Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
And yes, as you see, he does have two ears!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
So it's good to see all my pals on here - shout out to Uba since he was my kennel-neighbor when we were in what my foster mom calls "custody" and I call "that other place."
Things are looking up since I got to California. I went to live with some nice ladies and a bunch of dogs and they had all these crazy things they kept giving me, and I didn't know what they were or why I was getting them. It's funny now that I know that these things are called "toys" and "dog beds" and that there's a big supply of both of them for me. The dog beds were really strange to me and I used to try to eat them and then lay next to them, but one day I realized that you can sleep on top of them. That was a good discovery! It's definitely nicer to nap on them than it is to use them as chew toys.
So anyway, I'm learning lots of new things - most especially what it means to live in a house. I definitely like the house a lot better than other places I've lived, and now that I know how to use a dog bed the house is even better!
I did have one strange day where I went in for a "neuter" - I'm glad I didn't know what that was at the time, but I'm cool with it now. The best part other than all the attention from the vet staff was the awesome cone they put on my head - I think I rocked that accessory, and the great thing about it was that you can run around with it and whack it into things and it makes some awesomely loud crashing noises.
I kind of miss my cone, actually. Here's a picture of me rocking the cone look - I think it looks kind of cool. So for every dog out there who hates the cone, I'm telling you - try whacking it into things and picking up toys with it. You can make your own game!
That's about it for now. Thanks to everyone who sent nice notes when I was in the newspaper and on TV. I only wish they'd let me wear this cool cone for the press conference, because that would have been a BLAST!
I am soooooo liking my new digs here in California!
Something tells me that there must have been a Bully goD watching over me and my pit bull pals from Virginia. We’ve all been through a lot…most of which, I, (actually, we) don’t care to ever think about again. I don’t even want to contaminate my brain thinking about stuff like that. Life was really rough for a long while there at “home” (not that I could actually call that creepy place on Moonlight Road a “home” by any stretch of the imagination). And then, we were in "custody" for what seemed like forever and ever and ever. Not exactly how I would have wished to spend my younger days.
But hey, I’m not one to dwell on the past. And thanks to some really awesome people out there who totally believe that pit bulls deserve so much better, my buddies and I headed out west for a brand new start… Yay!
I’m so excited that I can hardly stop wiggling and wagging!!! I finally get to learn what it feels like to be a family dog now; a cherished companion even...No more school of hard knocks for me and my friends….Woof!
And guess what?! I have my very own human boy, Eddy, to pal around with.
I also have a really cool canine sister named Maxine (a fellow pit mix) that I get to run around and do zoomies with, wrestle, play, and snuggle with. She makes a really comfy pillow to rest my head on when I’m tired. And, best of all, my mom says that I always make her smile! It doesn’t really get much better than that…
More about me later…but, for now, I’m really hoping that the Bully goD watches out for other equally deserving pit bulls out there.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
It was nice to be out in the sun, to smell grass, chase birds, and play with other doggies. It was nice to have a hand from good people to pet me. It was very strange, as good hands were foreign to me, but I sure did like it. I hope I get more. It was a long time spent in a cell. What my people tell me, it was over six months, whatever months are. I was lucky, because I am very strong, but some of my buddies had a very hard time in doggie jail. We are all different, and some of us need different types of care. Being locked up for that long changes you. But since being out, we are all bouncing back, getting our strength back slowly, shaking off the wrongs done to us, and wagging.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
'Dogs encourage us humans to become humane' - Jo Winter
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
To me, Clipper looks so much like Tintin's dog, Milou - called Snowy in England. His ears don't stick up but he has that look - probably because he hasn't yet got full pigmentation around his eyes. If you don't know Hergé's famous Tintin stories, do click on the link.
At last we have sun again after a week of rain. Goodness knows the garden needed it, although rain and a pile of muddy dogs don’t make for a clean house. Milou’s rose, however – he’s buried under a rose called Pearl Drift – needed rain to break into leaf, and it is doing just that. So perhaps I’d better stop complaining.
It’s nearly three years since Milou was put to sleep. The dreaded deed can be done properly and kindly or very badly. It’s always something we don’t want to think about but thank goodness we can help our dogs on their way to a peaceful end with no more suffering. But it must be done properly.
The veterinarian who put Milou to sleep made a botch of it. I’ve not written about the way it happened till now because it was too painful and it made me upset and angry just to think about it. Read this and remember. Don’t go thru what I did and more to the point, what Milou did. When we put a dog to sleep, we shouldn’t have to be worrying about ‘how’ it is done (that’s the veterinarian’s job) – it’s bad enough just going thru it but I learned a lesson on the day Milou went to doggy heaven. Even when we are desperately upset, we have to take responsibility.
I’d taken him down to the vet that morning following a dreadful night. I knew it was his time without asking the vet but she x-rayed him and confirmed that the tumours in his lungs had multiplied. Mindful of the night before, when he’d been gasping for breath, I had no intention of letting him go through another night. I’d had him up on the bed with me trying to soothe him so he could breathe more easily. So I was prepared for what had to happen and had put several small biscuits in my handbag. [I’ve always fed my dogs their favourite treat when it’s time for the needle to go in. That way they are so occupied with eating they are not watching what the vet is about to do. Of course sometimes a dog is too sick to eat but if not, I’ve found this to be a helpful and distracting thing to do.]
