Maisy my eldest dog is 14 years old. She’s been ‘mine’, or rather – I’ve been hers, since I was 21 years old.
I left home and started working and 17 so considered myself fairly responsibly. I remember when I told my family that I was getting dog; they were completely and utterly against it. Didn’t think I was ready for the responsibility, didn’t think I was in the right flat and job to be able to care for a dog… did I listen? Did I heck! I put an ad in Loot (remember Loot?!) looking to re-home a medium sized dog and did anybody have one that I could meet/have?!
I had a million calls from people asking if I wanted to have or buy their Staffie! I knew then that I wanted a Lhasa Apso, having fallen in love with a friends after meeting it a few months before. I probably should have been more specific in the ad – so I put in another ad.
Eventually a family in Essex contacted me to say they needed to re-home their dog, who happened to be a Lhasa Apso. I took my best friend Stephen along with me to go check out this dog. I knew in my heart of hearts, there would be no way I would turn up, look at the dog and say no? Unless of course she bit me!
We pulled up outside their run looking house and my heart sank a bit. I was a bit nervous about knocking, but by this point didn’t want to go back empty handed.
We were ushered into a living room over flowing with dogs, and met with THE Lhasa Apso. They called her Mae, and told me that they had had her for a year. She was actually a Pedigree and had been a show dog over the first year – but that because of some un-noticeable fracture on her hip would not win any prizes… or something like that! I stopped listening then to be honest, I was already in love.
They had taken her in from the breeder (where apparently she spent most of her time in a cage, being groomer), but she didn’t get on with any of the other (million) dogs they had.
I handed over £300 and took her home. She rode on Stephen’s lap the entire way home and pee’d on my kitchen floor when we arrived home. I like to think she was giving the house her seal of approval! 😉
In 2003, I moved in with my friend (the one who had the Lhasa Apso, that I had originally fallen in love with), his name was Dougal. I naively thought he had been ‘done’. I was proven wrong later in 2003, when Maisy had 8 pups. I remember thinking at one point she looked a bit porky, so took her to the vet.
The vet had a feel about and much to my shock told me we were expecting 4 pups in about 2 weeks. 2 days later, out popped 8 during the Eastenders Omnibus. I was in the middle of cooking a Sunday roast for friends – who were on their way over and had to take a quick de-tour for me, to find a whelping box at B&Q!
I kept one of the gorgeous pups, and we named her Milly. She’s the complete opposite to her mother and equally as loved.
Maisy and Milly have travelled to France, lived in Barcelona and Italy with me, and been my constant companions through some very dark times in my life and equally the best times in my life.
My two children adore them . Toddler dresses them up and 8 year old is very very attached to them. I was so happy when children came into my life, as I had always hoped they would be around to welcome some children. My Nana Joan adored them both as does my Mum who has cared for them when we travelled.
But they are getting on. Maisy is 14, Milly is 12 now. Maisy has had a whole host of health issues; she has a tumour, cushings disease, is going blind, is now deaf, has a hernia, has a cyst on her eye and has arthritis and is losing the use of her back legs. Her medicine each month costs over £200! Money aside, it doesn’t matter – as long as she some quality of life that’s is the most important thing.
And she did up until recently, but recently she’s been struggling to get out of bed in the morning, struggling to eat, struggling in pain and I had to have a very difficult decision with our vet today, about the next stages.
There isn’t really anything else the vet can do and so the next stage really is to think about euthanasia. Having just watched my beloved Nana struggle only last month, and not being able to help her or take away her pain, I would like to that put me in a better frame of mind to deal with what may be upon me. But honestly, I don’t think it does. It’s a difficult and sad decision no matter what.
Maisy has had a difficult couple of days recently, but today has had a good day – and I told our vet, I don’t know what to do. I can’t bear to see her suffering, but the thought of killing her too quickly will haunt me forever. When is the right time?
And our vet (who by the way is absolutely amazing and I can’t recommend enough) said, when she starts to have more bad days than good, that’s the right time. And so, no decision has been made yet, but I will be monitoring my beloved doggy over the next couple of weeks and jotting down things, to get a true picture of how difficult life is for her.
I think we will be having a sensitive conversation with our 8 year old too, because it is important he feels included and understands as much as he can of what is happening. I think 2.5 year old is a bit too young at this stage.
For now though, LOADS of cuddles and love for Maisy dog are definitely on the agenda.