Thursday, January 13, 2011

The invisibility routine.

Wilf sits beside me in the waiting room doing his invisibility routine. The two older vets called out on emergencies. We're left with the prim young Parisienne. Results of the tests read out quickly, in a monotone. Thankfully, no sign of discomfort. Cataracts rapidly clouding his vision. Signs of macular degeneration. High glucose levels. Steroids, insulin and tumour triangulating mischeviously together. She asks if its really worth getting up every three hours through the night to let him out ? The inference clear.

How can you tell someone that an interrupted nights sleep in nothing ? That you'll forever carry a picture of two small white dogs throwing themselves against five masked gunmen ? She sees an old Polish Lowland Sheepdog. I see a hero.

One sentimental old Celt and an old sheepdog sit on the ridge, side by side, watching the sunset marry the mountain and sky. Tomorrow we'll walk these gentle, rolling hills . Unhurried. Together.


  1. I admire you. You have such strength. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Some people just do not understand the bond between a person and an animal. I pity them.

  2. Dammit Angus you make me cry everyday! But I return for my dose of the love, appreciation, pleasure and all you share with us too.
    Dear Wilf. I know he will always be a hero.

  3. Totally agree with you, I know what it is like to get up countless times in the night but I always feel it is worth it. So glad Wilf is hanging on in there and enjoy life still, he is an inspiration as are you and 'The Font'
    Big Love
    Momma Tea

  4. Wilfie,sweet boy.. blowing you kisses from across the pond. Thank-you Angus.
    Fay Ca

  5. I wouldn't allow her near Wilf. How could she suggest such a thing? You will treasure these last moments forever, no doubt about it.

  6. Already weeping as I listen to the memorial service from Tuscon, the scene with sweet Wilf sitting so patiently next to what looks like a child's blue chair and table, while a prim Parisienne shows no sign of understanding how special he and you are, just got to me.

    How could she not be swayed by his dear countenance and the love you and the font show him.

    The service is speaking of heroism. I know from all you have shared with us that Wilf deserves that title.

    xxxxx Joan

  7. I am so sorry. I always expect people who choose a career helping animals to have more compassion. Take care Wilf your people need you.

  8. Perhaps the real question is whether she has the heart to be a vet, because no vet I know would dare infer a question such as that.

  9. Wow, the Parisan Vet sure is a cold person ( I was going to say bitch, but I thought it was a bit harsh).....probably not!
    You and your Hero, together in this journey, where ever that takes you, no matter how far or how long...

  10. Angus, I know how disheartening it can be to have vet visits like this with someone who lacks the needed kindness and compassion that is so important at sensitive times like this...I really hope as I know you do, that Wilf's trusted care takers will be more available in the coming days.

    Your post reminded me of something I read a while back--Perhaps you've seen it before, but in case you haven't, I hope you don't mind that I've pasted it below.

    'Just a Dog'

    From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a dog," or, "that's a lot of money for just a dog." They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a dog."

    Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a dog." Many hours have passed and my only company was "just a dog," but I did not once feel slighted.

    Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a dog," and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

    If you, too, think it's "just a dog," then you will probably understand phases like "just a friend," "just a sunrise," or "just a promise." "Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.

    Because of "just a dog" I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a dog" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

    "Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

    I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just a dog" but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a human."

    So the next time you hear the phrase "just a dog." just smile, because they "just don't understand."

    Authored by Richard A. Biby

  11. oh angus! we are horrified that a veterinarian could make such a think that because wilf poses a mere inconvenience the effort should not be put forth...we are disgusted!

  12. She cannot be a good vet if she does not have heart no matter how brilliant she may be. Hope you'll get to see the older vets the next time you are there.

    My love to dear Wilf.

  13. Good Dog.
    From sentimental old Celt to another.
    Fie on that vet.

  14. Oh my yes, as long as there is no major discomfort - exactly what is this woman besides a sorry excuse for a vet? To equate a shortened sleep night to the lifelong love of a trusted, faithful and caring 4-legged companion - one who puts his trust and belief in you - that you will do whatever is needed for his comfort. How could she ever think even one shortened night of sleep could possibly be reason to cut short what are some of Wilf's best days? When I FINALLY made that decision a few years ago for my Angel Oreo, it was not his incontinence that was the reason - it was because one day I looked into his eyes and he was telling me that he was ready after 16+years.