It’s always difficult to choose the right day to put a dog to sleep. Ideally it’s before pain gets too much but not too soon. If in doubt, look in your dog’s eyes. He’ll often tell you. Indeed, sometimes – not always - when a dog is really ready to go, he’ll get a film over his eyes as if he’s blanking out the world in advance.
And although it’s not easy, we owe it to our dog to be there with him at that final moment. Some people simply can’t face it but if you can, your dog will leave this world in the arms of the person he loves most - you. Let him think this is no more than the usual yearly jab – or at worst, the taking of a blood test.
The decision was made. ‘Put him on the table, Jilly,’ my vet said. I lifted him up, cuddling him, crying. Milou was the dog of my life. I’ve had many wonderful dogs but had never had a relationship with a dog as I did with this wonderful American cocker spaniel. My handbag was already on the table and he could smell the biscuits. He’d always had a wonderful ‘nose’ and whenever Candy, my best friend in America, sent him tennis balls, he could smell them before I'd removed the wrapping paper, let alone opened the box.
I gave Milou half a biscuit, which disappeared in a trice. Then another half. Then another half. The vet seemed to be taking a long time with the needle. I looked up. She was standing there, ready, needle in hand. ‘What are you waiting for?’ I asked. ‘I’m waiting for him to stop eating,’ she said. I’d explained to her earlier that this is the way I like my dogs to go – distracted by food and doing what they enjoy most – eating. ‘It doesn’t seem right that he should be eating when he dies,’ she said.Of course, I should have insisted but I was totally choked up. I couldn’t argue with her. I shut my bag and put it on the floor. ‘Hold on to him,’ she said. I held him and she put a tourniquet round the top of his leg. He immediately started struggling, fighting, desperate to get off the table. It took all my strength to hold him. Probably, looking back, the tourniquet was far too tight. Was a tourniquet even necessary? ‘Hold him tighter,’ she said. I wanted to yell, ‘Stop, you can’t kill a dog like this – it should be a gentle easy passing – there shouldn’t be a struggle. He deserves better than this.’ And then I thought – all in a split second of course - ‘But he’s got to go and I’m just being stupid.’ And all the time, sobbing, sobbing. One of Milou’s legs had come off the table in his desperate attempt to get away. I got it back and held him as tightly as I could. Eventually, and it seemed like minutes but of course it wasn’t, she managed to get the needle into his leg – I manoeuvred myself around, whilst holding him and the last image I had of my darling Milou was his face, eyes wide and staring, scared and fighting - fighting so hard, for this not to happen. And then he collapsed. I’ll never forget the terrified look in his eyes. Then she put the chemical into the vein to stop the heart, took my money and I brought him home to bury him on the hillside above the house. And today his rose is about to burst into leaf.
But I couldn’t forget the fear in his eyes. My darling dog deserved to go gently into that good night, not with terror as he did. Of course, I’ve re-lived it a million times. I should have brought him home, let him relax for a while, fed him something he loved. Then later, given him sedatives before taking him back to the vet when he’d have been too sleepy to know anything. Or I should have got the vet up here and made her do it gently, allowed me feed the biscuits. But most of all I should have stopped it that day. I was appalled at myself although I’d never had a ‘bad’ death before and just hadn’t allowed for such a possibility. I wasn’t prepared and so didn’t stop it – couldn’t get beyond my emotion. I can’t forgive myself for not stopping the fiasco. He deserved better, my kind, beautiful Milou.Two days later, and still distraught, I went back to the vet to ask her why she’d allowed this to happen – why she’d let him suffer so much in his last minutes. She said, ‘You are a dog person, Jilly, with years of experience and so I didn’t think it would have bothered you.’ She was plainly amazed that two days later I was still so utterly distressed. Good God in heaven! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I told her that had this been someone else’s dog (in other words had I not been emotionally involved) I’d have stopped the process immediately until the dog was calm – then we’d have started again but with Milou, I was too upset to even speak. To be fair to her, she then told me that she'd seen I was upset and just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. It wasn’t right though; it wasn’t the way it should have happened. I don’t think she’ll put another dog or owner through a death like that in a hurry. At least I hope not.
She sent me a note of apology a week or so later. Too late - too late.Obviously, she didn’t intend for this to happen - any more than I did. She should though, with her experience, have done it properly. I’m not sure I’ve forgiven her but the anger has gone. Milou, who was the kindest dog in the world, has doubtless forgiven me long ago. He loved me too much – and me him. I haven’t yet forgiven myself though and certainly I can’t bring myself to go back to that particular vet even though it’s convenient as she is far nearer to me than the vet I use now. I never will go back to her.
Of course it was the vet’s fault. Not mine. We should all be able to trust our veterinarian to do things properly and kindly. But I wish I’d stopped it and I didn’t. My advice would be to discuss, in advance, exactly what procedure is used - just to put your mind at rest.Since Milou died, Flavia, my lovely old retired Guide Dog for the Blind, went peacefully and easily on my terrace, thanks to my current vet. She munched carrots, which she adored, as the needle went in and she knew nothing. That’s how it should be done and when it’s like that, you don’t feel terrible. You feel relieved you were able to ease a dog beyond its suffering.
That’s how it’s always been when I’ve had to put a dog to sleep, except with the one dog that meant so much – Milou.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Below you see him standing in the window. He's always happy to see me because I smell of dogs - so he spends the whole of my visit sniffing my jeans, much to the dismay of his owner. I'm used to dogs sniffing my jeans...so no big deal.