Most of the time looking after dogs is a fun and rewarding experience, however this was not the case a few days ago, although I hope that I did help someone through the day that all dog owners dread....
I recieved an urgent call from a local groomers who I provide transport for, as a 11 year old alsation collie cross had been taken suddenly very ill.
I collected "Lucky" who was adorable but clearly had a serious problem as she had could not stand at all on her back legs. However she had a lovely nature and was very calm as I carried her to my van.
We then went to collect Lucky's owner, and then on to the vet, who was very professional and caring and undertook a full examination. Very fairly she also advised Lucky's owner that there was little point spending money on further expensive examinations, which was refreshing when you see some of the stories on Watchdog about high charges and potentially uneccessary treatment.
Sadly the advice was that the kindest thing would be to put Lucky to sleep, and Lucky's owner agreed with this advice.
As I had only just met Lucky and her owner, I asked if she wanted me to leave them, but she asked me to stay with her and support her during this heartbreaking time. Of course I agreed, and did what I could to help them both, when Lucky very peacefully slipped away.
I then took Lucky's owner home and offered to spend some time with her, but she understandbly wanted to be on her own.
Having lost my own best friend, Banjo, nearly 5 years ago now, at the age of 12, and under similar circumstances, I do know how this feels and was there with my wife, Sian when we had to make the same decision, and stroked his head as he was put to sleep.
I know how long it will take before you open the front door and get used to there not being a wet nose to meet you, and the gut wrenching feeling of walking into an empty home. Also of not having a snoring (and occassionally farting) dog watching telly with you every evening, and all the other, countless, life enhancing moments that having a dog in your life gives you.
However painful that seperation is, it confirms how special the relationship is and how much we treasure it whilst it lasts.
I only knew Lucky and her owner for a few, short, sad hours, but I am sure that they were both very lucky to have had many happy years together.
Thankfully not many days are like this, but when they are, it is a reminder of how much we should enjoy our best friends whilst we have them.