“IS THERE ROOM FOR ANOTHER ONE?” Christmas Blog

Fate dealt me a one further savage blow on Saturday, 13th December, the day Bunter was put to sleep. He was the third dog of my “Fur Family that had died within 3 months. Sadie went in May, pleased to go as she could hardly breathe, then my adored wire haired miniature dachshund was found unconscious early on 14 October and died within minutes despite a brave effort to save him. On a cold wet dark 12th, December, when Bunter did not return from the garden through the flap, my only option was to go & find him in dressing gown & slippers. He was carried back in from where he half slumped by the flap. I had reluctantly decided that once he could not get back on his own, his time was up.

Arrangements were made for the vet to call the next day for him to be put to sleep. It was timely. That morning, he really did’t want to go out at all & I had to carry him into the garden. He had to prop himself up against a small wall to cock his leg & staggered back to be house barely able to walk whilst he poohed. I carried him in, gave him breakfast & hauled him on the settee on the conservatory to await death. Cold chicken was fed him just before his end so I did my best for him & he joins the ranks of my other animals almost too numerous to list. I chose to hold him rather than the attending nurse. He allowed a paw to be shaved but he struggled hard & loudly protested as the needle penetrated. I hung grimly on to him until the injection took effect & the remaining yellow liquid was emptied into him. His death was almost immediate. I rang the Pet Cemetery. “Have you room for another one”, I tearfully asked John. He knew me well & assured me all would be well.

Bunter was wrapped in a rug & strapped into the passenger seat. With remaining dog in the back, I set out for the third time since May, to Brynford Pet Cemetery. For the third time a precious companion was laid in the communal chapel basket, more tearful farewells, then covering him with the communal blanket and yet again, blundering outside, blinded by yet more tears.

It was a sunny day with a biting wind. I walked remaining dog round the grave stones, all of them bearing witness to adored animals, never to be forgotten, remaining always in the owners’ fond memory for ever. The cost of some headstones, inscriptions, poems & graveside accoutrements didn’t come cheap. One example of sparing no cost was a huge statue of husky dog on a raised plinth. Definitely an arm & a leg’s worth there but such is the bond between owner & pet, money counts for little at a bereavement.

Returning to my car after after a 10 minute brisk walk round the resting places of five of my former fur friends, the chapel windows were open & an ominous roaring could be heard. It was the chapel furnace, rapidly reducing my fat, blonde Bunter of 10 years of mutual love & affection to ashes.

He had come to me ‘second-hand’. He had had been returned to his owner as the sale had not worked out. I got a bargain at £200 as he was microchipped & even came with a collar; the usual asking price for a pug being as much as £1600. Clearly, I had passed the owners test who knew this time a good home was secure. I had bought his solid bulk to limit my puppy Hufflepuff ‘s exuberance as at times, she was too rough for my older, dogs. Schnauzer & pug hurtled vigorously round the owner’s room. It looked as if my plan would work.

When I got him home, Bunter did not want to play at all. He came as Gregory but that soon changed to Bunter for reasons that were obvious for anyone to see! He never refused food, anything, curry, the lot was all enjoyed & it was as much my fault that he was overweight. He lived for food & morning toast & he knew to the second when it was supper time.

Ongoing eye problems required a daily ritual to hump him onto the work top & bathe & lubricate them. He’d come with hip problems, the reason why his owners had not not bred from him. He progressed from cod liver oil to monthly injections and daily medication but not enough to keep him moving.

It’s time for quiet contemplation as I write on this shortest day of the year; 21st December, the Winter Solstice. Thousands of animals are seeking homes. The numbers will rocket after Christmas but if there’s another who can ever replace the adored ones who departed so soon, only time will tell?

2015 presents a stern financial challenge for our Authority as deep cuts will soon to kick in. My blue notebook, in which I record all residents requests for help & advice may soon become much fuller. My sad loss of three dogs can hardly compare with loss of jobs, from which Flintshire Council has not been immune. I pray for a happier future for all staff who have suffered job losses and for those who may soon suffer more redundancies. I wish all residents, colleagues & friends a happy and peaceful Yule Tide, even those I have mentioned in occasional uncharitable terms in my blogs (not that I intend to mend my ways should the truth need to be told!)

It goes without saying that I won’t give up on the battle to clear my name but that’s what I do. I’m dealing with a ‘blue badge’ problem for a resident whose Liverpool accent indicates she knows me from my former Liverpool days & knows of my record of not giving up. “I want you for this problem,” she emphatically told me. As ever, it was explained that I never promised success, but only that I would do my best.

That’s what I will continue to do in 2015 for all my residents. Enjoy the Festive Season.

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