Tuesday, 17 November 2009

ABC Wednesday Round 3 R is for . . .

Rainbow Bridge . . . and Relief . . . and Remembrance . . . and Reminiscence

I'm not superstitious but last Friday 13th developed into a bad, sad day.

Our Gentle Dominie took her last trip to the vet. For several months she had been unable to walk unaided but seemed otherwise happy, alert, involved in everything around her. For some time she had rear wheels to assist her hind legs when we went out. When she could no longer control those we put her in a 'DoggyRide' so that she could accompany us to the forest. She would walk for ten or fifteen minutes, helped along with a hand under the back of her harness, then ride for the rest of the time. Back at the car she would walk again for a few minutes, catching up on peemails and poohmails. She greeted visitors vociferously and made her wishes known. When she whined she was telling us she was hungry, thirsty, wanted to turn round, needed to relieve herself or simply wanted to give and receive affection. During the last couple of weeks she cried more frequently and insistently in the daytime needing more lifting and turning. She didn't seem able to get comfortable though she slept more soundly at night.

In the past we have always found the advent of a new puppy – or baby – or kitten – has sparked interest in our elderly companions, both animal and human. We hoped Gus's arrival would help Dominie but although she was mildly interested, licking him and nudging him, she really had little energy to cope with his persistent attempts to play. She was unable to escape his attentions but enjoyed having him snuggle next to her when he was tired and quiet. Dommydom had a strong maternal instinct and was always a kind and understanding mentor to pups but she could no longer teach and this puppy needed to learn.

I have always said to pet people that one knows when the time comes to say goodbye. Perhaps that is true but human nature is largely optimistic and, though it's a cliché, where there's life there's hope. We saw the warning signs but chose to interpret them for our comfort. We asked our lovely vet Nadia for impartial advice, knowing in our hearts what she would say and what we had agonised over for weeks. It fell to Barry to take the Dom to the vet. Our menagerie is well-known there and the nurses are kind and caring.

When Barry came home he needed to be alone so I took the three adult dogs for a long walk in the forest. It was raining hard and the wind was blowing but it cleared my mind and dried my tears and I reached home drenched but more relaxed than I have been for a very long time. It was a strange evening and we felt Dom's absence keenly. The rest of the pack was quiet but watchful. Jenna was particularly questioning and depressed – she would often take Dom a toy or lick her nose. Frodo would also wash her and that had always seemed to please her. Monty Ocicat, who had spent a lot of time cuddling up to Dominie latterly, was prowling and restless. Gus, the puppy, took over Dominie's cushion in the kitchen where she would keep me company each evening as I prepared supper. He sleeps on it now in the same attitude as she did, with his head hanging over the edge, nose pointing to the floor.

The thing we noticed most was the silence. We had become so accustomed to her calling to us ever more frequently and now there were no requests. We realised clearly for the first time how much attention she had demanded and we acknowledged the relief we felt now that she was at peace. We had kept her too long and her ever-louder and more determined calls recently had been telling us it was time for us to let her go. She wasn't in pain, simply tired and worn out. Dominie was a big dog with a robust constitution and my keen desire that she would die peacefully in her sleep was never going to be realised; all the years of running with Barry and walking with me, of swimming in the ponds and lakes and playing with pups and young dogs had kept her physically fit, mentally alert and made her heart strong. We often watched her as she slept, running effortlessly in her dreams, but her waking hours were frustrating.

We all come from stardust and to stardust we will return. Dominie has her place in the cosmos now. Rest in peace, gentle girl, dream sweetly and be free to run again once more. You gave us all so much love and trust, our gentlest girl, so many memories for all our family.

'The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of her master.' Anon

'When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.' Kahlil Gibran: 1883-1931
Dominie (Theakston Terrisa) 25.04.1994 – 13.11.2009

Thank you to Denise Nesbitt for initiating and hosting this meme.

To see more posts for ABC Wednesday please click here.


  1. such joy and love for Dominie! Sad for us who are left behind by our beloved...but what's important is that she had a good life with you!

    come and visit my ABC if you have the time!


  2. I guess Dominie has gone to Rainbow Bridge where she was reunited with her old friends and found eternal peace and happiness. Here on Earth, Dominie will always live on in the heart of her master and in the memory of all those people whose lives she had touched. Do take care and may your pain dissolve so that only fond memories remain.

  3. I'm always sorry to read about a beloved pet to pass away. But it sounds as if she's had a great life with you!

  4. Thank you all. We had a nice condolence note from our vet today.

  5. It is so sad that you have had to let Dominie go, but it is the final act of kindness, that we can allow our dear four legged friends to be released from any possible pain or suffering.
    It seems that you have a similar relationship with your vet as we dowith ours. She has become a supportive friend to us, as over the years we have had to make this decision for several of our past dogs.
    Treasure your memories of Dominie, and enjoy watching Gus's character develop. My love and best wishes xx

  6. Oh, I'm so sorry about Dominie! I do know what it's like to lose a beloved dog/pet. She was fortunate to have had such a loving home. I know how much she will be missed by all of you!



  7. i agree with "Mara". sorry to hear this story.

    my entry is here

    Great day Wednesday folks :)

    Thanx for the Visit :)

  8. Oh, how I feel for you! Having lost two dogs this last year (within five weeks of each other) I understand how you feel.

    Dominie was lucky to have you. She was clearly much loved, and if you kept her a little too long, well, I know she'd forgive you for that. How could she not?

  9. She looks beautiful in your photos. All any of us can hope for is a good and happy life, and it sounds if she had that and you shared it with her.

  10. I'm so sorry to read about Dominie Janice. She sounds like a lovely dog and it is so sad when we lose our pets. It is not easy making that decision I know. I love the way you write about your pets-I have such a great picture in my head.

  11. It's always sad to lose a pet. You've penned a lovely tribute here. And 'stardust to stardust' is a sweet reminder.

  12. It is so hard to lose a treasured member of the family. Our pets become so like family. Our cat is 17 - I sit here usually at the computer with her on my lap. I can'timagine not having her around. You mentioned the silence - that is so noticeable!
    Blessings to you and yours.

  13. You have written a lovely tribute.

  14. Thank you all for your lovely remarks - I really appreciate them.

  15. A beautiful tribute to dear Dominie. I am so sorry for your loss, remembering only too well when we lost our dear little Bridgette. They bring us so much joy but it is always so very hard to have to say goodbye.

  16. Thank you Denise. We always think or hope that it will be easier 'next time' and it never is but the pleasure far outweighs the pain.

  17. Thank you Roger - I appreciate that.

  18. I'm sorry for your loss. Sounds like Dominie had a good life with you. This is a lovely tribute!

  19. Thank you Serendipity - she was a very special girl.

  20. a splendi wonderful life almost 15 right ??You should be so proud.sandy


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