Monday, 17 September 2012
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Uncle Geoff has gone now and so has Audrey. They both loved you so much. Geoff took you out a good deal when Boss was laid up for months with sciatica and he always laughed at the way you thought every phone call was for you and how you would "speak" to people over the telephone. Geoff talked about you often.
I have been through so much since you left us and I am facing lots more medical treatment. I can no longer go out for walks with Jesse and Jack as I did with you. I remember those days over in the fields when I used to hide from you and you would race around looking for me. How much you loved the snow. My gardening days are over, simply cannot do it anymore but what fun we had Pip when we shared all those hours together out there, you sniffing at everything I was doing, trying to help in your own way and wagging your tail fit to burst. Such happy memories.
Boss and I are growing old ourselves, the years fly so quickly. I have been sorting out photographs today and found so many of you that my eyes welled up. I am going to scan them all and put them in a "Pip" file on my external hard-drive.
Well, old friend, I just wanted to call by and let you know that you are not forgotten and never will be. We loved you in life, we love you still.
Monday, 6 October 2008
There has never been a time in my life so far that I have been without a dog and usually two, so dogs have been such a big part of my life for close on sixty years. They have all been characters and individuals in their own right and I recall them all with affection.
Once in every pet owner's life, there comes a special animal, one that for some reason or another stands out from all the others. That indefinable something you cannot exactly put your finger on. An affinity that you have not experienced with any other animal. It is a true blessing. Pip was that dog for us. He took hold of our hearts and never let go.
There was something about him that endeared him not only to us but to so many other people. After we lost Pip, it was so hard for Mike to take Jesse out alone and to be asked by so many where Pip was. Other pet owners he meets regularly at the fields, cried for Pip, they loved him as well. Total strangers have stopped Mike in the street and asked him where the other beautiful dog is. We had condolence cards from people. Pip touched so many lives.
A man approached Mike a couple of months later and said he just had to ask. He had always seen Mike around and thought of him as "the man with two dogs". He had tears in his eyes when Mike told him.
Pip is back with us . We have his ashes in a beautiful box and we will not be parted again. When our time comes, Becky has instructions that he is to go with us.
We have Jack now. We love him but in a different way. He has made us smile again. Jack is a beautiful dog, intelligent, faithful and loving. He is his own dog, we love him for his own special ways but he is not Pip and never could be.
Mike and I know that Pip would be pleased for us. He would not be jealous. Pip loved all other animals including our rabbits which he felt it was his duty to protect. He would lie for hours in the garden guarding their pen when they were outside. His heart was as big as he was.
I have tried to see the world through his eyes, to speak as if he could have spoken. His story was not easy for me to write especially, as you will all understand, the final chapter.
It is a terrible decision to have to make, many of you will have been there, but it is the last act of true love that we can do for our animal companions. For selfish reasons we do not want to let them go. It is being unselfish and doing what is best for your pet that makes a good and responsible owner, however hard that might be, however much it tears you apart. True love sometimes means having to let go.
Pip will always be in our hearts and in our minds. He has left us with precious memories. The house still feels empty without him. Opening the biscuit tin, however, quietly you tried to do it, always brought Pip running. The ringing of the phone which he always thought was for him had the same effect. So many of his ways that we miss so much.
In writing his story I have shared with you the happy and the sad, the ups and the downs. I like to think that if he could have understood such things, he would have approved of "his" story.
I hope I have done him justice.
I ask any new readers who come to this journal, and new people do come along from time to time, to please read from the beginning so you know the whole story. It is only fifteen chapters so will not take too long. Thank you from myself and Pip.
Goodnight, sweet prince
I had slowed right down by now. I could not longer run over the fields with Jesse. He raced ahead whilst Boss walked slowly with me.
He would sit on a bench and I would stand next to him and watch Jesse and all my other animals friends tearing around as usual, unable to quite understand why I could no longer do what I had done all my life.
It was a couple of days after the time of bangs that I found I truly could not rise from the floor without help. Collies like me have very strong front legs and powerful chests but even these could not help me lever my back legs from the floor. Boss always lifted me and once I was up things were not too bad. Boss said nothing to Mrs. Boss but I think she knew because she saw me struggling on a couple of occasions but I know Boss did not want to worry her, she had troubles of her own.
One morning, I lined up with Jesse (after help) to go and fetch the newspaper. That was always something I loved to do but this day was different. This day my hind legs trembled and shook. Boss thought I would be alright after getting going but things did not improve. It seemed to take ages to get to the shop. I could not sit down, it hurt to much so I stood on my ever weakening legs and waited patiently.
On the way home, it happened. My right back leg gave up altogether. I could not move it at all, it dragged uselessly along the ground. I was far too big a dog for Boss to pick up and carry so there was nothing to be done but try and make it home. Boss kept stopping to allow me breaks but when I finally got in my paw was all bloody from being scraped along the pavement. Boss cleaned it up. I could not even make it farther into our home than the hall. I just laid down and stayed there.
