I lost my best friend yesterday.

For nearly 17 years, she was my best friend. She went through everything with me. She was there during the worst of the time I had with my ex, and it was her that kept me going. Smudge, the best little dog I have ever owned, left us yesterday.

For the past week, I was concerned, she was not quite herself, although she was eating well, and enjoyed her afternoon walks still. She even was belting around the yard with Jack on Monday afternoon, just like a puppy. It was the little things, the smallest things that I noticed that would be barely perceptible to anyone else.

On Wednesday afternoon, she started to have a bit of trouble with her back legs. Not much, just a bit weak. She was also a little moody. Then, yesterday morning, both Mum and I woke to her crying. She had soiled all over the floor where she slept in one of those little pet pens in the lounge room, she was always an inside dog, she was a Jack Russell Terrier, but when our fog of waking abruptly out of deep sleep at 5am started to lift, we realised she was bent leftwards, she couldn’t straighten out, and she was falling over. Mum picked her up, and she was covered in muck, so she took her in to give her a wash, while I cleaned up the rest of the mess.

After her wash, she sat with mum for an hour, and went to sleep, but she was ever so compliant, not at all like the feisty little dog she has always been. We knew that things weren’t right. Once I had cleaned everything up, and got her bedding clean and into the dryer, She woke, and mum, needing to go to the loo, put her down, and she was still the same, bent and not able to stand. She was obviously distressed about it, so I picked her up, and cuddled her, which made her calm and relaxed again. When jack got up, I had a quiet word with him about it, before he came out of bed, and said that it didn’t look good, to prepare him for what might be going to happen. Me and mum, although we hadn’t said anything to each other, had already thought that this was the end.

Once it was time for the Vet to open, we went down, and took her. I knew that was going to be the last drive in the car. The vet looked her over, and without a second thought, told us what we had suspected, she had had a stroke. We are not the type of people to make an animal suffer for our own selfish reasons. The vet told us that it was highly unlikely that she would probably last the day out. You never want to make the decision, but we had to. Jack and I went out to the reception while the procedure was done, and then we went back in when it was all over. I’m crying as I write this still. I wanted to write yesterday, but just couldn’t.

Smudge had an amazing life. She had lived in four states, Western Australia, where she was born, New South Wales, Victoria, and finally, in her last couple of months, Queensland. She had travelled from one side of Australia to the other on more than one occasion, and from top to bottom and back again. She had flown on planes, rode on trains, had a ride in a semi trailer truck, and countless road trips in the car. She had numerous doggy friends, but only ever took to the immediate human family, and up until Jack, didn’t like kids, the result of some nasty little shits when she was a puppy.

When she first met Jack, when Jack was only 3 months old, and she was 9, I was apprehensive as to how she would react, but she took ownership of him, and every moment they were together, she was right there by his side. When he went to school, she would look for him, and when it was time for me to pick him up, she knew he was going to come back with me, and her excitement at the prospect of him coming home was obvious.

We are now without a pet, but Smudge was more than that. She was my best friend. We knew the time was coming, we were fearful that she wasn’t going to make it to our new home, but she did, and she handled the trip well. 17 is a long time for a dog to live. In dog years, she was a very old lady indeed. She was loved, and also she loved us. She wasn’t a pet, she was a member of the family. Although the events of yesterday are fresh in the mind, it is the memories of all the joyous moments that are coming into my mind. She most certainly was the most amazing little dog I have ever known. I dare say, that I may not even be here if it wasn’t for her. She protected me at times when I needed protection. She gave me comfort when I needed comforting. It will be hard for any other dog to stack up to her.

Rest in Peace my little Smudgee, you will ALWAYS be in my heart.

Andy.

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