Monday, 23 May 2011

Goodbye Bronte

Today our dog Bronte went to doggy heaven.

I write this post with a tremendous amount of guilt. Dean and I decided after we had our last baby we would get a dog to grow up with them. We had a list of "doggie do's" that a beagle filled. According to Dean's research, they are easily trained, great with kids and the right size for our back yard.

For Christmas 2008, Santa delivered a gorgeous little puppy. They woke early, searching the house for their presents from Santa, noticing a sound coming from the laundry. Once they opened the door and he bounded towards them, all we heard were terrified screams! For the rest of the day they all stayed on the couch with their legs pulled up in fear.

Sadly, over the next 2 years, this didn't improve much. Our backyard went from a fertile, luscious haven where the girls played in their cubby house and on the swings, to a dusty, chewed toy graveyard. The girls were terrified to go outside. Bronte was exuberant and boisterous and would knock them over and nip at them while they screamed and begged to be picked up. Cate would occasionally profess to love him and play with him in spurts before coming back inside. Josephine and Rose were never seen outside with him again. But he loved Grace. She was little when he was and she wasn't afraid of him.

We had numerous discussions about what we were going to do. Bronte deserved a family that would play with him and love him, not a family that had him locked outside. I realised that I wasn't a dog person. There, I said it. I'm not a dog lover. I love Bronte, but not dogs. I wanted him to be happy and I felt guilty I couldn't give him what he needed. I told myself that if he was a child, and it wasn't working, I couldn't just give him back!

We hoped that after the renovation, the girls would be bigger and he would be older and calmer and it would just be ok. We couldn't bring him with us to our temporary accommodation so he went to live with my Aunty, Uncle and cousins - all dog lovers, and their 2 other dogs. He was happy. We visited him and Grace ran up to the window yelling, "my doggie". They all went outside and cuddled him and he remembered them. He was happy.

After being there for a few weeks, Bronte started having fits. He was diagnosed with epilepsy, common in beagles. Since then his medication has just gone up and up. He has been on valium also to calm him but after a few weeks, the dose becomes too low and he starts fitting again. How much sedation and medication can one little dog take. He was spending his days unable to get up and walk, too drowsy to do anything.

After another trip to the vet yesterday, we made the heart wrenching decision to have him put to sleep. Cate cried for hours. I cried. I don't even know what to do. It doesn't come naturally to me to know what to do about this, I've never had a dog before. I feel like there should be something more. I can't describe the feelings of guilt I have about his life. A good pet owner would have been by his side but I couldn't bear the thought of having to explain this to my children. Life, death, illness. I can't do that, not today.

Thank you to my Aunty and her family. You loved him how we should have. He was welcomed into your home and a part of your family.

Good night little Bronte. I'm sorry we weren't the family you deserved, that this life was short and confusing for you. Rest peacefully. We love you. x

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