If dogs could speak then we know that they would be full of enthusiasm and love. “I love you!”, “Let’s go for a walk, it’ll be AMAZING”, “Are you going to the toilet? AWESOME! I’ll come too!”, “Don’t want me to sit on your lap? That’s ok. I’ll go sit over there and wait for you to give me the signal to come back. Ok? Love you. BYE! Love you!”. Magic has always spoken though or at least used her voice to its full potential.
Nine years ago I received my first photos of the tiny black Cocker Spaniel that would be eventually named Magic. I lived by myself at that point, Mr TDF was still over a year away from walking into my life, and I did everything I could to prepare myself for welcoming a dog into my home. Of course, like a baby, no amount of reading or researching could have prepared me for this gorgeous palm-sized squeaky bundle of fluff, or the journey that we were to embark on together.
Magic like most dogs is very loving, but she’s never been all that eager to please. I tried solidly for 13 months to house train her, eventually fitting a fat cat cat-flap into our back door so she could just let herself out when the need arose. She was always pleased to curl up to me on the sofa after a long shift, but independent enough to wander off on our walks around the golf course, going to hang out with the sheep, or say hello to the golfers, and not listening when I called her back. She is completely mardy, squealing even if I step too close to her paw, or telling you off if you do something that doesn’t please her. She is completely beautiful – petite, with long curly ears and a full-length waggy tail. Brains obviously took a back seat to her beauty though, as she is thick as two short planks, often looking confused if you say her name. “Who is this Magic, and why are you asking me about her?!” On many occasion, I’ve used the Juno analogy of her being like Diana Ross – really beautiful, but really mean, and she has frustrated me to the point of tears numerous times. One thing she has always excelled in is speaking. Her trademark cocker squeal is loud and often irritating, but it’s only ever out of excitement. Or hunger. Happiness. Distaste. Ok, ok, she’s never been selective about when she has talked to us.
When we got Indy two and a half years later Magic grudgingly accepted her presence, and remained Top Dog, even as Indy grew taller than her. It’s more than that though. They rely on each others company. Each dog is lost without the other, curling up in the same bed each night, and becoming Magic-and-Indy, rather than individuals.
Magic can talk, but not in the way I need her too. If she could speak to me, she might have told me that going off her food 6 months ago was something more serious than what the vet suggested. She might have given me the nudge to take her back to the vets earlier than I did. She might be able to give me an answer to the hardest question I have ever had to ask myself.
Two days ago I took magic to the vets. Not only was she not eating much, but her weight had dropped rapidly, and she had started to vomit. Blood tests suggested one of two things – pancreatitis, or chronic kidney disease. Further blood tests confirmed that she had both. It explained so much. The listlessness, the lack of interest in food, the vomiting, and the sudden interest in taking herself out of the way to curl up on one of the kids’ beds, or if she couldn’t manage the jump, the beanbag. The vet said that he thought she was in the final stages of the kidney failure, something that she would never get better from. Giving her an anti-sickness jab he sent us home last night with some decisions to make – start treatment, a cocktail of pills which might stable her, without improving her much, or saying goodbye.
I know that the kind, humane thing to do is to let her go without deteriorating further into her illness, but when she is looking at me with those beautiful big eyes and a wagging tail it’s hard to imagine she is poorly at all. I cried myself to sleep last night, having an internal fight between my heart and my head. Mr TDF and I held each other this morning, unable to come to a conclusion, but when I spoke to the vet, I knew what my decision had to be.
Indy also knows how ill she is, and as Magic curls up into a tiny ball, she rests her head upon her body with sad, soulful eyes. It is Indy that will miss Magic the most. Her Sister, her best friend.
If dogs could talk, Magic would say “I love you, and I know you love me. Let me go”.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I will take Magic to the vets later on today, and as she goes to sleep for the last time, I will hold her, look in her eyes and make her feel as secure as I possibly can.