Monday, 12 May 2014

My friend Tickle

Tickle came into my life in early 2007, a young collie x girl who had narrowly escaped death in Ireland.

She was owned by a family who had got her as a puppy for their daughter. Unfortunately, the daughter soon lost interest and Tickle was dumped in the backyard. She was never walked and got little attention - other than from the next door neighbour, a lovely lady who felt very sorry for Tickle. She used to talk to Tickle over the fence; give her titbits.

One day, this lovely lady popped her head over the fence and saw that Tickle was missing. "She's run away," said her owners.  When Tickle didn't reappear, this kind person went looking for her and found her in the local pound - one with a terrible reputation. Few got out alive.

"Oh, her owners are going to be so pleased!" she told them.

"I don't think so," said the pound. "They surrendered her here yesterday".

And then this incredibly kind woman paid the release fee, got Tickle out and found her a space with the wonderful West Cork Animal Rescue, who contacted the rescue I had just started running here in the UK.

This is Tickle the day she arrived with us on Feburary 20th 2007. A pretty, timid girlie.

She grew in confidence hugely over the next 10 days or so and we found what we hoped would be the perfect home for her - a young family from Somerset who came to see her and fell in love. As I put her into their car, I warned them: "She is a bit of an escape artist... please be careful getting in and out of cars/opening doors etc, particularly to begin with."

Four hours later I got a call to say she had run away.  Lulled into a false sense of security because Tickle had sat quietly on their lap all the way home, they didn't have hold of her when they parked up outside their house and opened the car door. Tickle had simply been biding her time, waiting for the opportunity. She leapt from the back seat, out through the driver's door and legged it. She was now loose, panicked, in Misdomer Norton, a town through which lorries thundered.

I leapt in the car with Boz, my retriever x boy who she loved, and drove the three hours down there. I caught a single glimpse of her and called her name. But by now she was terrified. She was too far away to realise it was me and she turned and ran.

I walked until it was dark, then drove home in tears.

The next day, a Thursday, she was spotted four miles away, thankfully in a more rural area. I drove down again, put up posters, talked to someone who had spotted her, but she was nowhere to be seen.

The next three days, we were filming at Cruft's in Birmingham for the film that became Pedigree Dogs Exposed. It was agony knowing she was still on the run.  But then on the Sunday morning there was a call. Tickle had been spotted back in Midsomer Norton late the previous night outside the fish and chip shop. She'd taken some food off someone who recognised her from the posters, but ran off when they tried to grab her, very nearly under the wheels of a big truck.  Then later, she'd been spotted outside her new family's house, from where she'd gone missing. As soon as they called her, though, she ran off again.

I had no choice but to stay at Crufts to film Best in Show on the Sunday evening. We left as soon as possible afterwards and drove home to drop off the kit. I then jumped back into the car and drove down to Somerset. I took her friend Boz with me and arrived about 1am. I parked up outside the house where her new family lived and took the advice of an expert who had advised to sprinkle my pee round the car and just wait.  I don't think I've ever felt so ridiculous but I did as instructed, then opened the boot of the car, got in the back with Boz, wrapped myself up in a warm duvet and settled down for what I thought would be a long and probably fruitless night. By then, I wasn't even sure if I had much of a connection with her. After all, she'd only been with us 10 days and had been missing for five.

But it turns out that Tickle had been waiting for me. I saw a shadow come round the back of the car. I held my breath. Then she appeared.

"Tickle?" I whispered and she jumped into the car, rolling all over me and Boz and squealing with delight. I hugged her and cried with relief.

The noise had woken up her new family. We went in for a warming cup of coffee. I sat on the floor and an exhausted Tickle fell asleep on my legs. After a while they said: "Well thank you very much... we'll let you know how she gets on."

I looked at Tickle and then back at them. "I'm sorry," I told them. "But she's coming home with me."

I got home just before dawn. As I walked down the side of the house, Jon poked his head out of the bedroom window and said simply: "She's earned her place here."

And here she stayed, part of the team of assorted waifs and strays.

