We have some sad news
Two weeks ago we made the heartbreaking decision to let Daisy go to sleep.
Earlier this year she was diagnosed with dementia but thankfully she responded well to medication and continued to enjoy life.
Then we became concerned about her vision shortly after relocating to Newcastle at the end of March.
A few weeks before, Daisy had been for a check up at her vet in Lymm as she’d started walking with an unusual gait. During the appointment she had her eyes examined and all was fine.
But when Daisy began walking into things and hitting her head and struggled to see her ball – chasing balls was her favourite thing to do – we knew something wasn’t right.
We took her to be checked over and the vet confirmed our fears. Her vision was fading but her eyes were healthy, meaning it was most likely something was pressing on her optic nerve.
The vet suspected a brain tumour and we asked what we could do for Daisy.
As she was a senior dog, at least 13, she explained having surgery or chemotherapy wasn’t an option and that the medication Daisy was taking was all they could give her.
Daisy was already on Metacam, a pain killer and anti-inflammatory for arthritis, and Vivitonin, which increases blood flow to the brain and vital organs, Activait, a nutritional therapy containing antioxidants and vitamins to support dogs in later life and YuMove supplements.
We took some time to consider what steps to take next
A MRI scan could have confirmed the tumour, and the vet said that in time that it would grow, causing fits or seizures.
We agonised as to what to do. At this point, Daisy was still happily going out for walks, eating her food and having cuddles with us every night.
She was slowing down, but still enjoying life. I spent hours, days, reading about dogs and brain tumours, sobbing over posts from other owners sharing their experiences.
I read about dogs having seizures, injuring themselves and coming out of them confused and frightened.
I couldn’t comprehend the thought of Daisy suffering such a terrifying thing. She was always such a tough, strong, independent dog.
I didn’t want that to be the ending for her.
I made up my mind to have a scan, and if it showed a tumour, to ask the vet to put her to sleep
I believed that would be the kindest thing. I didn’t want her to suffer.
But in the days that followed, Daisy rapidly declined. We took her to Tynemouth beach where only a week earlier she’d been happy and confident, playing with her ball.
Instead, she was confused, walking in circles in the sand and became anxious when dogs approached her.
I wanted to protect her, to wrap her in cotton wool. Seeing her like that, while young dogs bounded around just as she had always done was heartbreaking.
That night, we took her for a walk and she darted manically in the street, and not because she was being her usual giddy self but because she was scared. This had happened a few times before.
The only thing I could do to help her settle was play calming music for dogs (Thanks Spotify) and cuddle her on the bed.
The same thing happened the following morning, and that evening. Daisy’s anxious episodes became more frequent and seeing her scared broke my heart.
We did all we could to comfort her. Tommy’s daughters Hannah and Millie snuggled up and read her a story – Harry The Abandoned Puppy by Holly Webb.
The Monday morning before they left for school, they sat quietly with her on the sofa, cuddling her and telling her how much they loved her.
I knew then it was time
Because we’d recently moved, I wanted to speak to Rachel, Daisy’s vet from Lymm Veterinary Surgery who had cared for her for many years.
Thankfully, I was able to have a phone consultation, and I explained my fears. Rachel agreed that Daisy’s anxiousness, declining vision and gait suggested it was most likely she had a brain tumour.
I told her I didn’t want her suffering and broke down. She gently explained that around the corner Daisy could have a terrifying and painful haemorrhage or seizure.
I couldn’t have that for my gorgeous, funny, feisty girl. Daisy was such a tough little dog.
She’d survived on the streets before being taken in by Manchester Dogs Home where my friend Jane adopted her before letting her come to live with me.
Nothing fazed her. She was fearless and full of mischief, even in her senior years.
But now she was tired and frightened of the things she was feeling and the changes happening in her body and her mind too.
Daisy had put her faith and trust in me to care for her and I felt she was starting to suffer.
They say dogs tell you when they’re ready to go
After speaking to Rachel, I made an appointment for the vet to come to our home the following day.
We took Daisy to Watergate Park and let her potter around at her own pace and for the first time in ages I felt calm.
I’d been so fearful of what had been happening to her. I didn’t expect to lose her so soon. After her dementia was diagnosed, I spoke to a woman with a 19-year-old dog who’d been living with it for five years.
Of course, I convinced myself Daisy would be the same. She’d be like a lovely, eccentric granny and happily drift away.
But this was different and I was so scared. I prayed we could keep her safe and comfortable until the vet came.
She slept next to me that night as she had every night for the last few weeks. I tried not to crumble that morning, seeing her little face and knowing it would be the last time I’d wake up with her.
Instead, I went off in my car and stood sobbing at the till in Greggs buying a steak bake for a treat her breakfast.
(Just to clarify, she didn’t eat it all and Daisy was always fed nutritious, high quality dog food until her final months where I alternated this with home cooking to help her take her medication)
Her final walk was at Jesmond Dene. When we came home, she didn’t even want to eat a cocktail sausage. That had never happened in nine years.
She lay with her head on my leg and looked at me as if to say, ‘I’m tired now, I’m ready to go mum.’ Even when the vet came, she barely lifted her head to acknowledge him.
Daisy had so much spirit. She was my rock, my best friend, and was there for me every day for nine years.
We did everything together and she gave me so much love. I had to repay her unconditional love by being selfless, by letting her go.
I tried to make saying goodbye as calming as I could, with candles and relaxing music.
Daisy lay next to me when it happened, with Tommy and I stroking her and telling her how much we loved her.
There is no such thing as an ideal ending but I feel I did my best for her.
Now she’s no longer in our home and our lives (although she is on the walls of every room in the house) I can’t begin to describe the void left behind.
I’m not going to try now, it’s still too raw.
Every day I wake up and realise she’s not here and feel like someone’s standing on my chest.
I have to take comfort in knowing she’s not in pain or suffering, but we just miss her so so much.
We have shared privately what happened to Daisy with family, friends and people we’ve connected with and have been totally overwhelmed by their kindness and love.
Daisy was such a special dog to us, but in the last two weeks, we’ve realised how much she meant to others too, and we are so proud of her.
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us, who sent messages and cards, and who loved Daisy.
I’m writing about this here because I feel I need to share what happened with those who have followed this blog, a journey Daisy and I shared.
It’s less than a year since we launched. Our first post was about us doing the Battersea Muddy Dog Challenge together which she bounded around and throughly enjoyed.
Never did I imagine that I’d be writing this now. We will continue with the blog – it’s her legacy – and we’ll continue to share her stories and adventures and in time give another rescue dog a second chance at happiness.
So please, if you’ve managed to read this far and you’re with your dog, give them a cuddle, tell them you love them and treasure every moment.
We will love you and miss you always our gorgeous Daisy sausage, forever in our hearts xxx
- If you have lost a pet and need support, the Blue Cross has a 24 hour bereavement helpline on 0800 096 6606. Find out more at www.bluecross.org.uk