17 November 2017

Bessie 29 May 2001- 10 November 2017

Those of you who read my posts from time to time might remember our beautiful dog Bessie and the hurdles we faced moving her from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia.  Aged 15 our brave girl survived a near mortal illness and the advance of old age to make her way to us, finally arriving with our other dog, Perdita, on Christmas Eve.  She suffered a stroke on the journey and we were worried that she would not last long but our vet reassured us that she had a year to go.

Bessie took the challenge, within a few days she was walking again and enjoying life with her family.  Still very much top dog she brought endless joy to all of our lives.  That said over the last month she started to sleep even more than was usual and quite obviously felt in a lot of pain, much of the time the dementia that had started to creep in during our time in Malaysia was very evident, she often knew me and Master EE but no one else.  Her once beautiful fur was sparse and hard to keep clean.  We spoke with our vet who promised that he would try to find a lethal injection (they are strictly controlled here and home deaths are difficult to arrange) The weekend before last she seemed to be her old self again.  She knew the whole family, ran around the garden with gusto and seemed to be taking real pleasure in life. 

We thought this was probably a swansong and we were proved right.  On Tuesday last week she collapsed in the hallway and was unable to get up without assistance.  We made sure she was comfortable while we tried to sort out the necessary end of life arrangements.  We were able to spend the last few days ensuring that someone was always with her.  A hand on her head, a comforting word in her ear.  She had (turkey) ham to eat and we poured our love into her.  The night before she died I slept with her on her bed, my head with hers the way we used to when she was well enough to jump on our bed at night. 

She died on Friday morning, my hand on her face and my forehead on hers the way it was at every vet visit, Mr EE holding her paw.  We wrapped her up in a white tablecloth and placed her in the bottom half of her travel crate (with live animal stickers that tore at my heart) for transport to her grave.  The children came home and picked flowers to place over her and put in her bowls and her favourite ‘Mr Mallard’ toy.  She is now at rest under a tree in a stable yard.  A peaceful and happy spot for our beautiful girl.

Bessie was with us from the day after we returned from Honeymoon more than 16 years ago, she moved with us to four different international postings, she adopted Perdie and Kismet and loved them as her own.  We have had her so long that we don't even have any digital pictures from when she was a puppy, they are all, old fashioned film photos in family albums back in the UK.

She was one of the greatest joys of my life.  A support when times were hard, unconditional love, my very best friend.  The children have never not known a life without Bessie, she loved and guarded them from the moment they came home from hospital.  They don’t quite know what to do and watching them grieve makes our hearts break all over again.  Kismet the cat, a clever creature knew the moment Bessie died, she climbed into the crate with the body to say her goodbyes and has stuck very close to us ever since.  Perdie, who is not clever, didn’t understand what had happened at first but has grieved for the dog who raised her ever since.  She has been extremely clingy and has had a fair few accidents in the home.

Life will establish a new normal, we will have to learn how to get along without Bess but there will never be a moment in time when we do not feel her absence in our lives.  We are so profoundly grateful to have had her for 161/2 wonderful, magical years and looking at the pictures we have of her we see they radiate a wonderful joie de vivre.  I know I will see her again, her fur long and shiny, her nose wet and her tail wagging exuberantly.

The Power of the Dog, Rudyard Kipling

THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it’s your own affair
But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

   Posted to the Animal Tales Linky hosted by the lovely Rosie.

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