Tickle proved to be a fun and easy companion - always happy to settle at my side or at my feet in the house, but also the first to tell me it was time to get up, or go for a walk or time for tea.  She loved Salisbury Plain - somewhere we go every day, rain or shine. It is an amazing, quiet, big-sky place with expanses of grassland, copses and deep pools of water for swimming and diving.

Lots of diving.

She was very proud the day she caught this rabbit and brought it back to me. 

Not long after she came back to us, Tickle  ran over a jetty on the bank of fast-running river, dropped a leg between one of the slats and screamed. She was on the opposite bank from Jon and me and she sat there holding the leg up, crying for help. There was no bridge for a quarter of a mile. Jon offered to run round, but she suddenly slid into the river and swam across the strong current holding her injured leg above the water. Jon hauled her out, carried the sodden Tickle in his arms and we drove to the vets.

As soon as we got there, Tickle stopped crying. She was completely silent as the vet nurse manipulated her leg and said she didn't think it was broken. "Come back tomorrow if she's no better," she said. But as soon as we left, she started to whimper again. We took her back. An x-ray revealed the fracture. That was my Tickle. Strangers were not permitted to see any weakness.

She was a nightmare patient; hated the splint, and broke several of them. Eventually we found a neat solution - a cut-down child's welly wedged on the end of it. She loved the Hotterdog fleece she's wearing in this picture - worn because she had to have a mild tranquilliser to keep her a bit calmer- one that reduces body temperature a bit. Well, that was our excuse.

I am not entirely sure why she's wearing it in this one, though.

And probably the less said about the elf hat, the better.

For seven years, Tickle has been at my side, her ears always attuned to the slightest clink of the car keys. She demanded to come everywhere with me and she'd curl up on the front seat of the car besides me. When the weather permitted, she was happy to sit in the car for hours waiting for me.

When it wasn't possible for her to come with me, she'd sneak upstairs and lie on the bed in the spare room waiting for me to return. She was rarely very affectionate with anyone else, never felt the need to impress strangers... but she did love a cuddle with my Jon...

Not always displaying the greatest modesty...

Tickle was brilliant with the many dogs that have come through here as fosters - reassuring and playful with the pups; sharp with older ones that overstepped the mark.

She hated my flatcoat Maisie, though,  and the two had the occasional scrap. Tickle looked unashamedly thrilled when we lost Maisie to cancer in 2012. Tickle was one of the smallest here but became the matriarch; even our Big Jake minded his Ps and Qs with her.

She has also been my rescue's "stooge" dog - coming with me to assess many a dog over the years. She always got it exactly right; able to walk into just about any situation, her reaction always telling me so much about the other dog.  And she was also always with me on middle-of-the-night mercy dashes - an enormously calming influence on a new, stressed dog.

One morning a month ago, I noticed a swelling on the left side of Tickle's mouth. I thought she'd been stung and gave her an anti-histamine. But it didn't go down. The oedema began to spread until my pretty girl's head was distorted into a puffy balloon. The vets were puzzled - particularly as she was clearly so well in herself - exercising, swimming, playing and eating normally. Her bloods were normal too. This is Tickle last Sunday, with the gang on Salisbury Plain. Other than the oedema on her face, you wouldn't think there was  anything wrong.

Tickle is vet-phobic - she never got over that visit with her broken leg - so I have taken the conservative route. First antihistamine; then a diuretic; then antibiotics and finally, three days ago, steroids.

On Friday night, although she seemed comfortable, she was breathing faster. I put it down to the steroids but that was when I began to feel the first knot of worry in my gut. I lay awake listening to her breathing.

Yesterday late morning, we went for a long walk on Salisbury Plain - as we do every day. She ran and swam and leapt into the water after biscuits - a favourite game. But as the walk progressed she began to gag in an attempt to clear her throat. It got more frequent. It didn't seem to bother her much, but I called our vet Edward and drove to the surgery.

It was time to x-ray her chest. Tickle didn't want to go in and once through the door kept making eye contact with me, begging to leave. I so wished I could have done because I knew she was in trouble and I would so loved to have just turned round and taken her home.

