National Pet Day: One Year Later

by - 11:08

With it being National Pet Day here in the UK, I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on happier times with my dog, Ollie, before he suddenly died last year. I never really got to say goodbye because I was so reluctant that he was on his way out and constantly refrained from having that special goodbye moment. He was a West Highland Terrier and died at just ten years old, but over those ten years, we really did become the best of friends without a doubt.

It is still really hard coming home after a long day at work or waking up in the morning and not having Ollie run to the door to greet me. When I go out for a steak I have nobody to give the fat to, and I full well know that he is looking down on my whimpering that this big lump of steak fat is going straight into the waste bin.

I thought with today being #NationalPetDay, that I would sure some great times over the ten years we shared. So here it goes, stripped back to the beginning.

The beginning of a great bond
I went with my mum to pick up a West Highland Terrier down West Wales, I can’t remember where exactly but I was only about 10/11 years old. Anyway, my mum gave me advice before choosing which one to bring home with us, “don’t go for the quiet one as they might not be very well”.

Ollie's first picture!

We went in and there were the CUTEST five puppies; one girl and four boys. Straight away I ran over to pick my favourite and I picked the girl, despite being told we could only get a boy, oops. Obviously, me being me, I kicked up a little fuss demanding the dog and with that, I noticed another one and picked up my mum’s car keys and ran to the other end of the pen. That was that. That was my dog.

Some of our great times
While I used to hate coming home from school and not being able to put my pyjamas on straight away, we did actually go on some pretty great walks and it meant that I could explore new places too.

This photo above is me, Adam and Ollie on the top of Caerphilly Mountain in the middle of summer. He was so well behaved off the lead – would always wait for us at the curb, wouldn’t get into fights with other dogs and always wait for us to catch up with him if he felt like we were going too far!

We used to share my bed, which my mum used to hate but I have absolutely no regrets. There is nothing more comforting than waking up and seeing your pooch next to you curled up into a tiny ball snoring away.

Ugh, and back in 2010 when we had a snow day, the snow would literally nearly cover him. He wouldn’t be able to move his poor little legs. So cute!

We went through so many items of clothing and he hated them all. He would just stand there not knowing what to do - one year for Halloween he dressed up as a pumpkin (aw!!!) and honestly he was so confused. He liked this coat because it kept him dry and he probably thought the colour really suited him, duh.

Oh my god!! This was one of his final photos as this was on his last walk. He looks so full of joy and energy and I am so glad we got to experience this little walk together, look at him leap for joy!

Ollie's last few weeks

I came home from uni one time and my dog wasn’t his usual self. He ran to the door to greet me of course, but within seconds he was choking his guts up. I made a massive deal over it freaking out but my parents just looked at him as if it was nothing, making it evident that this had been going on for quite a while.

His energy levels dropped and dropped over the weeks, where was my baby when I’d scream walkies? Slowly walking towards me as if he couldn’t care less whether he went out or not. It really was hard to watch, especially when I knew he was just so young too. There was no way this could have been the end.

Ollie's last photo on our last ever walk!

My auntie looked after him when we all went from holiday and when we went to pick him up she asked us if he had ever had a fit? We were in shock as this had never happened. A few weeks went by, I was back in university by this point, and he had another one on the kitchen floor. My mum assumed it was the pitter patter of his tiny feet on laminate flooring but when she turned around, there he was.

She asked my dad and uncle to take him to the vets, as she knew if they said the worst case scenario that she wouldn’t be able to cope, and off they went. My mum was shocked when they returned with Ollie, but he was booked in for more tests. I was unaware of this entire situation until after he died, I think my parents knew that I’d react badly to is as we really were besties.

Another fit came by and my parents drove him to the vets straight away and ironically, he had another one while at the vets and died. We still don’t know what caused this – it could have been something called Westie Lung Disease or it could have been a brain tumor, but there wouldn’t have been anything the vets could do if it was either of these anyway. We never had the tests back either.

Moral of the Story
If you think your dog, or pet, is unwell or isn’t their usual self, then definitely get them checked out no matter how minor you think it may be. Just like humans, it is always great to spot an illness sooner rather than later, so they can receive the best sort of treatment.

My biggest regret is not saying goodbye to Ollie when I knew he was on his way out and I am annoyed at myself for not listening to my parents when they used to have ‘the talk’ with me about letting him go.

If you do have a pet, really treasure every moment and make the last few days with them the best they can possibly be. While you may only have a dog for part of your life, you were with them the entire of their life.

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