Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Well practised.


Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts . 

Yesterday morning passed in a blur. This most fastidious of boys hadn't been washed in the hospital.  He's given a gentle sponge bath. The test results bad - really bad. 10 litres of plasma over the weekend left the toxins unrepentant and the kidneys exhausted. There was no doubt as to the outcome. We spend half an hour with our local vet discussing options. What kindness. We head home with the boy.




Bob settles. Within an hour of coming off the drip he's faltering. It's called renal failure for a reason. His sister settles beside him. It's clearly where he wants to be. They lie like that until the senior vet comes. The third time he's been to the house for the same duty. Sophie stands on her hind legs at the gate and greets him.


And so another farewell. You'd think it would get easier but it doesn't. We know the routine. Ears stroked. Paws held. Muzzle scratched. A time to recognize his devotion and say thank you. The first injection. The vet carries him outside into the sunshine. A quick nod.The second injection. A reassuring 'What adventures beckon' from 'The Font'.  A final Au Revoir from me. Six years of shared memories rush by. The vet quietly recites a verse . A small courtesy he undertakes for each of his patients at moments like this. Last time it was Beckett. This time Blake * : 'Alors ils coururent jusqu’au bas de la plaine d’herbe, sautant, riant, Puis se lavèrent dans le fleuve pour briller au soleil'.

(* And by came an angel, who had a bright key, And he opened the coffins, and
set them all free; Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing, they run And
wash in a river, and shine in the sun.)

A second after the injection Sophie lets out a howl from inside the house. 

Bob now lies on the ridge alongside two other Polish Lowland Sheepdogs. Three in a row. A place of limitless views .



In the afternoon Madame Bay came to stand by his grave as did The Old Farmer, the Belgian lady, the builder, the village odd job man, the cleaning lady and the mayor. The role of dogs is understood in a French village. This wouldn't happen in Britain. Champagne is consumed.

At the end of the day what a sky. What a sunset. 


This cheered us up ... somewhat and reminded us of Bob : https://twitter.com/MarianneSansum/status/1187781552194891776


58 comments:

  1. Angus, thank you so much for sharing Bob with all of us out there in blog land. What a privilege and a joy it has been. And I am relieved to learn that Bob was able to come home at the end. Blessings also to your vet for his wonderfully appropriate words, and to the villagers for paying their respects at the burial place. Bertie and I are in our thoughts standing there beside you all. And please give Sophie an extra cuddle from us.
    All the best, Gail.
    PS Bertie says everyone lies on their CV, don't they?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a lovely post, Angus. Bob could not have asked for anything more from his earthly companions. And now, I guess, you will need to turn your attention to poor Sophie. I hope that in the midst of all this, you yourself are healing well.

    I saw this earlier in the week, but it wasn't the right time. It's kind of the antithesis of your link today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXylcEJzD-k Perhaps the boys are all up there herding on the next plane.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Angus for letting us share his last hours. So glad you were able to bring him home. The words from the vet are beautiful. And so glad the village is honouring this best of dogs. My love to all of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To have a vet who takes a deep breath before administering the injection and then recites poetry after - and carefully chosen poetry at that - is a sign that all is well with the world.

      Delete
  4. Dear ANGUS. Thank you so much for sharing BOB with us. It was your words and your portrait of him that captured all of us, these past six years. Your generous sharing of his final day (with all of us) was typical of you........so very generous and thoughtful. Most of all, BOB and SOPHIE were able to spend a short time together. Your Senior Vet goes beyond a gentleman.......cut from a cloth that is rare these days. Eloquence and kindness and a verse - how beautiful. BOB's finale was befitting him. You and the FONT do know, by now, how loved he was.
    We, here on the Westcoast of Canada, have lost three of our beloved Scottish Terriers to kidney failure, so we know what you went through.
    Please know the love we are sending. And to dear SOPHIE who has lost her dearest fellow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob reminded us of so many things that humans tend to forget.

      Delete
  5. Just looked at the video and laughed out loud. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a grand goodbye for your faithful boy. Thank you for letting us be with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A crowd and champagne were something that he would have understood that he was at the centre of.

      Delete
  7. Thank you Angus, for sharing these precious hours with us. So glad that the family fellow is at peace and not alone, but in the good company of Digby and Wilf.
    Everyone has already put my thoughts into words.
    Having lost five dogs over the past 40-odd years, I find that it doesn't get any easier, and I know it never will. Our dogs are such precious companions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 3 boys in a row. Something satisfying in that.

      Delete
  8. Such sorrow. A 'Lament for Bob" on the pipes would be a fitting Scottish tribute to this dear family fellow. I'm imagining Bob running free now with my childhood companion English Springer, gone nearly 40 years ago but thought of every day. Perhaps they'll be discussing the issue of hedgehog spines - also something my chap never learned. Next time I visit his grave on the banks of the Spey, where he used to sit beside my father as he fished his favourite salmon pool, I'll think of them both with love. How good to have Bob's village friends gather to remember him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They'll certainly be discussing how to refine mischief !

