Today was one of those days I will remember for all the wrong reasons.
Sue and I had our beautiful dog; Tilly, a lovely golden cocker spaniel from just a few weeks old. It seems like moments ago that Sue picked out the tiny little golden ball from the litter of pups from the breeder in Stoke On Trent. Those moments were in fact, nine years ago last November.
I'm not really an animal person at all, but Tilly wasn't an animal, she was a member of out family. She was so beautiful that we would be stopped by virtually anybody and everybody who would want to stroke and pet Tilly, commenting on her gorgeous curly coat, and daft mop of curly hair on the top of her head that looked like an 80s footballer's perm.
Tilly was the only other female in our house and was Sue's best friend. She loved and respected me, but doted on and snuggled up to Sue. Tilly was just always there. Everyone loved her and everyone commented on her beautiful, gentle nature. She loved Sue and the kids, and I know she loved me.
Tilly hadn't been well and the last week was particularly bad. All of her verve and life just seemed to slip away and she was so obviously uncomfortable. We knew that she wasn't well, but were totally unexpected for the unfolding events of today.
We took Tills to the vet this morning and were told to come back in the afternoon as there was a mass in her body that the vet could feel.
At around 4pm we were told that Tilly had cancer of the spleen and that it was virtually inevitable that this had spread to the liver. We were given the option of an exploratory operation, but told that it was highly likely that se wouldn't be woken again.
We were really presented with no option other than to put her to sleep today, or Monday. Tilly hadn't eaten since Tuesday and was vomiting regularly. There wasn't any way I wanted her to suffer until Monday. It just seemed cruel to prolong the agony. The worst of it was that the vets surgery would close within the hour or so.
We hot footed it across to the surgery and Sue was in bits. I did everything I could to hold it together as I drove to the vets surgery. We both knew exactly what we had to do and it seemed so awful and bizzare, yet the only option that we had.
When we saw Tilly, it was so obvious that she was so happy to see us, we held her as she slipped away, and it was just the worst, and awfully, the only thing to do. This beautiful dog, one of our best friends had been there with us through good and bad times - and in an instant she was gone. We were left alone with her, and Sue and I knew we would see her one last time, and then we would have to go.
We'll miss her terribly, Sue's eyes have been stinging from the tears and I'm doing all I can to hold it in as I write this post about her. The space in the corner of the room where Tilly always sat seems so empty, and the space by the side of the bed will be equally empty. The house was never empty when we were here on our own, Tilly would follow you around, her tail perpetually wagging and enthusiastic. She will leave a huge hole in our hearts.
Goodbye old mate. We'll miss you terribly.