I heard Boss talking in grave tones to Mrs. Boss and then Mrs. Boss started to cry and so did Boss. I knew they were sad for me, sad that I was hurting, sad that I had changed so much without ever knowing why.
I heard the word vet and boss picked up the phone. We had some time to wait for an appointment. Boss took himself into the kitchen and attempted to read the paper but from the sighs I heard, I do not think he was able to concentrate. Mrs. Boss went into the bedroom and stayed there for a long time.
Then she came out into the hall where I was still lying by the front door. She went into the kitchen and came back with one of my very favourite biscuits in her hand, ones I was only given for a special treat. As she approached me, I tried to get up to greet her but could not do it. She knelt down and gave me the biscuit which I did manage to eat with my usual relish. She put her gentle arms around my neck and buried her face in my fur. She told me through her tears that I was such a good boy and that she loved me so very much. She looked deep into my eyes and I could see that love, not only sense it but see it. I licked the salty tears from her cheeks and tried to comfort her. I did not know what was upsetting her so much but I suspected it was because I was ill.
She spent a long time stroking me and talking to me and then she left and went back into the bedroom and shut the door. Some time later, Boss put on his coat, popped into the bedroom and said goodbye to Mrs. Boss. He put on my lead and helped me to my feet. My tail still wagged at the thought of “walkies” but I did not know how I was going to manage. However, this was not a walkie, Boss headed for the car. For some reason, for the first time in my life, I did not want to get into it. I sat down somehow and absolutely refused to budge. Boss coaxed and coaxed but it was no good. In the end, and I do not know how he did it, he got me into the car and we pulled slowly into the road. I looked back - Mrs. Boss was standing at the window, curtain pulled back, watching us and I could see she was crying very hard.
I remembered a day like this seven years before when Bonnie had gone in the car with Boss and never returned. I had the feeling that I might now be taking the journey that Bonnie had to take. I looked back at my beloved Mrs. Boss with all the love and affection I could muster and I so hoped she saw it and felt it.
Boss drove very slowly, more slowly than I had ever known. I drank in the roads where I had so often walked, the shops I had so often visited, seeing some of the people who had always patted me and given me treats. It was as if everything was sharper and clearer today than it had ever been.
We reached the vet and somehow Boss got me out of the car and inside. The vet was waiting, watching me walk. When he saw one of my back legs trembling and shaking and the other one dragging, he shook his head. He examined me tenderly. Mrs. Boss had recently found a lump on my leg and I had heard her tell Boss to mention it, so my examination was even more careful than usual. The vet found a few more lumps buried deep in my fur that Boss and Mrs. Boss knew nothing about.
There was a long conversation. I heard Boss’s voice break and then crack and I saw the water running down his face. He signed some papers and then I was taken into another room where I had something put into my leg.
When I was brought back into the room, the vet took a large soft blanket and laid it on the ground and he and Boss lifted me onto it. Then the vet went and left us alone together. Boss knelt beside me stroking my head and neck, talking softly to me, reminding me of all the wonderful times we had shared together, telling me I was the best dog ever, such a good good boy. I gazed into his eyes, seeing them all red, the water pouring down his face and his shoulders shaking.
I knew then. I knew that this was goodbye. I knew I would not be going home, not going back to Mrs. Boss, Jesse and Tinker. I was taking a journey, going on a different sort of walk and they could not come with me, not this time. I was very sad and I would have cried as well but us animals are not capable of tears. Somehow I was not afraid. I did not know what was going to happen or how I would take that walk but I knew that my wonderful owners would never do anything that was bad for me or hurt me in any way. They never had and they never would. I trusted them completely.
Those moments between Boss and myself were very precious. Just the two of us. That special time that nobody else shared. Like before I had left home and Mrs. Boss had shared special moments with me. I knew they would feel dreadfully sad and I knew how much Jesse would miss me as I had missed Bonnie. I knew he would search for me as I had for Bonnie and never be able to understand why I was not there anymore, but I knew I was leaving him in safe hands and a wonderful home.
After a time the vet returned and he knelt and put his arm around Boss’s shoulders. A few words were exchanged and then Boss just nodded. The vet filled up a needle with something and pushed it into the thing in my leg. I kept my eyes on Boss the whole time, wishing I could tell him just how very much I loved him and Mrs. Boss. I think he knew. I was gazing at him and gazing at him and the pain suddenly disappeared from my body and Boss’s face faded before my eyes. I was free, nothing could ever hurt me again. I had gone to meet my mother and my father and all those dogs I was descended from. I was not aware when Boss gently closed my eyes for my final sleep and gave me one last lingering, loving hug but I knew , somehow I knew that he did.
