- RIP -
New 29 January 1997



"Am I alive?"

"Why am I here?"

"I remember!"

Last pee: "Can't cock  my leg so I'll raise my tail instead"

"I was here just now
- wonder why?"

" ...silence... "

TODAY was a deadful (sic) for me and for Thomas.  I made the decision to have him put to sleep.

      Thomas' heart complaint became worse during Autumn 1996. Our vet, Helen Cox, fought to control this condition and successful managed to sustain his quality of life for many months--we never expected Tom to make it to the New Year.
      Last weekend he caught an  infection in his gums causing a discharge through his nose which affected his breathing and desire to eat.  When he was younger he had dental treatment but in his latter years further treatment was deemed unwise due to his heart complaint--one did not need a stethoscope to discern his irregular heartbeat!
     But how does one assess when the quality of life has deteriorated too much?   Thomas has always loved chews, dog-drops, "Buterkist", milk and chicken.  He was a persistent little dog and guarded the places where such things were kept until his desire was satisfied.   In his last days he went to the 'fridge or the treats cupboard, but having got he really didn't seem to know why.  When offered "the goods" he rejected them in no uncertain terms!
    Throughout his life Thomas wagged a lot and had a  twinkle in his big brown  eyes.   In  fact,  we  nicknamed him  Twinkle!  At the end these had all but gone too.
     I prayed to God that Tom would go in his sleep or, in other words, that the decision would be taken  from me.  But it was not to be.  In true "Old Shep" fashion (if you know the song) the timing was left to me.  I don't think he was in misery, but very near it.  He wanted relief, but did not necessarily want to go.   Even when it came to shaving his right front paw in readiness for the lethal injection, the electric shaver did not  want to work...

    It saddens me that the church reckons animals soulless, that there is no heaven or hell for dogs.  If only humans exhibited similar unconditional love we might not face these two extremes.

    I have been trying to think of an apt conclusion to this essay,  including trying to work-in the Prayer of Humble Access (the bit about "We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table").  Then I turned to the On this day of GSP British Multimedia Encyclopędia.  It states that John Gay's The Beggar's Opera was first performed on 29 January 1728.  The comic opera concludes with the Beggar arriving and engineering the unexpected happy ending.

    I long for a happy ending.  Did Tommy have one?

Robert Willis


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