      Delete
  9. Hari OM
    I join this chorus of love for Bob - and admiration and gratitude to his master and his wife and sisfur. Rest well and recover as you need with time... YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its easy to live with a dog that always wonders ' what will we do next ?'. Not so much a dog as an integrated element in and of the family.

      Delete
  10. Tears are being shed far and wide for Bob.
    Very touched by the village send-off. Everyone in the ROF is much-loved, clearly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly Bob was recognized as a 30 kilo bundle of mischief. The champagne of course helps at difficult times.

      Delete
  11. How I wish I had known Bob. This is my first visit from New Zealand and I am so very, very, sad and sorry for you. Tha was a beautiful blog that you wrote for him. My heart goes out to you with all the strength and love that I can send. 💖

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Sometimes a stream of consciousness is more honest than anything else.

      Delete
  12. Angus, you are right, it never, ever for a moment gets easier to lose family fellows like Bob. And, I've decided that if it ever does I shouldn't be sharing my life with "lives more temporary than our own"." (a line from a favorite Townsend quote). Our very first dog, and the "first Tod" we had, a Golden Retriever, left us at nearly the same age as Bob. Like Bob, he lived life to the fullest and every day truly was the "best day ever." A lesson to remember, even if when they leave us, it's one of the worst. But I know that you wouldn't trade these past 6 years with Bob for anything, and would do it all over again.

    Be well my friend, and know that everyone at the ROF are being thought of, and Bob is being remembered by those like me who will miss him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a wonderful line : Lives more temporary than our own '. Much frustration here that it was only six years. As you point out some dogs channel into six years what others would in twelve.

      Delete
  13. Bob had every gift but length of years. Thank you for sharing him with us. I am without words; just know here in Ohio we are thinking of you and the rest of your clan.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for sharing with us. Bob was such a lucky boy to have you and the Font by his side, and vice versa. What a beautiful soft landing for our Bob, who gave the world so much joy. Love to all at the ROF. Thank you, Bob. XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And we are grateful to have had a fellow who bestowed trust and faith on us .... in spades.

      Delete
  15. Tears streaming down my face. Such a good and fine fellow was Bob. You sharing his final day with us has been cathartic to us all and for that I am so grateful. It has been a privilege to be allowed along on this very difficult journey with you, the 'Font' and Sophie. Sending healing thoughts and wishes to you all in the days to come.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No need for sorrow. He's off running ahead and doing whatever sheepdogs do.

      Delete
  16. I'm crying. Thank you to all the lovely furry fellows who share our lives and show us what really matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. Dog owners are lucky to have a glimpse into what really matters.

      Delete
  17. Dear Bob - I'm so glad he made it home. I wish I could have been there to share a toast to the family fellow. He will always be missed, and always remembered...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A glass of champagne and some help shovelling the clay. That would have tickled him pink.

      Delete
  18. You don't know me at all, but I saw Poppy's post about Bob on her blog and came to extend my deepest condolences. I just lost one of my fur babies (cat) on Saturday, so understand the grief. Please know that even strangers are sending you thoughts of comfort and care.

    Kim

    ReplyDelete
  19. last night I read your post and every comment. whenever I miss I always catch up.
    and so it came as a shock... seeing the little family fellow gone. I couldn't stop crying.
    I've been following you for a long time and went through the losses of beloved Digby and Wilf.
    and it's somehow comforting to know that Bob's body is next to theirs there on the ridge.
    it's morning now and with puffy eyes I've just read what you've shared and thank you for it.
    you're enduring your grief among friends from all over the world who loved Bob.
    I'm in Oklahoma.
    bless you Angus and the Font and sweet Sophie. sending you love.
    a thought just made me smile. he loved to make the airport doors open.
    and there will be new tires to christen too.
    tammy j

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful to hear from you again. Sheepdogs are somehow special in their transparent enthusiasm and devotion. This is our third generation and we have to say they just keep on teaching us more and more about life.

      Delete
  20. Au revoir, mon brave. Bob's life and personality and essence have been so perfectly conveyed by your words. It is strange how much of a 'family fellow' he became to all of your readers. I will lift a toast of my own as I stand beside his lovely resting place with you and the Font and Sophie, and the village folks. You cannot know how many times I have sat beside Bob on the storm drain, ticking over headlines and events. His patience as Sophie demanded her place in the car has been a metaphor for me as I learn to give way to things that I cannot change and to choose my battles. May you all be comforted by memories of his beautiful, ordinary, heroic life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lovely way of putting it - beautiful,ordinary and heroic. Sums him up.

      Delete
  21. Thank you for sharing your home and dogs with us.I think I would like the French.Comfort to all at the rickety farmhouse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some things about France would drive you insane but they recognize what's important in life. Family dogs fall into this category.

      Delete
  22. France is such a humane place. If this had to happen, I'm glad it was among such caring people. I'm going to miss Bob. I started reading you when Wilf was in decline, every day for years we check in to see what the dogs are doing. Thank you for writing.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you for sharing your life and the PON's with the world. We are hurting for your loss. France sounds like a wonderful place with loving friends and neighbors.

