This morning I woke up with a feeling of dread. My stomach was in knots, I felt ill. My 9 year old Staffie, Diesel, was going to be put to sleep. It was not a decision we had come to easily. He was my smelly old man and I loved him so much.
He came into our lives about 18 months ago with his husky brother. His owner at the time was a childcare provider who worked from home and despite the fact that they were kept in a pen away from all the children, one of the parents decided that she didn’t like the look of them. The local rescue centre had no room, so they were both on the verge of being put down. They weren’t bad dogs, some people are just assholes. Without a second thought, I rehomed them with me and have never looked back.
The husky was only a year old pup at the time, while Diesel was a lot older at 8 years of age. We knew when he came home with us that this would be his forever home and the burden of his death would eventually fall on us. But while he was alive we decided to give him and others the best quality life we could. Chew toys, gentle walks, and a spot on the rug in front of the fire was all he wanted. He was a happy dog and we knew he loved us back. He would lie and wag his tail, looking at us with his big brown eyes. He protected us on more than one occasion. Once when another dog tried to attack my daughter, Diesel bravely defended her against a dog twice his size, and kicked it’s ass while he was at it. He protected us from buglers, not once but twice. Yes, he was a very good dog to us.
For the last while his health began to go down hill. He was getting skinny, peeing and messing everywhere, he was not himself. So with a heavy heart, we went to the vets, knowing that he might not come home with us. He bounced in the door of the surgery, completely unaware of his fate. As we went into the examination room, my heart grew heavier and heavier. The vet felt his back and legs as I hugged him tightly around the neck until the vet uttered the words, “This is the beginning of the end for this little guy, but he still has some time left in him.”
Shock filled my body. He was ok! He had arthritis and a possible trapped nerve due to his spine being curved, but he was ok. He needed painkillers and some extra care, but he was ok. Nothing else mattered to me in that moment. I thought I would be bringing him home in a box, not buying ham to wrap his tablets in. Yes, my smelly old man would live for a while yet.
And how has he coped with his diagnosis? You tell me…..
This year, if you are getting a puppy for Christmas, think first. There are many older dogs in pounds and shelters that need a forever home. Give one of them a chance, it could be one of the best and rewarding things you ever do.
Update on my smelly old man- it’s with a heavy heart that I write this, but Diesel left this world in January 2016. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by the people that loved him.