly incidents when they had fights. I imagine it was something to do with the fact that he was a male and she a female and she was older and sort of 'top dog.' That behaviour disappeared after a while.
We knew it was clear that Poppy's health was going to deteriorate further. Well, she was 14 years old. Her eyesight was going to get worse. She began to bark relentlessly, no doubt to try to find out where we were. She managed to find her way around the house, she knew where the garden door was, her food bowl (always had a good appetite and managed to eat plenty, although, at the end of her life she never put on any weight, considering the amount she could put away.) She kept on wandering around the house, rarely settled anywhere, although she would sleep for very long periods. She used to know more or less when Carol was coming home, would wait for her at around the time she would come in from work. It's strange how dogs know this sort of thing, although no doubt it's because they get used to our routine.
We would have wanted Poppy to have had a natural death, but it wasn't to be. Knowing her, she might have gone on for a few months more, but for us it was heartbreaking to see her deteriorating so dramatically. So, it was Carol's decision to have her put to sleep. It was by no means a decision that was made lightly. We went to our vets and arranged for this to happen last Saturday. Not a day that was easy, infact, very difficult for both of us. It was very emotional and sad. There, I'v managed to writ about it on this blog.
We're not sure whether Alfie has missed Poppy. It's difficult to tell whether he has actually noticed her absence. I expect he has, because she's always been around, they've been together around 11 years. I expect he must have wondered where she is, why she's not coming back. Does he think, maybe they''ll go out and bring her home? He's now centre of attention. How do dogs show emotion? They always seem to know when we're not well, or there's something emotional going on. What do they sense? Is it a smell we give off? I know that dogs have an exceptionally good sense of smell, so what is it?