Spring is here

I think spring has arrived although it’s quite hard to tell as one day it’s sunny and then the next day it hails. We’ve even had snow recently. But overall I think it is here. The garden smells different and Deana’s been busy mowing the grass and planting flowers. And even though my eyesight is getting worse, when we go to the forest I can tell that everything is brighter and greener. Sometimes I don’t like this – the brightness hurts my eyes – but mostly it’s nice. The ground is harder and that means Harry doesn’t get carried over the mud (I feel a bit jealous when this happens even though I don’t like being carried myself) and there are just so many more smells to explore. Spring also means that the back door is left open for me and Harry to come and go as we please which is a good thing as the garden smells waft inside and also it means I don’t have to use the dog-flap. We have a new one and I’m not too sure how it works. Harry says it’s more or less the same as the old one but I’m not sure he’s right. If he is, why does he pee inside so much?

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And we’ve been to the groomer’s too, which is another sign that spring is here. Deana decided not to cut my hair herself this year, which is a good thing as she is not very good at it. (Even I could tell I looked like a flea-bitten teddy left under a bush for years). The grooming parlour is inside the same building as the vet and I could smell the vet as soon as Deana walked us inside and I thought oh no why has she brought us here? And I started to panic breathe and have bad thoughts about Harry needing the vet, not me, but fortunately neither of us was there for the vet and we went straight into the groomer parlour, which was a huge relief. Continue reading

On My Own

Hello again. It’s me, Buzbuz. I know I haven’t said much for a long while now but it’s been quite a year. My mum, Cinderella, died in the summer and, well…I didn’t really want to talk about anything much, to anyone.

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I’m not sure I want to say much about it now – it makes me too sad – but I want to let you know what’s happening in my life and I want to start feeling a bit happier, even though nothing is the same without my mum.

Mostly, it’s just really quiet without her. I was sure at the beginning that she’d come back. I knew she’d been ill and I knew that Deana was burying something in the garden and crying a lot, but I just didn’t make the connection. Mum wasn’t there but she’d come back. Of course she would. She’d never leave me. We’d been together every day for nearly 13 years. And so I just carried on, going on walks in the woods and sleeping lots but one day it hit me hard that she was gone, forever. I mean, I know I will see her again. All dogs know that. And I know that sometimes she comes back as a little ghost and has a wander round our house when she thinks we’re all sleeping, just to check on us, because that’s what dogs do. I can’t snuggle up with her or ask her to lick my face clean, but I can see her and that makes me feel a little bit better. But also a little bit worse when she leaves again. Deana’s dog before us, Luigi, still does it sometimes, even though he never lived with us at this house, even though he never even knew me and Mum. Continue reading

Goodnight Cinderella

This blog began as a project for my Masters. I decided I would write in the voice of my dogs and most of the blogs would be by Buzbuz, my now 12 year old dog, with the occasional comment from her mum, Cinderella.

I’m so very sad to write this blog as myself but I can’t really write this one as Buzbuz.

I want to write about Cinderella who died four weeks ago today. It has been too upsetting to write anything before now, but I’m going to try today, though I’m already crying. Again.

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Cinderella and Buzbuz came into my life a month after I’d had to put to sleep my beloved Border Terrier, Luigi. I’d never owned an older dog before. Luigi was only nine when he died and my first dog, Alfredo, was hit by a car when he was five. I was devastated at losing Alfredo, and then again with Luigi, and everyone, seeing how distraught I was, recommended I take a break from dogs. That I should give myself some time to recover. That I should avoid future dog-related heartbreak.

It was impossible for me to ‘take a break from dogs’. I didn’t see how that would mean anything other than more sadness and so I adopted the then nine year old Cinderella and her baby, Buzbuz, who was five.

I was lucky to have Cinderella for almost seven years. She was funny, beautiful and always a character – a mis-shaped dog with a too-long body and enormous ears that she would unfurl to express her demands for more cuddles and more goodies – she would sleep in sock drawers, climb inside wardrobes and become ‘lost’, she would sit on my chest when I was lying on the sofa and use those ears to tell me things I wish I’d properly understood, she would huskily bark at every dog and the occasional cow she came across, she would prance rather than run, with her tail held high, up and over her back.

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My children loved her. She was cuddled and carried and danced with and fussed over. She’d never lived with children before she came to us but she quickly knew that she was the type of dog that all children seemed unable to resist. my birthday 2008 096

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In her later years she slowed down. It all happened quite quickly. She developed heart problems and stopped running unless there was something really fun to chase. She would bark at squirrels from the back of the sofa but she no longer did it with the same enthusiasm. We’d find her making her way up the stairs to my room (and her bed) at about 8pm, an early-to-bed old lady.

I’m still not sure what happened four weeks ago. Yiannos and I went away for a weekend, and we were staying at a dog-friendly hotel in the Cotswolds. Sometime over the weekend Cinderella must have suffered something like a stroke. We’re not sure when or how. We went home and saw the vet who said we were near the end. She’d stopped eating and had to be fed water with a pipette. And so I held onto her for two more days, sitting on the sofa with her on my lap and Buzbuz at my feet. I carried her for a couple of walks through the forest, wrapped up in a blanket, and friends who saw us said they’d come with me to the vet, if I needed someone with me. That it was time.