But I couldn't. And she trusted me. So she followed me into the prep room (it was out of hours and Edward knows me well). She was quiet and learned into me  as Edward slipped a needle into her leg to sedate her for the x-ray. After a few moments, she slumped into my arms.

The first x-ray showed some lung oedema, but nothing remarkable - until Edward spotted that it looked like her heart was pushed up from its usual place. Two more x-rays - including a dorsal view - confirmed it. There was a large mass that had pushed her heart over to the right side of her chest.

Now it could have been benign - and I will always be a bit haunted by the thought that it was. After all, she seemed so well in herself. But I simply couldn't put Tickle, who hated the vet so much and was always bereft if she wasn't with me, through such a huge op without better odds.

She was already asleep. And so I kissed her head and let her go.

Today every cell in my body is heavy with loss - the horrible, pitting grief that all of us who love dogs know so well.  I hate that she isn't at my feet; hate that there was one less dog bowl in the line-up this morning; hate that when I went down to the Plain this afternoon, she wasn't on the front seat beside me.

But I know this will pass. And then I will take comfort from the fact that Tickle lived her life as a dog should.  She ran and swam and played and barked and was loved unencumbered by a flat face, or an overlong back, or wrinkles or hopelessly-short legs.

Tickle was still wet and muddy from the Plain when she died. I don't think you can ask for much more.

Other than a few more years.

Related post: And Tickle came home


  1. Oh Jemima, my heart goes out to you. I am so very sorry for your loss. She sounded like quite a character and obviously very well loved. You made the heart rending decision that was and is as always, in her best interests.Try not to let the doubts haunt you, as for a vet phobic dog, anything else would have been torture for her. It's the quality of her life and the love in your heart that keeps you strong. Emma

    1. Completely agree...I had a similar situation with my darling broke my heart again reading this.

    2. I'm so sorry fot your loss. I am heartbroken for you. Hardest thing a persn has to do is let them go. RIP TICKLES. GOD BLESS YOU. GOD BLESS YOU FOR GIVING HER A WONDERFUL LIVE

  2. My heart breaks for you x What a lucky girl to have experienced such a wonderful life.

  3. What a lovely tribute to a beautiful girl! My heart aches for you.

  4. So sorry Jemima. They break our hearts, but show us the pain of love is worth enduring again and again, for them and us.


  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope the good times you shared will bring you solace.

  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like Tickle had a wonderful and full life with you.

  7. A wonderful sad story about love, fate, and great kindness. Tickle was very lucky to have met you. Condolences to you and Jon for your loss. Tickle, you done good!

  8. So sorry for you, I lost my 13 year old best friend in March had him since a pup they take a piece of your heart with them may be its the price we pay to have had their unconditional love. Xx

  9. It is such a hard thing, to say goodbye to our lovely dogs. She had a wonderful life with you, which is the greatest gift you can give them.

  10. "Tickle was still wet and muddy from the Plain when she died. I don't think you can ask for much more."

    My eyes were filled with tears by the end.

    Here's to a life well-lived. Strength and love to you Jemima in the coming days and months. I know you will miss your precious and exceptional girl. She could not have asked for a better owner.


  11. Thank you for sharing this. What a fantastic girl she was. You were both lucky to have found each other.

    I am sharing your grief. The tears are streaming down my face. Know how hard it is for you and the pain you must feel. Having had a vet phobic dog I know how hard it is. You did the right thing for Tickle but like me with Ben you will beat yourself up.

    Tickle is now at the bridge and hopefully will give you a sign that she is watching over you. I know that you want her physically here with you and not leaving signs but it is not to be. If you lose a dog at 1 or 21 it's still not long enough.

    Thinking of you and sending hugs.

    Run free at the bridge Tickle ����

  12. I'm sorry for the loss. Tickle sounded like an amazing dog.

  13. What a beautiful memorial for a true and loyal companion. She was wise to recognize her proper family when she met you, and it's a joy (a sad one) to get a glimpse of her joyful life. Reading this, I know I guaranteed my family the same grief in the future by bringing home a scraggly, skinny, smelly waif. He curled up right in the middle of our lives. He's so strong now, but still so vulnerable. He is living a good life, but his hours with us slip by so fast. We will lose him too soon. I know it's worth it, but the dread does creep in. You gave your girl the life and death she deserved. I'm sorry you lost her too soon.

