I skipped Wordless Wednesday yesterday because this post needed words.
On Monday we watched as our caring vet gently put Napoleon, our thirteen year old Labradoodle to sleep.
Up until a couple of months ago he was the kind of dog who looked and acted much younger than his years. And then just before we went overseas he he had a couple of abscesses appear and then rupture in his anal gland (probably TMI but how is that even a thing?! I learnt way more about anal glands than anyone apart from a vet should ever have to).
And then he just went downhill. He was struggling to walk on our wooden floors in our new house which we put down to a weakness in one of his back legs, but a visit to the vet revealed he had hypercalcaemia, which was probably due to some form of cancer. There was the option of extensive exploration and then potentially surgery but for an old boy that just seemed way too intrusive and stressful. So we have spent a couple of teary weeks spoiling him to the max, giving him the treats he isn’t usually allowed and taking lots of photos with him and family.
Over the weekend he got to the stage where we had to carry him out to go to the toilet so we know we had the timing right. We are fortunate enough to have a vet practice that will come to your home so that is what we organised with the vet who has looked after him since he was a puppy.
When Monday came round all too fast we were to able to hold him as we said goodbye to him as he lay on his bed in the sun.
And now he is gone. I keep catching sight of cream coloured objects around the house and thinking it’s him. I miss the way he would wander into a room and then like any old person, clearly forget why he came in. I miss his doggy hugs (which is how we stopped him from jumping up at people, he would only jump up when you said ‘hugs’)
He was a gentle dog, unendingly patient with our children and now the grandchildren climbing on him and snuggling up to him, always close to the centre of every family celebration
He raised Bosco and did most of his manners training. They had a bit of a funny friendship. We were never quite sure who was the boss. We think that Napoleon genuinely let Bosco think he was the alpha. They would play endless games of play-fighting – hysterical to watch and listen to.
A incurable and skilled food stealer with a passion for camembert (must have been the poodle in him), he could reach up onto the kitchen bench and we learnt the hard way the range of those paws.
In his later years, he wasn’t so keen on long walks, and would decide when he had had enough and take his lead in his mouth and saunter back home.
A veteran escape artist he was well-known to the builders in our area as he would join them for lunch and share their sandwiches.
We won’t be a two dog family again, which is an odd feeling. It will be easier to deal with our travels and lifestyle with just one dog. And as Bosco is diabetic it does mean we won’t have to worry about him gobbling down Napoleon’s food every morning (which up until now has been one of his chief daily goals).
Poor Bosco is fairly mopey and has been avoiding me – I think he is worried we might do the same thing to him! And sadly, at some stage we will have to go through this with him, but hopefully not for a while.
I know that we will get used to not having Napoleon around and that he will become a loved memory rather than a gaping hole in our life. I know it will take time and that I will have good days and sad days. I’m so glad we still have Bosco here to make the house seem less empty. I’m grateful that we live in a time where we have been able to capture so many images and videos.
Looking at the photo below, all of the dogs are older now. This was taken at the home all our children grew up in and we have moved house twice since then, three new grand-children have been born – along with so many other events and milestones.
The shorter life span of dogs does seem to accentuate how precious our time here is and how fast it goes. So blessed to have shared some of it with our lovely boy.