'If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.' Marjorie Garber

Friday, 10 September 2010

Moving On

Hello there. This is my first venture into blogging and hopefully not my last. If you're reading this then you've found me and I hope you will stay with me whilst I journey through blogland. I am open to suggestions as to how to improve the site, so feel free to criticise.
My sister is a frequent and successful blogger, (http://www.abuncandance.blogspot.com), who has for some time tried to persuade me to start, but somehow I never felt like I had anything worth saying. But a blog was always on my list of things to do.
And on the odd occasion when I thought about starting a blog because I needed to talk about something, I would find after a quick Google search that it had already been covered by someone far more literate than I could ever hope to be.
Then something strange happened to me today. I overslept. I woke up as usual, for a school day, to the sound of my alarm but then I fell asleep again. I was only asleep for twenty or thirty minutes but in my dream, I spent hours and hours.

I travelled to another country. I believed it was an island but I had no recollection of crossing water to get there. This land was a huge open field with a green hawthorn and hazel hedge around it.  In the distance, I could see several dogs. They were all black dogs. Suddenly, my family, my Husband and Daughters and my Mum and Dad, were beside me. I hadn't been aware of their presence until then. We all stood there on the edge of this country looking over the hedge at the dogs strolling and sniffing in the dew kissed grass.  And I could see Misha, my Dog. I called to her and she ran to me and I was so happy. I had found her. We cuddled and then she took it in turns to greet my family members. She came back to me and we cuddled more. I stroked her glistening black fur and she nuzzled into me for more love. Then I noticed that she had something tattoed inside her ear. Strangely it was a list of her dislikes and likes and the places she had visited, all in tiny black script.  "But it says that she has been to Hong Kong." I said. " I don't think it's Misha, after all, but she is so much like her and I can feel the bond."  I turned to my Dad and he just nodded. He didn't say anything but his eyes confirmed that this was another dog. I took that dog in my arms and decided it was time to move on. Misha was letting go.

Misha was a Labrador cross. We adopted her from the RSPCA Bristol Dogs Home seven years ago this month. She was just turning six months old then, full of life and mischief and we were all smitten. We were her third home. Her other homes had said she was difficult to train. Within three days, Misha was house-trained and responding to her name. She was to become my constant friend. 
At the end of June of this year she became gravely ill and was diagnosed a few days later with Immune Mediated Disease, or Canine Hemolytic Anemia. In less than three weeks, she had developed serious complications to the steroids used to control her disease. She was throwing off blood clots in her organs, finding it hard to breathe and a large section of her liver had died. She was referred to the Bristol University Small Animal Hospital at Langford, where the vets tried their hardest to help her. I visited her every day. Most days, my Mum and Dad would visit too; some days my daughters, my Husband  and my Sister came along. I just wanted to be able to take her home again.

Sometimes, when I visited she would seem a little better, more like her old self. I would leave with my hopes high. Other days she would seem depressed and empty and I would cry constantly whilst driving home. Most of the time she needed help with her breathing. On Saturday 24 July, the vet called me in the evening at my Parents' home to say that Misha's breathing had suddenly deteriorated. I had to go to her. My Husband and Daughters came too, driving through the night to be at her side. We sat with her, she rested her head in my lap and nearing to midnight, I asked the vet to put my poor Darling to sleep and stop her suffering. The next day, my Dad dug her grave at the bottom of our garden. He worked for ages in the summer sun to make it just right. It was the first anniversary of his Brother's death and my Dad said: "Rod will be walking her in heaven right now" We all cried. We all loved her. We were all blessed to have known her. Goodbye Misha, my best friend. I will always love you.