Your Pet Loss Stories

by Dex Cameron
(Somerset, UK)

Here's a little piece following the loss of our young brindle Great Dane bitch some years ago. It deeply affected our eldest son such that he found it difficult getting close to a dog again.

"In my deep sadness, I recalled Clara, our very young brindle bitch to whom Andrew had been so attached.

He had not mentioned her again after she was put to sleep but a few weeks later he had produced a short piece for his English homework.

Both Mel and I had been moved by the depth of feeling expressed and, not least, by the very tangible evidence that our thirteen-year-old son was growing up fast.

I asked Mel if she could lay her hands on it, which, of course, she could, in seconds. I just felt in the mood to re-read it.

He had entitled it ‘A Broken Friendship’ and I read it, exactly as he wrote it, as follows:-

“Clara was a kind, gentle young dog. I threw a dusty old coal sack into the air. She ran, jumped and caught it in her spring loaded jaw. She shook it around leaving dust hanging in the air and then offered it to me. I grabbed it, and she attempted to tug my arm off.

We both ran inside and sat next to the fire. I stroked her ears. She liked this and we both smiled.

The next day we went to play, I noticed she had a limp. She didn’t seem to be in pain and her tail wagged as though there was a motor inside propelling it. I thought nothing of her limp and guessed that she had hit herself and that it would go away.

A few days later, it was still there, and so I told my Dad. We took her to the vet’s. While he exercised her leg, she peered round the room looking sorry for herself and not daring to move. He prescribed some tablets for her, about eight a day.

She didn’t like playing anymore, and I thought something was very wrong.

A few months later, she couldn’t walk. Her tablet dosage was increased to twenty tablets so that she was able to walk fifty metres a day.

I was always with her when I could be. When I arrived home in the evening, I watched TV and had some tea.

I knew she always liked being with me, because, when I went out of the room, she always started crawling after me and I had to shut the door so that she wouldn’t crawl all of the way after me.

I hated doing this because I was shutting her out, I didn’t like that, and her mournful eyes staring back at me, made me go back.

My Mum and I had to carry her around until she became too heavy one day. Before I went to school, we put her in the living room where she would stay for most of the day.

When she was seven months old, we arranged to take her to Bristol, our last hope to find out what was wrong.

In the waiting room, everyone asked about her and felt sorry for her. We went to Bristol every two to three weeks, we all knew the journey off by heart. We had to leave her a week for tests. I really hated this because I thought she would be depressed and lonely.

After what seemed an extremely long week, we collected her. She was wagging her tail as usual and started barking as soon as she saw me. I sat with her in the car all the way home, stroking her ears until she fell asleep on me. I was happy as long as she was.

When the results of the tests came, we found that she had an extremely rare disease, that most people hadn’t heard of. She was gradually becoming worse and I now knew that she would soon die.

One day she could hardly move and she went to the vets, we all said goodbye because we thought she would have to be put down.

It was strange, us all saying goodbye and crying our hearts out, and she was wagging her tail and panting with her pink tongue flapping out of her mouth.

Luckily she was not put down. They did a few more tests. We heard the results that she would get boils all over her and become very itchy.

That morning, before school, I took two photos of her and spent twenty minutes saying goodbye. That night, when I arrived home, I guessed that she would be put down.

We buried her and I planted a tree for her so that I could remember what good friends we had been for the eleven months she was with us.”

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