If you follow me on social media, you might have seen that on the 1st September we lost Daisy, our Patterdale x-breed rescue. It’s fair to say that we’ve had a rough few months, all whilst enduring lockdown due to a global pandemic.
We adopted Daisy from Cheshire Dogs home in December 2018 and with little history other than she was from Romania and that she was 7 1/2. Everything started great and we settled into getting to know each other, within a few weeks mastering toilet training and loving life together.
We went to some Kennel Club training in early February and before long we had our Bronze Award. All good…. we introduced her to (what we assume) was her very first beach and she/we were so giddy. We had searched for the right dog to join our family for 6 months+ beforehand, so life seemed pretty cool at this point.
However, after just 8 short months we noticed Daisy was drinking way more water than usual and after a visit to the vets, we were told she might have a fatal disease that she would have picked up before she arrived in the UK. She had a biopsy and some tests and during a subdued holiday together in Wales, we found out that she didn’t have the deadly disease but Cushings disease, which wasn’t curable but was treatable.
By this point, due to her excessive thirst Daisy had started having accidents in the house, which we never really ever got sorted. We tried a few times to get her dry, but her Cushings always got worse and she went back to excessive drinking and not being able to hold it. In the end, we let her out multiple times during the day and used washable pee pads when we were out and overnight.
Between September 2019 and early 2020, her Cushings was up and down with her medication being slowly increased to a fairly high dose. In the winter months, Daisy had become slowly more reluctant to walk, right up to the point where she wouldn’t walk for more than 10 minutes before giving up. She was never the most active dog, so we assumed she was being lazy. We couldn’t have been more wrong. By April we hit a crisis. She wouldn’t walk. She had no energy, she had started to bump into things and then, we found a lump on her chin. Sh*t.
We took her to the vets and they told us that they suspected it was cancerous and if it was, it’s position meant it would be inoperable. Devastating news. We came home, cried and put Daisy on her favourite cushion. We’d been home about 10 minutes when we noticed that she was bleeding, a LOT! The lump had burst and after a panicked call to the vets, we put pressure on it and it stopped bleeding… hello the cone of shame and antibiotics.
After some further investigations, it turns out that the lump wasn’t cancer, but a cyst and Daisy hadn’t been walking for a plethora of very valid reasons.
- She had advanced Cushings Disease
- She had advanced Osteoarthritis
- She had high blood pressure
- She had a knackered Thyroid
- She was blind!
This was definitely a pivotal moment for Daisy, that’s a LOT to deal with for a little dog. The vet also told us that she was convinced she was MUCH older than we were led to believe by about 3-4 years.
She was put on heavy medication, 7 tablets a day and we thought that whilst this was a lot, we would all adjust and carry on together. But then COVID LOCKDOWN. During lockdown, Daisy was clearly feeling rotten and so required our time and attention more and more the longer lockdown went on. She didn’t deal with losing her sight very well, despite us trying everything we could think of to help her adjust.
She started to howl, mostly when we were not with her, but sometimes when we were. Our office is on the top floor of our house and during the day Daisy has always stayed downstairs in the kitchen. This was her preference as she never liked stairs, but during lockdown, she started to like this less and less. This meant that whilst we tried to work we were constantly listening out for her howling and then running up and down the stairs to let her out.
She started to become less settled during bedtime, sometimes howling for 30 minutes after we left her to go to bed. But in the general context of things we thought this wasn’t “too bad” and we assumed it would settle down. At the end of August, we had 3 nights away and left Daisy with a trusted pet sitter where she has stayed before. But it didn’t go well. Out sitter told us that Daisy had struggled, cried overnight and despite the sitter going downstairs to sleep on the couch Daisy seemed to forget she was there 😢
After that, things went downhill rapidly. When we brought her home Daisy seemed completely disorientated and appeared in just a couple of days, to have forgotten the layout of our house!! She didn’t know where her food and water was, how to go out for a wee, the layout of the garden or where her cushion was. We had to really look out for her every move so she didn’t hurt herself bumping into things.
Then at night, she became REALLY unsettled culminating with us going to bed one night at 10:30 but then giving up trying to settle her after 2 hours and M going downstairs to sleep on the couch. We then changed everything around to try to help her. We bought her a big comfy new bed, which we moved between the office and our bedroom – so she could be with us during the day and at night. We had to put some flip chart paper near the bed so we could hear her getting up. She had NEVER made any noise to tell us she needed a wee… she has always just walked to a door… but this is hard to spot when you are asleep or on a work call!
We carried on giving her the 7 tablets a day, hoping things would improve but things deteriorated and she seemed so lost. We had struggled for months to get her to eat properly and she had gone down to 8kg, which was about 1kg underweight. She would eat treats, but just wouldn’t eat her food, no matter what we tried and believe me, we tried everything!!! The vet told us that this was one of the signs that something was really wrong, along with the getting us up multiple times during the night.
Daisy was very very unsettled, sometimes going out 6 times in an hour during the day. Things were no better at night with Daisy needing us a minimum of twice during the night, but sometimes 5-6 times. Each time she needed anything and we were in our office or in bed, we would have to carry her downstairs and either show her where her water was or let her out and wait near the door. She couldn’t always find her way across the patio to the lawn for a wee, despite it not being a large distance. She would regularly bang into the small wall we have in the garden or find herself up by the side of the house or wedged in a corner near the barbecue. It was awful to see her struggling.
She still loved a walk, even in her final week, but we are sure she was in more arthritic pain that we realised as her legs used to shake when we got back, even whilst she was asleep.
In her final week, she stopped eating her food altogether and she continued to get lost in our living room. Sitting down in random places when she got disorientated and couldn’t find us or her cushion. Captured here:
It was a tough decision to make as she didn’t have a huge obviously deadly cancerous lump, but she had SO much going on. We worked out that in 2020 it had cost an average of £400 EVERY MONTH at the vets in medication and treatment. Which would be ok if she was doing ok, but she really really wasn’t. We considered her future and eventually after MUCH soul searching and discussion between ourselves and the vet, decided it would be kinder to say goodbye.
We took her for her final walk around her favourite park, she had a sleep on her cushion, a cuddle on the couch with us both and then we took her for her final sleep. We gave her all her favourite things in her final few hours and then hopefully did the kindest thing we could for her.
I could write for pages and pages about how much Michael and I loved Daisy, it’s only a few days since she left us, so her loss is still very raw. Neither of us ever wanted children, but Daisy was our world. I don’t regret a second. Daisy was such a sweet-natured little dog, she was aloof and independent, but who knows what her life was like in Romania before she came to be with us?? She didn’t easily make friends due to her general indifference to others, but once you were in her gang, then she loved you like no other.
She wasn’t a dog that had ever played and wasn’t interested in any manner of toys or balls, but Michael taught her how to play “kicky feets” which was a daft game where she would wriggle around on her back whilst we tickled her belly and she kicked against our hands. I would make a “whooaaaa” noise which she took to mean “incoming belly rub” and she would wriggle with anticipation. Adorable…
It took her a whole year to “get” that cuddles on the couch were a thing and then she asked for them on the daily. Her favourite place in 2020 was lay between Michael and I on the couch, always touching both of us – most important bit.
That was our Daisy girl… just 20 months with us… but wow what an adventure we all went on. Heartbroken you aren’t here.. we already miss you so much. Glad we could be your retirement home.
We love you Daisy xx