Our family dog died while we were on holiday last week. He had been ill for a couple of weeks before we went, and he had only been discharged from pet hospital five days prior to us leaving. I had to take him for a check-up on the morning before we set off to the Solway Coast, our location for a peaceful week away. I think he wanted to go on his own terms. When he first got admitted to the pet hospital, the vet advised us to euthanise our boy because he was seriously ill and didn’t seem able to fight the infection or inflammation that he had contracted. He decided otherwise, however, and made a seemingly miraculous recovery. We took him on holiday as planned, but it was a long week with sleepless nights as we nursed him, and stressful days as we tried to coax him to eat through a syringe. He was very weak, and he was ready to leave this world, but he did get one last visit to the beach, one last paddle in the sea, and one last family day trip on a steam train, which is something he loved to do.
This week my family and I are in mourning. We have been looking at photos and videos, remembering all our special times with Baxter. He was a brilliant dog. He came to us from a local rescue centre in Stoke-on-Trent and had been found in North Wales. Nobody wanted to consider him because he looked scruffy, but on that fateful day, my mum told me to come and look at a dog that stole her heart. Although she already had a dog at home that didn’t like company, she told me if I didn’t take this big bundle of fur home with me, then she would. He was so gentle, quiet and cuddly that I couldn’t refuse. Baxter came home, and our lives were forever changed for the better. Now the house is too quiet, the garden feels empty, and I miss my boy following me everywhere as I do my chores. He used to sit pressed against my legs while I worked on my laptop, or he would watch me from the sofa. He would sit in his basket in the kitchen while I washed dishes and sorted laundry, and he was always there to catch bits of food that dropped when I prepared meals. Our doggy dustbin is no more. We will always remember him, and when the time is right, we will open our hearts to another homeless dog who needs a family. Baxter will guide us. Farewell my gorgeous boy. Go and play with your animal friends over the rainbow bridge. We will always love you.
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