I had every intention of asking Coops to write another blog post for me today given how successful his first one was, but the last few days have made me realise that there is another pet I would like to write about even more. I wasn’t decided on the matter until later this afternoon as I wasn’t sure I would be able to write this at all, let alone without the risk of breaking down which I almost certainly will at some point as I write. Still, here goes… (by the way you can relax, no one has died! I wouldn’t be able to write this at all if they had…)
This is Newton
We rescued Newton from our local Blue Cross around 9 years ago when he was about 2 years old. He had come over from Ireland and had not been treated all that well, and despite being almost the opposite of what we were looking for (our other dog Piper was our first proper short/sleek coated dog and Mum vowed that she would have that kind of dog from then on) we fell in love with him and took him home. At the time he was called Charlie, but as our family always tends to go with more unusual names, my brother James came up with Newton “on account of his low centre of gravity” (he has very short legs) and thus he was named.
For the past 9 years Newton has provided me with so much joy it makes my heart burst. In many ways he’s a ridiculous dog: he is big in body but short of leg, and he has a big bark yet is unable to be in the same room as a large fly. He is often compared to Eeyore in the way he droops his head and looks all meek. We always say he doesn’t like to complain, being so humble and thankful for his lot, but at the same time we joke that every new thing is like a death knell. Buy him a new bed? It’s an execution mat. Take him for a walk in a different car? It must be time to go back to the kennels. He can’t handle change.
But for that very reason he is loyal beyond measure. He misses you when you are gone. If you are out on a walk with him, he becomes uncomfortable if his pack splits up and will not be happy until everyone is together, and you can tell when he’s happy because he has the jauntiest walk you will ever see. In his youth we also called him the JYC (Jaunty Young Chap). When he runs down the hill to my parents’ house, his tail whirls round in a circle as his little legs bounce up and down unevenly. He grins and huffs in a cheerful way and looks up at you and smiles while he walks along beside you.
To me he is the handsomest, most wonderful creature in the world.
Today he had to have his right eye removed because of a tumour. Mum broke the news of his condition to me last Thursday and said that they would probably remove the eye and hopefully not find any other tumours. Otherwise if their X-rays showed that it had spread, they would leave the eye and we would move to palliative care as needed.
I was devastated. I still am. I hated having the loss of the eye as the best case scenario. I’ve met dogs with one eye, and whilst it’s sad to see, it’s clear that they get on absolutely fine so I had no major problem with it, but if I had been told he’d injured it or something and had to have it removed, it would have been a lot easier. To have to almost hope for it, or know that it could just be the tip of the ice berg, the beginning of the end of his life… I’ve been a wreck whenever I’ve had a moment to think about it.
The wonderful, wave-of-relief-good-news (and the reason I am able to write this) is that it appears benign and the vet was unable to see anything else on the X-rays, so it looks as though there is nothing else wrong with him (aside from age related ailments of course). He’s at home resting and the hope is that he’ll heal well over the next few weeks.
I’ve not really had time to process it all yet as I’ve had to spend almost every waking hour today at my desk. I left work briefly to pick him up from the vets this afternoon with mum and obviously he looked a wreck, but he still wagged his tail when he saw us while I did my best not to fall to pieces. But it’s only now, writing this that I’ve had a chance to think about it at all, which is no doubt why it’s taken me over an hour to write. Obviously I’m overjoyed that it’s over and he’s ok and that they didn’t find anything else but there’s still the childish, selfish part of me that feels ‘Why him? He didn’t deserve this’. It just feels so unfair and I feel so sorry for him even though I know he’ll be fine.
He’ll no doubt cope with it better than I will, because he doesn’t like to complain.
Thanks to Ems for letting me steal these pics of him from Instagram.