In the end I took her to the vet by myself. I hoped he’d say there was a chance and she’d turn a corner and all would be well. But I knew in my heart that she was already gone. She always had a little mischievous light in her eyes and now there seemed to be nothing. And so I put her to sleep and bought her back home and buried her in the garden.

I’ve buried three dogs now. While I’m better at the practicalities than I was the first two times – I know it’s better if I dig the hole before; that I put heavy stones on top of the grave – I’m just as devastated at the loss. And I know that I will be with every dog I’m lucky enough to have.

Dog-walking friends in the forest ask me where she is and each time I explain I burst into tears. They all understand. Most of them have been here themselves. It’s the only horrible part of having a dog. An immense love. A life that’s always too short. We all love our dogs so much. We don’t need to explain to each other than they are our family.

Buzbuz is coping. I think she knew what was happening. I wish more than ever that I knew what she was feeling. I think she understands that Cinderella has gone and I think Cinderella would have said her own goodbye.

We will always miss her.

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Loving January

Dogs love January. Unlike humans, we don’t make long lists of resolutions and then feel sad when we don’t stick to them. For us January is a time to carry on having fun and being happy. It means a whole new 12 months to look forward to. So many possibilities. New walks to go on, new smells to follow through the fields and new dogs to make friends with and bark at.

For me January also means a chance of snow, which is one of my favourite things. I first saw snow when we moved back to England almost three years ago and it was love at first sight. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. Why hadn’t anyone taken me for a walk in the snow before? All that white power to run through and roll in. It was bliss. It hasn’t snowed since that first time but I’m very hopeful it will again soon. I’ve been casing out the park and working out which areas will be the best bits to race down once it snows.

Mum is not very keen on snow. She doesn’t like to be cold at all and on the frosty mornings we’ve been having she just wants to be carried everywhere. Deana scoops her up and tucks her under her arm and we walk through the forest like that. (Mum doesn’t like mud either which makes things a bit tricky considering we live right across from a very muddy forest.)

 

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Continue reading

Back at the Vet’s

Poor Mum is not well at all. She’s been to the vet’s about four times over the last two weeks and she hates it. She’s had pills and injections and on Monday when we went the nurse told Deana that she should think about putting Mum down and that very probably I’d die soon afterwards too, “because that’s what happens when you have two. They pine for each other.” Deana burst into tears and I wish I could have told her that even though Mum is really ill we’re not going anywhere fast whatever that nurse says. It’s times like this that I wish I had human words. But all I could do was look as healthy and happy as possible, so there was none of my usual antics and panic at the vets. No panting and trying to escape through the door. No throwing myself off the vet’s table. I held it together really well. When we got home Mum said she was really proud of me.

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Anyway we were back at the vet this morning and he said that the new pills were working and that Mum was a lot better which Deana said means she doesn’t have to think about anything horrible for now. Mum has to take pills for the rest of her life. Heart pills and lung pills. And these pills mean she’s going to be peeing even more than she already does. Deana says we won’t be going back to the vet for a long time. That she will keep Mum going for as long as she can.  Continue reading

Hello Again

It’s been ages since I said hello but I’ve been very busy helping my owner Deana finish her Masters.

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She decided that her final project would be a book about being happy, written by me. It took so much time for me to tell her everything I know about happiness (lots!) and we had to spend ages in the kitchen at her desk. By the end I almost wished I knew a little bit less about being happy, but now it’s done and me and Mum are having nice long walks again and I can fit under the desk (one of my favourite napping spots) now that all the books and papers have been cleared out. There’s also more time for cuddles on the sofa and trips in the car. Deana says she will never study like this again so I think the extra cuddles, long walks and car rides are here to stay. Continue reading

My name is Cinderella

My name is Cinderella and I’m an extremely beautiful half-Papillon of a certain age and I would just like to announce that despite everything that Buzbuz says, I am not going anywhere.

Yes, I am old, I suppose, and yes, I am tired, but it’s very tiring being a mum at my age. Buzbuz needs a lot of attention, even though she’s not exactly young herself.

I did have a bad day last week and I do spend a lot of time in my bed sleeping, or on the sofa sleeping, or hiding under the cushions sleeping, but I’m not about to die. I’m just old. I don’t know how it happened. One day I was a puppy living with my mum, running and leaping round the garden, and the next moment I have old paws and a daughter worrying that I am about to die.

Well I’m not. P1010016

Being old isn’t easy though. My body feels tired and sometimes it doesn’t want to do the things I tell it to do. I want to run on the school run but my legs don’t want to run. They just want to walk really slowly and sometimes they wobble and then I have to be carried. I used to hate being carried but now I quite like it. And sometimes I want to jump out of my bed and run to Deana when she comes home but my legs won’t let me so I have to wag my tail instead. I’m glad that my tail still works. Continue reading