    I am so very thankful that Wilf has you to love and care for him - you both are so very fortunate to have each other.
    Kim (Mom Beaglebratz)

    P.S. - Do I see a look of contempt on sweet Wilf's face?

  15. There will come a day in that young woman's life when she will understand the value of something dear to her heart. She obviously hasn't felt a connection that has touched her the way many of us have. Wilf is a hero to many of us, not only because of his courage one night in Italy, but also because of the gentle courage that he faces every day with as old age creeps up.

    Ah, we well understand the invisibility routine! Blueberry thought, mistakenly, that hiding her head at the vet's office last night would make everything go away. The big splint on her foot tells a different story.

    The best gift in the world is someone to "just be" with, in my opinion.

  16. there's more than one hero in this story...Wilfee for being such a brave, strong soul, and you (& the font) for loving such a brave, strong soul.

    wags, wiggles & slobbers

  17. Interrupted nights of sleep mean absolutely nothing - and everything. WE have sat holding a paw, rubbing an ear, excusing the accidents of an elder dog - all because they have given us a lifetime of love and ask only for a little help toward the end of the journey. We understand.

  18. F--- the young prim Parisienne. Our hero lives on.

  19. that vet makes me angry! how dare she! does she not understand anything?

    we are proud of Wilf for hanging in there and being tough and strong and funny and good and fluffy. and we're proud of you for caring for him the way that he deserves.

  20. It is amazing and distressing to me to be unable to see the sorrows, joys and memories others carry, sustaining them through tough times. Your last paragraph is perfect. Hero and Celt. Thank you so much for sharing.

  21. We have a word for people like her.

  22. I get up at 2.30am every night/morning to take our thirteen year old Cocker Spaniel out for a quick walk around the garden so he can leave his notes on the bushes. If I had to get up every three hours, I would do it. He, like Wilf, has begun the gentle good-bye. Fortunately our vets are helping us give him quality time with no pain. He could indeed surprise us all and last out the year. But we find how happy it makes us to keep Cooper comfortable. We too relish the quiet walks to the park. He is allowed up on the bed to snuggle and he has an electric pad now for his bed on the floor. Our only regret, Cooper came to us from the pound's death row when he was 9 years old. We wish we could have had those years with him but the last four years have been rich. You keep Wilf close. That Paris vet needs to lose the paperwork and sit down on the floor with Wilf and really see the patient. Perhaps someday she will..

  23. I an't believe she asked you that!

    Your final paragraph gave me goose bumps. I'll be walking with you two in spirit.


  24. w00fs, i read this earlier, but did not believe my eyes...that this so called animal care giver could b so cold...she has not one ounce of compassion in her..she is in the wrong profession..Just the picture of Wilf waiting so patiently can teach more than she could ever learn..He trust u, with all his being...that person will never know a love such as that...

    b safe,
    the Hudson Furkids

  25. Such an uncaring attitude for a vet! Wilf is not just a hero, he's your hero!

  26. We totally understand. So does our 87 year old gramma. We wish everyone understood. But not everyone does. Clearly.

    Jake and Fergi and OurMoma
    OurGramma and AngelAndy and AngelChloe, too

  27. How could she..has she no heart?
    I don't understand hew, but soo undewstand you and youw love fow Wilf.
    We will be thinking of you togethew, watching that sky and those hills and the love passing back and fowth
    We awe thewe with you in ouw heawts
    smoochie kisses
    ASTA and Mommi

  28. Love and loyalty: how rich the lives that know it, how poor the lives that don't. We'll bet on the loving, loyal Celt and the loving, loyal Pon over the frigid, loveless Frog any day.

    Jed & Abby

  29. Oh I can't believe a vet can say such a thing! Hasn't she ever experienced the love of a dog or a cat?
    Let's hope Wilf and you can go on for many wonderful days, and nights.
    And I already knew Wilf was special, but I did not know he and his brother were such heroes!

  30. What a sad life the young vet must lead. To not know the love and loyalty of another is no life at all.

    Much love to Wilf, from his loyal global pack.