  14. Jemima, your dedication and love for all dogs is truly inspirational. I am so sorry for your loss. Tickle was such a lucky girl to have found her way into your life. Doesn't make the devastation easier to bear, but this too will pass.....

    Your post has also reinforced the idea that we should always consider adopting before buying a puppy. There are so many other dogs out there like Tickle who just need a second chance to show how wonderful they are....

  15. What a beautiful tribute to a gorgeous dog. She had such a great life with you after the horrible start she had and I can only imagine the pain you feel at her loss. My dogs are my world and as anyone who has ever shared their life with a dog knows, they are every bit as much family as the human kind.

  16. Everyone reads the X sign wrong, its not cross, its a multiplication sign and it means they're at least twice as good. So remember when you see the X with a dog or a rescue you're getting twice the dog, so very sorry Tickle sounded wonderful.Hug your dogs a bit closer today.

  17. So sorry for your loss,you have lovely memories of a beautiful girl.

  18. How wonderful Jem that you let her go just at the right moment...the moment she still had wonderful thoughts of her last walk with you xx bless you on your sad loss love Sallie

  19. So sorry. We always want more years with our best friends but you gave her a lovely life and made the right decision for her at the end. x

  20. My heart breaks for you. I cried when I read your post. She was a beautiful dog and you gave her a wonderful life. Thoughts and prayers are with you and Jon. God Bless!

  21. Such a heartbreakingly beautiful tribute for an amazing girl. Tickle was a very lucky girl indeed to find her way into your home and heart, as are all the dogs you give a second chance to. The world is a better place for dogs because of your tireless devotion and dedication to your work Jemima. So sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you and Jon..


  22. So sorry for your loss, we know truly what it is to lose such a loyal friend. We’re sure Tickle was so well loved and loving to both you and Jon.
    We know there is nothing we can say, no platitude to give, and no sympathy expressed that can make this easier for you. Just know that you are in our hearts and you have our utmost respect for the devotion and love you showed your wonderful girl.

    Our deepest and most heartfelt best wishes to you both.
    Si & Jen

  23. Tears are running down my face. I am so sorry for your loss. Tickle died being surrounded by love and you were so unselfish to make that final heart-rending decision. I lost my girl last August, two weeks short of 14 years, so I know that deep sense of loss. It's true - the measure of your pain is the measure of your love. xxx

  24. A beautiful post by a loving owner, about a very lucky dog.
    Been there, done that. I am sorry for your loss.

  25. A heartbreaking tribute -thank you for sharing it!
    My deepest sympathies on your loss :-(

  26. My dog has been gone for four years now. Still, I see dreams where we go for a walk with her every week, sometimes several nights of the week. She was my first dog and my only dog for six years. We were so close. We traveled around Europe - she was a great travelling companion.
    She was a mean bitch, hated other people, hated other dogs.. but when we were traveling, when we sat in a bus, train or in a ship she would not bark or growl at other people or dogs. She knew what was up. At times she looked into my eyes and I nodded, and she kept being calm, eventually enjoying the ride.

    I'm getting a new dog right now and the dreams about her have gone up tenfold! They are very nice dreams but I still feel it - how no one else will ever be her. The hole will never heal, I'm afraid but I have such good memories that I don't mind. And I hope I'll make many new ones with this new puppy.

    I'm literally weeping here haha :')
    But now, a toast for all our loved ones who have left this world! And toast for the living - may they live for many more years with us!

