Pets and Family

Pets are family aren’t they? When you get one, it is (normally) because you have chosen the animal to suit your lifestyle, exercise regime and hopefully space. Cats are great in small places as are small dogs, Cats especially are good in Aged Care facilities as they do not require exercise, they can always find a warm lap and will be pampered as much as they want. Dogs on the other hand big or small need to be exercised, even if it is just a walk up the road not a long run like kelpie’s need.

I have a Golden retriever that has survived despite the hazards of his life, he was purchased by someone else as a companion dog to a much older Lab, he was a puppy and this combination didn’t work so in a round about way – he came to me at 6 months, we had a funny time with him, he ‘ate’ 15 pairs of my shoes, only the leather ones though, pulled clothes line to wrap himself up in to sleep. He was hit by a car at three, after being walked and not kept on a lead, he developed a thyroid problem and has been on medication since this time, he relocated himself to the country and broke 3 bones in his foot when he slipped and jumped off the back of the ute, he now has 3 pins in that foot, he has had a grass seed penetrate his abdomen and had surgery, he has scratched his corneas on metal digging for rabbits and has had eye treatment – the scars are evident now and he is partially blind. All the while he has been a loyal loving dog, we have walked km’s on Brighton Beach – except when he chased a bitch on heat up jetty road to the train crossing – (someone else caught him – thank god) He has swam in the ocean with the Brighton Dolphin and had people chastise him, he has slept on the bed, in the bed and now has a single bed mattress of his own with a blanket on it that the 3 cats try to share with him. We have walked km’s on the farm till he tore his cruciate¬†ligament and was too old to have major surgery to fix it, he is not limited with walking he just now no longer goes far.

He has done more car travel than most going from Adelaide to Keith & back, put up with me singing to him, talking to him and ignoring him. All the while I have loved him and he has loved us right back. He sits and waits for me to come home daily from work, he waits watching for my return when I head away for a couple of days and use to listen for the car before his hearing loss. Over 16 years his greetings have not changed, he gets up, wags his tail, comes to the car and barks at me. All I need to do is open the door and pat him and off we go. He has sat with my daughter when she has been ill and looked after her and loved her as well.

Now it’s coming to that stage in life where we need to look after him, I did the urinalysis today and it shows no signs of diabetes, this while good for me the nurse isn’t good. It has shown many other things and it is a good indication of the state of his aging body. We are lucky to have him this long and had him albeit despite the above mentioned things, healthy and happy. So he is family, a very long part of my family and to now know he is ill is heartbreaking. I have spoken to dear daughter about him and we have had a cry. I will await the blood test results on Monday and then will make the best decision for this wonderful family member then. I am sure there are options and will want to know all about them. Is there a right time to let go of your pet? we all know there is a wrong time and that is when they are suffering, he is not suffering and I won’t let him regardless of the diagnosis. DH asked will I get another one – we all know there is no ‘other Pete’ he is unique, but I will cross this bridge when I get to it.

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