So you have read my story from the day Boss and Mrs. Boss found me until the time I took my last goodbye, our last parting. I was not destined to grow really old like my dear friend Bonnie, I only had ten years but they were ten years full of love, joy and adventures. Thank you for sharing my journey with me.
My name was Pip. I had a wonderful life.
The vet was growing old as I was growing old. We were very fond of each other. He had known me since I was a tiny pup and I trusted him completely.
When Boss took me there as it was obvious that something was wrong with my back legs, he took lots of pictures of me, I suppose the sort of pictures that Jesse had when he smashed his hip in that terrible fall. It did not hurt. Then Boss had a very long conversation with the vet as they studied the pictures together. Boss looked very worried but the vet seemed re-assuring.
He took a bottle and stuck a needle like thing into it and then put the needle into me. I never liked this but I also never complained and never made a sound. Then Boss was given some little round things in a bottle and from then on I had to take two of those with my meal every day. I do know that the vet told Boss that there was nothing they could have done about my condition, part of it was hereditary and part of it was because I was an exceptionally large dog for my breed.
I know Boss was upset because he mentioned to the vet several times that I was only ten years old, quite young for a dog to have the conditions that I did. I just listened to what they said although I could make no sense of most of it.
Well, soon I was back to being my old self. My legs did not feel so stiff and my back did not hurt so much. It is wonderful what humans can do for us animals.
I enjoyed every minute of the summer. Boss had found the new lake and would take us every day as the vet had said swimming was good for me. Well, I loved swimming now and could not wait to go every day. Boss would throw things into the water and Jesse and I would swim out for them. I was always the first in and always the last out. I wanted it to last forever.
Mrs. Boss would spend ages playing water games with us in the garden, spraying the hose over us when it was very hot and we would jump and try to catch the water and Boss and Mrs. Boss would laugh. It was a golden summer, truly golden in every way.
However, I was developing problems with my stomach. I seemed so hungry all of the time. Once, to the amazement of Boss and Mrs. Boss I stole some sausages that were on the surface in the kitchen. I had never ever been a naughty dog, never taken anything I was not supposed to but I was just so hungry. Luckily my humans soon noticed and it was back to the vets once more.
I was very sad when I got to the vet. My old friend was gone. He had "retired" whatever that meant. So I had to get used to a new vet but he was very kind although he did not know me. He was gentle and spent a lot of time with me and explaining things to Boss. Apparently the little round things I had to take were not agreeing with me and were affecting my "liver" whatever that meant, so I had to stop those immediately and I was put on an entirely new course of treatment.
That helped a good deal and I was no longer so hungry all the time.
The weather was changing and the days were growing shorter, soon the cold weather would be here. Swimming came to an end. Boss would not take us when the water was very cold. I missed it very much but hoped that next summer we would do the same again.
I knew that with the arrival of the cold weather, it meant that the time of tinsel and glitter was approaching again. I got as excited as usual. I knew it meant our own chicken to eat and our presents and that we would go out on that special day with tinsel around our necks as we usually did. People would always smile and pat us when they saw us wearing this shiny stuff.
The day dawned. As usual Boss and Mrs. Boss gave each other presents and a hug. Then it was our turn. I so looked forward on these occasions to getting my two new squeaky toys. Jesse and I had always gone mad with them, running up and down the hall, squeaking them for all they were worth. This day was different. I still got excited when the humans helped me open my presents, but this time I did not want to play. I felt very old. I had a few little goes with them to please Boss and Mrs. Boss but I got not get up the enthusiasm I had always had in the past.
I could not tell them but I was hurting really badly again and finding it difficult to get up once I laid down. On a couple of occasions Boss had to help me so I think he suspected although he said nothing to Mrs. Boss.
Mrs. Boss became sad. She had taken some pictures of us dogs as she always did at this time of year as she liked to see us wearing the shiny tinsel, but when she looked at them she told Boss I looked "old" for the first time and that my eyes had lost their lustre.
I knew that they were both worried about me so I tried my very hardest not to let them know how bad I was feeling. I wanted them to be happy at this happiest of all times of the year
When we went by one shop a smell of cooking would issue forth and the man that owned it would stopBoss and always give Jesse and I something called "chips" and sometimes a bit of fish which we both loved. Sometimes we went to a place where Mrs. Boss bought plants and things to put in the garden. This place also had an animal section and the owner, Vic, would always give us dog biscuits or sometimes a chew. So, we were spoiled dogs, not just at home but outside as well. Boss got to know so many new people because of us and we got to know a lot of dog friends. Everyone knew Jesse and myself.
Becky and Dean would often take us out. They liked to walk a lot and we would go with them to the woods and follow the trails all around. They would hide from us and we would gallop to find them. I think Becky and Dean loved us almost as much as Boss and Mrs. Boss. This would only be at what humans called weekends because they both had "work" during the week.