  27. Such a lovely tribute to beautiful Tickle x

  28. I am crying now as I lost my lovely Jenny just six weeks ago today. I too got her from someone else who did not treat her well and was happy to have such a happy soul with me. Always there, always by my side, doing car boots, when I fostered for the local refuge - always reassuring the others that I was the person they should stay with for a short time - how I miss her and always will. For me she was perfect - a little soul with such a large heart - my best dog ever. So I know how you feel

  29. Sad when they pass on. My dog Freddy died with a tumer on his heart not knowing he had it. Part of it broke off and blocked his air. He was found dead on my bedroom floor. So sad that is what the vet found out hiw Freddy died. So sad I still miss him everyday. Loved reading your story best of luck.

  30. RIP Tickle :(
    Sorry for your loss Jemima and Jon

  31. What a beautiful tribute to a well-loved dog. So sorry for your loss.

  32. Tickle was very lucky to have 2 humans that care and loved her so much. Sorry for your loss but please know that she knew how much you cared for her. :'(

  33. Beautiful........ made me cry ♡

  34. A beautiful tribute to a wonderful dog. It must have been such a difficult decision, to let go. Keeping you in my thoughts, and wishing you strength in the difficult time ahead.

  35. Beautiful tribute for a lovely dog. Bless you both. x

  36. So true to say that you are constantly striving to do the best for all dogs, Jem. Just another example where you've been absolutely selfless in trying to provide welfare for dogs.

    May dog breeders everywhere understand the underlying kindness in your actions.

  37. Jem, What a beautifully written tribute to your best friend. I'm in tears as I write this. I'm so very sorry for your loss. You gave her the best home, love and care any dog could possibly wish for and she will always remain forever in your heart. xxx

  38. Gillian Taggart12 May 2014 at 16:45

    She will always be beside you.

  39. What a treasure she was! Your tribute to Tickle has me in tears. I'm sure she is still at your side on all your life adventures and tasks.

  40. Jemima What wonderful life you gave to Tickle and individual consideration to the unique personality of this Collie. Joy did fill my heart to see once again the Black and Tan Collie this memorial. Due to selective breeding for show ring conformation standards the pigmentation was seemingly lost. Most Collie Breeders today never knew it ever existed. Thank you for sharing this True Memorial not only to Tickle but forgotten beautiful pigmentation.

  41. I can't begin to tell you how sad I am for you. We went through similar experience a year ago withour beautiful boy - an 8 yrs old fluffy bear of a dog, black lab x collie. Faithful and loving to the end. He had a ruptured spleen and when they ex-rayed him a tumour the sixe of a melon that had gone undetected, and up to 20 hrs before being pts, he was jumping and playing in the field with us as usual. It's heart-wrenching, but yes, time helps, but he's always there. Thinking of you. Gill Xx


  43. I cannot add much more that hasn't been said already - so will just offer my own condolences and tears. What a beautiful girlie.

  44. Beautiful tribute, sending you love .How lovely to have had such a strong and wonderful bond with Tickle , a very lucky dog to have found you .Beautiful memories that will stay with you forever xx

  45. Bless you, you gave Tickle an amazing life, and I'm so sorry that you lost her too soon x You must be proud, and thankful of what she brought to your life, and yours to hers. I know time heals but we never replace a part of our heart with their loss. All the best to you.

  46. What a lovely tribute.

  47. Lucky Tickle, lucky Jem, to have found one another! Do not grieve, you will never lose her. She never lost you.

    Bodil Carlsson

  48. I cannot add any more to the posts above. Beautiful tribute and moved me to tears so sorry Jemima.

  49. What a beautiful story. Made me cry. My heart goes out to you. Keep your happy memories of tickle with you x

  50. 7/8 no age for a dog

    1. The age of the dog was not mentioned here, only that she arrived to Jemima at as an adult and they spent 7 years together.

  51. If it should be, that I grow frail and weak
    And pain should keep me from my sleep
    Then you must do what must be done
    For this last battle, can’t be won

    You will be sad, I understand
    Don’t let your grief then stay your hand
    For this day, more than the rest
    Your love and friendship stand the test

    We’ve had so many happy years
    What is to come can hold no fears
    You’d not want me to suffer, so,
    When the times comes, please let me go

    Take me where my needs they’ll tend,
    Only, stay with me to the end,
    And hold me firm and speak to me
    Until my eyes no longer see

    Don’t grieve it should be you,
    Who decides this thing to do,
    We’ve been so close, we two, these years,
    Don’t let your heart hold any tears

    Smile, for we walked together
    for a little while

  52. CMYO (crying my eyes out) - a beautiful eulogy that has made us all love Tickle as much as you clearly did. The world is a better place for having had your special relationship in it. So sorry for your loss..

