This day last week I took our dog to the vet and had her put to sleep. I stayed with her and held her as the vet administered the lethal dose. Hub gradually relaxed and slipped away from me, her beautiful black coat still shining. Her gleaming eyes dulled as her spirit left her.
She had arrived about nine years ago as a six week old bundle of fun and mischief. At the time my son Leo was toddling about and he used to kick her vigorously as she stole his football and snapped at his feet. They both thought it was great fun.
She tortured our then other dog, a placid golden Labrador we called Peig, who was like the conscience of the house. Any raised voices she headed for cover. Not so Hub. She was a fairly indisciplined critter, at first when you took her for a walk she wouldn’t come back and she used to drive me into paroxysms of frustration as she ran round the car refusing to get in, bucking and lepping.
Once we left her with the friend I got her from when we went on holiday. She ate the bottom of his creosoted gate over the course of our break.
Even up to her final few days with us she enjoyed the odd glorious rampage, sprinting hither and thither with abandon.
As the children grew up, Hub was part of the family. She always showed up in portraits of the family drawn in primary school, this four legged black shape in the foreground. That’s Hub, the various children would declare matter of factly explaining their latest piece.
She was so much part of the family, the furniture and the fun round these parts that we took her for granted. Not so the postman, or coal and oil delivery men. She would rip the post from the post box and in the process destroyed a few cheques I received from clients and at least one DVD.
She would station herself in the car if a door were left open and developed a penchant for chewing seatbelts. An expensive taste, I spent several hundreds replacing them. Any coat left in the car was liable to have a bite taken out of it. She had a go at my training cones too when she got the chance.
The children loved Hub. Every morning Sorcha’s first point of call was a visit to the living room for a hug.
Last week I took her to the vet to have what I thought would be a diagosis of some sort of infection. Instead she had developed dog diabetes and we took the difficult decision to have her put to sleep. In this home we shared, the strict regime required to treat a diabetic dog with absolute rigour would not be practical. I was heartsore as I took her for a final walk down to the beach.
But it is what you sign up to with a dog. The agreement was there from the moment I lifted her in her cardboard. By taking on the responsibility of this black Labrador pup we also committed to being there with her to reassure her and comfort her when the vet puts her to sleep. You can do no less.
This day last week I took our dog to the vet and had her put to sleep. I stayed with her and held her as the vet administered the lethal dose. Hub gradually relaxed and slipped away from me, her beautiful black coat still shining. Her gleaming eyes dulled as her spirit left her. It broke my heart.