This is a post that I never wanted to write. I knew that there was an inevitability about it because Naughty George (my dog) was 19, but still, it doesn't make it any easier.
Suffice to say, there are tears on my keyboard as I write to inform you that Naughty George died this morning at 11.50am. Gutted doesn't come close to describing how I feel.
We had been travelling throughout the UK for two weeks, visiting various friends for Christmas. At the beginning of our travels, he was pretty much his normal self; chasing their cats, guffing under the dining table whilst we were eating dinner, and woofing vacuously every time I tried to hold a conversation with someone.
But on Boxing day, I noticed some slight changes in his behaviour. He seemed a bit unsteady on his feet, went off his food, and was vomiting a lot. I thought he had picked up a bit of a bug, and coaxed him to eat by proffering him some of his favourite food.
He did perk up a bit for a few days, but by the time we finally returned home to Oxford last night, he had deteriorated quite a bit. He seemed confused and wobbly on his paws, and had lost control of his bowel movements.
I decided to treat him to a doggy pamper evening. I managed to feed him a bowl of his favourite chicken and rice, and then I let him snooze on the sofa (not normally allowed).
As a grand finale, I lit the fire and put his basket next to it - absolutely his favourite place in the world.
Pic.No.1 Naughty George, feeling poorly, and having a snooze on the sofa whilst the fire is being lit
Pic.No.2 Naughty George chilling in front of the fire last night
Pic.No.3 Naughty George, my faithful friend
Pic.No.4 I love you Georgie
Pic.No.5 I didn't know it at the time, but this was the last ever picture of Naughty George ... taken yesterday evening
At the end of the evening, I tucked him into his bed and then retired myself.
The first thing that I did this morning, was to check that he was ok.
He was lying in his bed and was shallow breathing and unresponsive. He wouldn't even open his eyes when I stroked him, he just let out little groans to indicate that he knew I was there.
I wrapped the little fella in a blanket to keep him warm, and then I made one of the hardest decisions of my life - to call the Veterinary.
I knew the significance of the call to the Vet, and it was totally heartbreaking. But there was one final gesture that I could do for my faithful friend. Naughty George has always been petrified of Veterinary Surgeries, so I asked if the Vet come come to my house to spare him the ordeal. She agreed, and said that she would be there in an hour.
It was as though Naughty George knew I had made the call. He lifted his head up and looked at me with his big brown eyes before dragging himself shakily to his feet. My little mutt was fighting to the end.
11.30am. I stroked his head and steadied him until I heard the dreaded knock at the front door. It was the Vet.
She examined Naughty George and said that he had an irregular heartbeat and that his symptoms indicated that there were many other underlying problems.
"I can treat him for some of his ailments, but that would only take him through another couple of weeks," she told me softly.
"I don't want him to suffer any more," I remember telling her, tears welling up big time. I needed to hold it together.
11.35am. She nodded and then gently asked where Naughty George would be happiest whilst she administered the injection.
"In his bed," I replied.
I remember numbly carrying him there, and cuddling him whilst the Vet prepared the injection.
11.40am. Her first attempt failed, because Naughty George realised that something was going on, and started fighting against all the people around him (there was a Veterinary Assistant as well as the Vet there) .
11.43am. "I'm going to have to sedate him first," the Vet concluded, realising that Naughty George was a bit distressed, "and it'll will take effect in five minutes. I'll leave him with you during that time."
It was a good decision on the Vet's behalf. I got an extra five minutes with my trusty mutt, and he gradually calmed down, lying his head into my cupped hands.
When the Vet came back, she had 'the' injection in her hands, ready to go.
11.48am. She took Naughty George's right leg in her hand and cut off some fur so that she could find an artery. And then she put the injection into it.
11.49am. Even though Naughty George was sedated, he felt the final injection enter his leg. I know that for sure, because for the last time, he opened his big brown eyes and looked straight at me (his head still lying in my cupped hands) ......... but then they closed, and he became all limp as my tears fell onto his head.
11.50am. Naughty George died in my arms.
11.55am. The Vet gently removed Naughty George from his bed and wrapped him carefully in a red blanket. I stroked him one last time, and then she left with his body.
Pic.No.6 R.I.P Naughty George - I will miss you more than you'll ever know
Leila (aged 10) wrote a brilliant poem for Naughty George, straight after finding out that he had died ....... it sums my lovely mutt up ...... god I miss him.
You peed in my bed,
Did you hear what I said?
How do you do,
You’ve just done a great big poo!
You’ve lived a long and happy life,
Now it’s time to say goodbye.
By Leila (aged 10)
In Memory of
Died: 6th January 2014
George’s favourite Hobbies
Stinking a lot and Getting in the way.We Love you Georgie!