  53. I am so sorry for your loss. We have all been there and it is always hard. I have a 13 y/o oversize n/m Pom that is epileptic (well controlled with meds), incontinent, a mass on his chest and a stye on his eye that seemed a bit larger today. Sigh. But for now he eats and plays hard and seems in no pain.

  54. How beautiful and poignant. I'm so sorry to read this, but at the same time I've delighted that Tickle had the life with you that she did.

    You made the right choice. Don't let it haunt you - although we both know it will. A peaceful end to a glorious life is still a great gift.

  55. Oh what very sad and rotten luck!

    I've lost many in my life time it never gets easier, most touch wood have also had a good long innings.

    I always say that's it I can't take anymore, then another finds its way eventualy into my life to lift the spirits and keep me sane.

  56. That'll do, Tickle. That'll do. Good dog. Always a good dog.

    So sorry for the pain you're going through Jem, but happy that it's your pain to carry and not Tickle's. That's the way we pay them back, we carry that burden and let them be free of it.

  57. What a beautiful dog, and what a beautiful tribute. I'm sorry you lost your good friend.

  58. Rabbit catching, water diving wild retrievery dogs are the best kind.

    So sorry for your loss.

  59. Tickle or Zentar Elizabeth; I know which dog I'd rather be...

  60. Lovely tribute, and I am very sorry for your loss. I must say that she reminds me so much of my Gordon Setter. I have a feeling that beautiful girl was one of those wonderful dogs. I lost him a few years ago and still miss him very much.

  61. thank you for sharing your life with Tickle and Tickle's life with tears were the easy part.

  62. There's nothing more difficult than this. So sorry.

  63. Looks like she had a great life. RIP Tickle

  64. Have to echo all the sympathy expressed above. In choosing a dog my wife looks for a pedigree, but Tickles brings to mind one that chose us. Xen too was a collie, and an escape artist. He introduced himself by sitting at our door, with advanced distemper, howling for help, having escaped a farmer (we heard later) about to cure his disease with a shotgun. In the years that followed he repaid that vet's bill many times over, though still liable to escape for an occasional half-day walkabout. Then in old age arthritis took all the joy from his life: we ended his suffering the only way we could, as you did for Tickles.

    Now we are told that to get the best deal in the after-life we must truly repent our sins. Dunno what he did on his walkabouts, but strongly suspect sin was involved, and his face on return showed anything but repentance. While of course regretting my manifold sins and wickednesses, I can't help feeling nostalgia for some of them, and that ain't true repentance either. Though he's been gone three decades now, I don't write this with lump-free throat; but as neither of our shades will inhabit after-life's posh end, there's hope we'll meet again.

    You and Tickles on the other hand have both shown angelic tendencies, so if it's any consolation you can look forward to a reunion, on the sunny side.

  65. UrbanCollieChick14 May 2014 at 01:25

    I would have loved to have known have a dog just like her. There are no words to console the loss, but her life was wonderful for having been yours, and I'm sure you feel the same of her.

  66. It was sweet story until the end. I'm a bit confused. Maybe it's because I'm not good enough with English. But I've got an impression, that people in Europe and USA have a tradition of rapid pet euthanasia once there is just a threat of serious problems.
    Did I understand correctly, that Tickle started to breath hardly a day (few days) before euthanasia, but she felt ok in tote?
    It's beyond my understanding. If I had a dog I loved very much, I would spent as much time as possible with her/him, until the time I had firm confidence that my dog would ask for euthanasia if s/he could talk.

    1. Because dogs can't talk and because they are so stoical about pain, they can't communicate suffering until it is REALLY bad. Therefore, as guardians we make choices that fit with our personal ethos and philosophy that we can comfortably live with. What you may choose to do in that situation is your own personal choice. Never judge anyone else for sparing their dog pain and suffering because the pain and suffering for choosing to say goodbye to our best friends is a burden we carry for a long time.