    ReplyDelete
  24. No, it will not get easier. The only comfort one has is that the beloved dog or cat is no longer in pain and no longer suffering. Thank you both for sharing the last day of Bob with us. What a beautiful sunset at the end of such a mournful day, it seems that Bob arrived at his destination. Your all in my thoughts. Luzia from Basel

    ReplyDelete
  25. Another day, writing through tears. Your words brought Bob to me and again, I loved him and again, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. As I have been thinking about Bob the last few days, I keep thinking about the title of the book the novelist, Dean Koontz, wrote about his golden retriever, Trixie. Koontz and his wife had no children and had never owned a pet. In middle age, they decide to adopt a dog. Koontz had no idea the tremendous and joyous impact Trixie would have on their lives. At Trixie's passing, he wrote a book about Trixie called A Big Little Life. I think this phrase is so fitting for Bob's life. Thank you, Angus, for sharing Bob with all of his adoring fans. He had a very big little life indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is Bob's village. A fitting send-off to his next journey. A goodbye with love and champagne. Nothing better.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Bailey Bob Southern DogNovember 26, 2019 at 10:48 PM

    I went to the grocers today. As I saw the croissants I stopped and looked at them, tears rolling down my cheeks. They did not look tasty at all, but I thought, Bob would have eaten the ends. With his beautiful eyes he would have said thank you, because that is the sweet fellow he was. I loved Bob. I am so grateful he could return home, even for the brief time. Thank you for sharing yesterday with all of us. Again, I send hugs for you, The Font, and Sophie.

    ReplyDelete
  29. While I know the heartache of saying goodbye (we have done 3, a 4th went peacefully on his sleep in the sun), it does sound like the perfect way to say good bye.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you for sharing this post with us. So many times the crossing is glossed over and not spoken of but an ending should be done well. Champagne and sunsets and people arriving to say goodbye to a much loved village member. As it should be the world over. :)

    I'm so grateful to our mobile vet for coming out and helping our much loved kitty pass to Rainbow Bridge not very long ago now. What a great gift she gave us, a goodbye in the home she lived in surrounded by the things and people she loved. We were lucky, we did get an extra six years. I wished so much that you would have the same result but it was not to be.

    Keeping a good thought for you all but especially for Sophie.

    ReplyDelete
  31. A lovely goodbye at home with his family and in a beautiful resting place.

    ReplyDelete
  32. My glass in NZ will be raised to Bob tonight... "may Bob update Wilf and Digby about the ones he loved at the ROF and in your village, and then may Bob continue having by adventures with Wilf and Digby happily going places "as yet unkown to us" while continuing the traditons of mischief, best days ever and knowing his, Wilf and Digby's brief presences all made us so aware of love, kindness and magical sunsets/sunrises and all the little things that we would never have seen without them. You were a good dog Bob! You will be missed and always remembered as one of best dogs (who knew a PON could have so much "personality" and so many adventures in such a short time) amongst all the blogs I have followed online."

    ReplyDelete
  33. I return to your post tonight - rereading the gentle relating of events. I look over the photos wishing desperately for the story to have a different ending, tears welling up as they did each time I visited your posts this past week.

    Thinking of Bob - a kind, loving, enthusiastic lover of life - smiling as I consider his impact on me and many others who never met him. Thank you, thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too just again reread the post. We are so broken hearted. Although when I read the post many hours ago and cried, then laughed about the video I thought what a gift Bob gave us that we could still laugh for a moment after the unthinkable happened. Now we worry about Sophie and how she will adjust. To Angus and the Font a big hug.

      Delete
  34. So sorry. Sat here in Nottingham UK in tears so can't imagine how you are feeling. Thank you so much for sharing your daily exploits with us, so many joyful memories to look back on. Hugs to the three of you x

    ReplyDelete
  35. Dear Angus and Font, I can find no words and am still (Sunday 12/1) in a state of utter disbelief. How can it be? I started reading your blog just after Digby died. Watched Wilfee's journey. Sophie's travails. Now this, in only six short years of life. My heart bleeds for your family. My journal is full of "Wilfisms" and "BubnSofieisms" copied from the blog over the years. Such wise Pons. I will never forget your eloquence when Wilfee died: "suddenly the years flare up and are gone, quicker than a minute". Never has it been said better. These dogs are part of my life. I am certain Sophie will rebound - can't keep a Diva down, right? All my love and sympathy to you both. Liz in Oregon

    ReplyDelete
  36. Run free, gentle Bob. I loved you from afar and am so very sad.
    x

    ReplyDelete
  37. I am just now catching up and am just weeping. So unexpected. I am so incredibly sorry for you all with the loss of this wonderfully fine fellow. My sweet boy passed the end of May and my heart is still raw, he was so dear. It will be so difficult for you all, especially Sophie to adjust to the loss. My prayers and thoughts go out to you all. May we all be lucky enough to have earned the love of a dog.

    ReplyDelete