Then, Becky gave up work and began spending much more time at our house and it was wonderful to see her. She and Mrs. Boss would sit in the garden drinking tea and throwing toys for us. Then we did not see Becky for a while, she seemed to have disappeared and I could not understand it. However, there was a great sense of excitement in the air and one particular day Mrs. Boss was on edge all the time. I heard her tell Boss that she so wished the call would come.
In the early evening it did and then there was a flurry of activity. Mrs. Boss spent ages on the gadget she held to her ear speaking to lots of different people and she was so excited! It was quite a few days later when I heard the familiar sound of the car that belonged to Becky and Dean and I was so pleased as I had been worried I would not see them again.
I was very surprised when Becky walked in carrying a bundle. I was not much interested at first as many things had been brough into our home in the past. Then Becky handed the bundle to Mrs. Boss and Mrs. Boss was delighted and I heard her speak in soft tones I had not heard before.
Then Boss held the bundle and Mrs. Boss gave Becky presents.
Eventually I was allowed to see the bundle and I was amazed. It was a tiny human, the tiniest human that I had ever seen. Something called "a baby".. a human miniature. I had never had anything to do with a baby in my entire life and I was told to be very gentle. I tentatively sniffed at the baby. He, for it was a boy, smelled nice. He smelled of Becky, of milk, he reminded me of when I was a tiny pup and still with my mother. I liked him very much and showed it with furious wagging of my tail.
From then on I saw a lot of baby and I watched him grow and develop. When he was in his little chair on the floor I would guard him and when he got bigger he was able to reach out and grab my fur. Sometimes he pulled my ear or tugged on my tail but I did not mind. I loved him because he was part of our family, part of Boss, Mrs. Boss, Becky and Dean.
When he started to walk he would chase me but I would always let him catch me. I was so proud, when one day, Mrs. Boss placed him on my back and holding him on carefully I was allowed to walk around with him on my back and I was delighted when he laughed with joy.
Of course, none of the humans knew that my back was hurting me really badly by this time. For quite some time I had been slowing down. I still enjoyed my swimming, in fact, I would race ahead and always be the first in the water, always beating Jesse to it. I suppose I looked no different and I did not blame the humans, how were they to know? But my back legs were getting stiff and my back hurt a lot but I was never one to complain, I was a good dog.
Eventually Boss and Mrs. Boss did notice and I was then in for a series of visits to the vet.
I was sad when we started to lose our cat friends. Muffin was the next one to leave us. Boss and Mrs. Boss had no idea how old she actually was because she was a rescued cat and adult when they had her. She got very sick and then, one day, she was not there anymore.
I was saddest of all at losing Jasper. Jasper was my special friend next to Jesse. He could curl up with me and sleep. He would always rub his face against mine and purr. He would lie in Mrs. Boss's arms like I had seen people carry human youngsters and if Mrs. Boss asked him for a kiss, he would lick her nose. She was often find him curled up in her place in the bed. He would roll over if asked to. Jasper always acted much more like a dog and I think he thought that he was one! Boss and Mrs. Boss were very sad. I watched another hole being dug in the garden and all the humans including Becky and Dean standing there whilst the hole was filled in.
Our animal family was gradually shrinking. Flicky was the last to go. She was a rescue cat as well but been adopted by my humans when she was a kitten. She had been thrown on a rubbish heap tied up in a plastic bag and all the other kittens had died. She was the lucky one. Boss and Mrs. Boss gave her a home when she was about three months old. She had survived a very bad accident when a neighbour had run her over with her car. Flicky was on the pavement at the time but the neighbour lost control or her vehicle. Flicky was very ill for a long time with a fractured hip joint, fractured pelvis and ruptured bladder. The vet really did not think that she would make it and for two days it was touch and go. Mrs. Boss nursed her devotedly when she got home and almost taught her to walk again little by little.
The vet had warned that because of her injuries she would not have a very long life. For once this clever man was wrong! She outlived all the other cats bar one.
There came a time when she started to lose weight and only took tiny morsels of her food and slept a good deal. One day she laid down in a patch of warm sunshine in the sunlounge as it was called. Mrs. Boss tried to tempt her with some food but she just laid her tiny head on her feeding bowl and closed her eyes. Mrs. Boss sat with her all day and as evening came on covered her with a blanket and still sat with her. Then Boss said she needed a break and she must go and eat. When Mrs. Boss went back, she had slipped away. I had walked out with her and put my nose against my old friend. She was cold and stiff. She was not there anymore. She was twenty-three years old. She had been with Boss and Mrs. Boss even before Bonnie.
This hit Boss and Mrs. Boss very hard and I know that Mrs. Boss wrote about Flicky on something she called her journal and many people were touched by it.
So now, from seven, we were only three. Myself, Jesse and Tinker. The house seemed very quiet but we still enjoyed ourselves and I was soon in for a big surprise