|Sym, Sox and Clover|
Within the space of a few months Sox has become old!
It began with her food. At times, she couldn't, or wouldn't, eat what was put before her ... even her favourite meal of tripe.
Over the last six to eight weeks she has lost a lot of weight ... down from 20 kilos to12.5 ... and her back legs have become stiff with arthritis. She can no longer sit, as she once did, to receive a treat. She spends her days walking slowly after me wherever I go or sleeping.
Now things are moving from bad to worse.
She is becoming increasingly more confused and, at times, seems to forget where she is or what it was she was about to do. At other times she seems to be her usual self, albeit stiffer.
Last night, for short periods, she seemed to lose a little control over her back legs and was very unstable. At 2.50 am we heard her cries of distress. I went downstairs and found her sprawled on the floor in a puddle of her own pee. I helped her back to her feet and cleaned both her and the floor up. From that moment on, she seemed fine and even took a turn around the garden. This morning, there are no signs of the instability that she displayed last night, but I fear that it will return. Soon, maybe very soon, we will have to make that sad decision help her 'over the Bridge'.
Sym, as I have written about before, has Lymphoma. He has had two courses of treatment over the last year and a half and, as I have also previously reported, only achieved partial remission after his last treatment .
At the moment, his lymph nodes are swollen but his condition is being held in check be a course of steroids.
It seems that there is nothing we can do now but give him the best possible care until the day comes when we have to make a decision to end his suffering too.
Clover ... a sweet and sensitive dog ... will then be alone.
And I worry greatly about that!
Clover, no longer a young dog ... we think she was about 8 or 9 years old when we got her in 2009 ... spent most of her early years locked in the kennels of a puppy breeder in God knows what kind of conditions, and when she arrived here as a foster dog, was accompanied by a whole host of problems. She was afraid of the outdoors. She was scared of parked cars and terrified by moving ones. White vans would make her stop as if paralysed. She would be sick at the very notion of actually getting into a vehicle. Sudden movements or the raising of an arm would make her cringe.
It became very quickly apparent that she was not the kind of dog that most people would want to adopt.
So, as she seemed to like Sox and Sym, we kept her.
She has always taken her lead from Sox and treats her as ... excuse the expression, dog lovers ... as the Alpha female. She is also devoted to Sym and will follow him anywhere and everywhere. Through both Sym and Sox she has gained a confidence that allows her now to look forward to short car journeys, a walk, a visit to the park and a cuddle with her 'daddy' on the sofa.
She will follow them around the house and settle close to where they settle; always seeking their company; always seeking the comfort they provide.
And I worry about how she will cope when they are no longer around.
How I will cope?
I know we will both find it hard!