Monday, 6 October 2008

Final Chapter

The glittery days were gone once more and soon it was time when humans celebrate the turning of the year. I dreaded the loud bangs late at night more than I had ever done. Maybe it was because I was not feeling well. As always, Boss and Mrs. Boss were calm and re-assuring.
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.



  1. This entry was heartbreaking and so warm all at the same time. My Snoopy is half border collie half chow chow but has all the characteristics of the border collie. I love her to death and I couldn't imagine not having her in my life. Thank you for your bittersweet stories.

  2. That is such a beautiful photo Jeannette, Pip looks so protective towards the young Jessie.

    Love Sandra xxxx

  3. Im over here crying...... 1:30 in the morning...... I am a huge animal lover and now im over here balling my eyes out....

    I needed to cry..... I dont know what to say if its cries of happyness or of sadness the dog passed on... I guess its a mixture of both

    THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing your story!

    ~ Christopher ~

  4. I am sobbing....for Pip, for you and flooded with memories of the last days of my Boo. Very much could be her story as well.

    Rest in Peace Pip.