      We really should be making decisions in this regard in the best interests of an animal's health and welfare, not for ours.

      In fact, choosing to have a good death as well as a good life is honourable and noble.

    2. Matus, it's not about your time, it's about their time and the quality of it.
      Believe me having a dog put to sleep is never an easy choice and one that if you have any conscience you will play over and over again in your head. I had a dog a couple years ago with a similar illness and took the same judgement and I beat myself with a proverbial stick for missing it until it the growth was so advanced. A few years before losing that dog, I had another with stomach cancer and took the view, were there's still life, there's hope and I regret every day the suffering she went through before I could bring myself to part with her.

    3. I don't separate my interests from my dog's interests in life-and-death question.

      So you think putting down your loved dog when it still has a decent quality of life is ok? You think euthanasia is good decision for PREVENTING suffering?

    4. Of course it is! Dogs lack the rational ability to understand that when they are in pain and are suffering they may or may not get better. They can't mentally time travel. Putting a dog through surgery, possibly chemo when it is vet phobic would be extremely traumatic for everyone involved.

  67. Sounds like a comfortable excuse of not treating a dog. Treating is often painful, and according to you, I shouldn't take my vet-phobic dog for teeth cleaning several times and just let them rot. (or maybe euthanize to prevent tooth-pain?) Sure, dogs often can't connect the pain with relief. But if dog trusts you, it believes that everything you do is good for her/him.

    But it wasn't the question. I don't judge which option is better - treat or not. I'm talking that this dog was put down when it still was ok. Probably, it didn't suffer more than an average bulldog (and it seems that even less). And it could have a little more time to live. For me, euthanasia is an option that ends suffering, that make the life unbearable.

    1. Matus, please educate yourself about dogs a little more before you start ranting on about something so insensitive. Every situation is different....

      You are making a lot of assumptions and anthropomorphising a great deal here which simply refelects your lack of true understanding of the situation and the inner world of the dog. They are canine, they are not like us. The pre-frontal cortex is 1/3 the size of ours. They are irrational, amoral and can not comprehend 'But if dog trusts you, it believes that everything you do is good for her/him'.

      I couldn't live with myself putting my dog through surgery, possibly horrendous chemo with no real ods of recovery when it was vet phobic. I would be being deliberately cruel. This isn't about length of life, it's quality of life.

      No - you shouldn't take your vet phobic dog for teeth cleaning. You could use de-sensitisation and classical conditioning to associate you cleaning it's teeth with good things happening to it. It's a gold mine - I use it for lots of things for my dog. Including body handling ( paws examined/toe nails clipped - chicken!). It's how dogs learn....

  68. That's enough now, Matus, please.

  69. What a wonderful tribute to Tickle. She was meant to be with you and what a super life you have given her.
    I read this on the day my dog has been diagnosed with Lymphoma, we plan some quality time together.

  70. She had a good life, and died before it got so bad that she couldn't play anymore. You gave her all those years of life, of fun. You gave her a place in your home and heart. You saved her from a long painful end.

  71. Jemima, Thanks for writing about Tickle. We have just lost our German Shepherd cross today to cancer. He went in for a biopsy today, after the vet found two lumps in his liver 3 weeks ago, but they found this afternoon that his cancer had spread and he had bled into his stomach. The vet said he should be gently released since he was already under anaesthesia,, they felt he had no chance of recovery. We had rescued him 7 years ago, and he was about 10 year old today. It is very sudden, bad news for us, we had no advance warning signs till he collapsed 3 weeks ago, that was when we rushed him to the vet's, but we were abruptly jolted with this bad news at the operation table and were forced to let him go just like that. It is a huge, mean blow and a big shock to us. Our dog has been a big part of our family, going everywhere with us, we will keep him at home today before we bury him tomorrow.

    Rest in peace, Marco. God keep you safe till our time is up, and we will be reunited again, never to part anymore. We love you very,very much.