How do you stop a wagging tail?
Bert’s big soulful brown eyes gaze up at us with love and his ever excited tail is wagging furiously as we stand talking to the vet about his future. It’s so painful making a decision about his life, how do you stop a wagging tail?
If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Bert you will notice 3 things about him, his human like eyes, cheeky charm and wagging tail. As we wait for the vet, the nurses, who cannot resist his chipper personality, adoringly gather around to make a fuss of him. As other patients come and go he greets them all with a shake of his tail, delighted to see each one like a close friend he hasn’t seen in a long time. I started to notice splatters of blood up the wall, on my hands, and all over Gary’s jeans. The chemotherapy and long-term, high dose, steroids have left him with little fur and he is starting to resemble a skinny pig. His balding tail had cut open from whacking it with joy on every item of furniture in the waiting room. This pulls on the nurses heartstrings even more and one of them takes the time to neatly wrap his poorly tail in a bright purple bandage and clean the blood off the radiator. When the nurse finished she stood up to look at Bert. His tail started to wag again which sent the bandage flying across the waiting room.
Since Bert was diagnosed with MUA on Boxing Day, we knew the time would come when we would have to let him go. This decision has been on my mind for months as we have watched him slowly deteriorate and the seizures increase. In my mind I wanted the seizures to get so bad that I felt guilty about keeping alive for our pleasure. After talking to friends and the vet I now understand that we should let him go before his condition reduces him to a shadow of his former self. We now feel comfortable that the time is right, before his discomfort becomes a daily occurrence.
Bert’s not the easiest dog to live with, I’ve threatened him with a one-way trip to the vets numerous times. It took me two years to like him and realised he was never going to be a good boy like his big brother, Ralph. In time I learnt to embrace is mischievous nature. Like the time he had a large poop on a pavement in front of a huge, extremely busy, Betty’s Tea Room window in Harrogate. Bert stood proud wagging his tail as I cleaned the mess in front of customers enjoying their cream teas. He has left us with so many funny memories that it will be hard to stay sad for too long.
With the decision made we get one last weekend to enjoy, before Monday comes and it’s time to say goodbye. He will be spoilt at Sunday’s Breakfast Club, with all the sausages he can eat, before going on our favourite walk to Chatsworth House.
So how do you stop a tail wagging? With a heart full of love and an understanding that the kindest way to repay him for the 6 years of joy he brought into our lives, is to let him go peacefully.