Tuesday, 19 February 2013

My Dougal Dog

This is a photo of my lovely Dougal Dog. He was a West Highland Terrier or "Westie". He is about 12 in this photo. Quite old in dog years but he was still very much like a puppy. In fact it was only when he got really sick that he stopped acting like a pup!

Four years ago today we lost him. He was 14. He had got a tumour on one of his toes the year before which had been successfully amputated and we hoped all was well. However he started to get sick again and after some tests it was discovered he had loads of cancerous tumours on his spine. Treatment was looked into but there was no guarantees, and the vet felt considering his age the chemo could do more harm and would definitely make him suffer. So we decided to let fate decide. Instead he was given painkillers so he wouldn't suffer and continued to have a good quality of life without regular visits to the vets and being pulled about and operated on. When he started to show signs of deterioration we made sure we kept a close eye on him, and a few weeks later things escalated and we knew however hard it would be, it was time to say goodbye. It was a horrendous day and I still cannot think about it without getting very upset.

So today instead of remembering that horrible day 4 years ago, I will remember the 14 wonderful years that he was in our lives.
 I can still remember the excitement of when he arrived. Mum hadn't told me we were getting a puppy. Our dog Pepe (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) was getting a bit old and grumpy but there had been no mention of a puppy. A few days earlier my Mum and I had been to our local pet shop and the owner had four Westie Puppies that he was trying to find homes for. We had been allowed to see them, and I fell in love with the only male puppy. Luckily so did my Mum! A few days later her and Ron had to go to the bank (opposite the pet shop!). When they arrived back I had the strangest feeling something was up and had a passing thought that they had got a puppy. Stupid idea! She called me to come downstairs, and as I did she was walking through the front door with a blanket in her arms with a little cute face with huge ears, peeking out of it! She looked at me with a smile on her face and said "Say hello to Dougal!". That was the name I said I wanted to call him!!! Dougal had become part of our family!

He and I didn't get on instantly. I loved him totally but I felt sorry for our old dog Pepe as I didn't want her to feel left out. She had been a loyal loving dog, and it wasn't her fault she was getting a bit moody in her old age. Dougal got a lot of attention because he was the new puppy, and poor Pepe would get ignored so I made sure I made an extra fuss of her to make up for it. He also liked trying to hang off her long ears and wanted to play. Pepe didn't really play any more and really didn't appreciate a nipping energetic puppy, so she got quite good at smacking him on the head with her paw when he got out of hand!

However I couldn't resist the bundle of fun, cuteness and cheeky little so and so that was Dougal. He made me laugh and he was very loving. He was my friend. When things were bad at home he was always there. When I was alone in my room crying and upset he would creep up stairs and into my room where he would leap on my bed and not give up until I was cuddling him. Pepe use to do the same thing. I always made sure they were never caught, I wouldn't have let Ron hurt them, he was so cruel at times to the dogs. He claimed it was discipline and "Dog and Master" but I just thought he was a bully like he was with everyone else.  Mum would often scream at him to leave them alone and that he was too heavy handed. Still makes my flesh crawl thinking about it. He did get better and did learn to be more gentle with them eventually.

Dougal and I had a connection. I know people who read this who have never loved/owned a dog will think thats ridiculous but its true. He was always there when I needed him. When I came home from school he was there to greet me. I would let him out, spend time playing with him and feed him. Then he would follow me round while I did all the chores and jobs I was expected to do before anyone got home. He would then sit upstairs with me while I started my homework, with one ear listening for the car in the driveway to fly downstairs and pretend he had been down there all along!

He witnessed how bad things were, and I am sure when I looked at him he understood. He gave me what he could which was love and loyalty and in returned I loved him back, looked after him and tried to protect him as best I could. I miss him so very much, and really wish he was still here to comfort me when I am sad and to make me laugh with his cheekiness. He was lovely to cuddle and made me laugh a lot.

My friend got a new puppy last year called Yoda. He isn't a Westie, he is a long haired chihuahua, but there is something about him that reminds me so much of Dougal. Maybe its because he is a cheeky little so and so himself and makes me laugh, or maybe because he knows when I am sad and insists on giving me cuddles. Whatever it is I do sometimes find myself going to call him Dougal Boy and have to quickly change it to Yoda Boy! Really hope Dougal doesn't mind and realises I still love him to bits.

                                                   My Dougal Dog. My gorgeous boy.

If I was ever in a position to have a dog again, it would definitely be a Westie. At the moment I live in a flat with my dad and I am unemployed and a student. It would be very irresponsible to have a dog at the moment not to mention Dad wouldn't allow it in his flat. I would love to have a dog but I guess I will just have to wait. No matter what though, I will never forget my lovely Dougal Dog. Miss you Dougal!!

P.s: have just noticed my Daily Puppy for today is Pluto the West Highland Terrier! There has got to be something in that!

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