On Saturday 10th March, at 6p.m., a wonderful dog had to be put to sleep.
He was my Uncle’s dog, a chocolate Labrador who lived in the same house as my Dad, my Uncle and my grandparents.
He was eleven. Still is eleven, wherever he is now. As a puppy, he loved to chew shoelaces, especially the ones on Converse trainers. When faced with dog food in a bowl, he would carefully pick out the dry biscuit-parts and put them on the floor before eating them.
He was a fan of Human biscuits as well, as well as chicken (with or without gravy) most types of vegetables and most types of fruit, although he was prone to funny stomachs.
He absolutely detested oranges. Whenever someone tried to persuade him to eat one, he would growl, long and low.
Whenever someone came to the door, or just past the door, or outside past the window, he would bark until your ears rang.
If you grinned at him, he tried to grin back…exposing his front bottom teeth only. He liked to lean his forepaws on the chair you were sitting on and stick his face into yours, asking for a cuddle. His wagging tail often hit furniture and people’s legs, but he didn’t seem to mind. He liked it when my Dad made nonsense whispering noises in his ear or whistled in one of his ears. He liked it when my Dad held his muzzle and clacked his jaw up and down. He loved walks (what dog doesn’t?) on the riverbank.
He HATED having his feet touched, and had to be anaesthetized to get his nails cut.
He once cut his tongue on a stick at the riverbank, the blood from which prompted a murder investigation.
He had big, hazel eyes. Whenever I walked through the front door, he would greet me by making a huffing noise through his nose. He shed hair like there was no tomorrow. He liked to rub his sides against my legs, like a cat, leaving me covered in the stuff. I will miss that.
He liked having his lower back scratched, near the tail. Sometimes he would lie in his basket and make grumbling “I’m bored” sighs, then doze off. He followed my Uncle wherever he went.
He would lie on his back on top of a toy in the garden and wriggle around to give himself a massage, which gave me the idea to try that myself for my back pain. (Genius!)
An aggressive form of cancer was what happened to him. It started as a lump on his chest, which was removed. The biopsy showed it was malignant, and would return. The last time I saw him, he had lumps everywhere, he had not eaten for a week, he lost weight. All he did was drink and could not decide whether to sit or lie or stand, and he kept making low groaning sounds. He kept standing there with his head lowered.
He was in an obvious amount of pain and discomfort. I hope that wherever he is now, his tail is wagging.