  31. Your are quite right>I would do exactly the same.Carry on! We are all with you!!

  32. Dear Wilf is so fortunate to have an owner who is absolutely clear about his loyalties. I know from experience with Hamish how hard it can be to deal with an unsympathetic vet - on the final night of the wee Westie's life, and repeated phone calls to the emergency vet, the vet said 'look don't phone me again unless you've decided to have him put down'.
    Extra hug to Wilf please.

  33. Well that brought tears to the eyes. Wilf is such a dear soul - I wasn't aware of his hero qualities too but he and his brother clearly guarded you bravely for which you will always be grateful.

    That you will do anything for him is something for which he will always be grateful.

    The 'just a dog' by Richard A Biby (in the comments) is so true.

    Love the picture of the invisibility routine. Sorry Wilf, but we can see you!

  34. Don't worry about the young vet's inferences, as you and Wilf both know there is still more precious time to spend together.

  35. Every day I have a look to see how dear old Wilf is doing...a big cuddle for him from all of us here.

  36. Not all dog owners are as kind, loving and devoted as you and for some this would be the end and all they would need is a gentle suggestion.

    A neighbour had a diabetic dog and one very cold December night they took her to the field only a few yards from their house and left her there, knowing she would not be able to find her way back because of her eyesight. They fetched her body the next morning. They were fed up with looking after a sick dog.
    The Parisienne vet's suggestion would have been a lot better for her.

  37. Hello sweet Wilf. I am very happy to have happened upon your bloggie. Your such a cutie!

    Painter Pack

  38. that vet ought to question her career choice..sending a big hug to you all....xx

  39. Thought vets were supposed to have compassion.....obviously something is missing with that one! No wonder Wilf tries to be invisible.

    Give him a tousle and croissant from us.

    XXXOOO Daisy, kendra & Bella

  40. I agree - he is a hero and I am so glad that his family remembers this - you are wonderful.
    Wishing you strength and courage and joy walking your path. Love Susanne Daisy and Foxiie
    I hope the other vets are back - I would avoid this lady.

  41. That vet should have become a proctologist as clearly she has her head up her *ss. Let's hope she never has a baby to interrupt her precious sleep needing to be fed every three hours ( or an elderly parent to care for). Though after reading Jean's comment about those horrible neighbors...

    You and Wilf have such a loving, trusting bond; I'm certain that explains why he has baffled this vet's original prognosis for so long. And this is from a very sentimental middle-aged half Celt!

    When you get a chance, pick up a copy of the marvelous book "The Art of Racing in the Rain," written from a wise old dog's point of view. Time well-spent.

  42. The vet has no heart! Lost sleep is not as important as time spent with a loved one!

    You are all in my prayers.

    In Very Snowy (again) Boston

  43. Wilf: Next time christen the vet's feet !! I know what it's like, I forget to tell mom that I need to go to the garden, but, they are very patient with an old dog. Keep on trucking my friend.


  44. This vet should seek out another profession, one that requires no feeling or compassion would be well suited for her. We are with you, every step of the way...

    Blessings and Love,
    Janelle and Maggie Mae

  45. I am angry, really angry. I don't know if I am going to say this right but If this vet has it in her mind that Wilf is not worth 'saving" do you think that she is going to put maximum thought and effort into his care? I went through something like this almost exactly one year ago with my 87 year old mum who has Alzheimer's. The doctors felt because of her age and Alzheimers she should be let go. She received such indifferent, sub-standard care, bungled care, that she almost died. See only a vet/doctor that believes in what they are doing. Wasnt this the vet that gave him only 3 days to live? Kind of shows you where her thoughts on how to manage him might be coming from.
    I am a lady of a certain age, so I will say what the others are dancing around. That vet is a bitch.

  46. Long goodbyes are so bitter-sweet and yet like you, so many of us who have been in similar circumstances would never change a thing nor would we have altered one second of our lives spent with a wonderful dog. That vet stinks.

    Hugs to all and thanks to Kim at Golden Pines; the quote made my day.

  47. I see why you don't like that vet. She obviously has no clue how to read people and their level of love for their dogs. I couldn't agree more - nights of interrupted sleep are nothing at all compared to the days together that you and Wilf are having. He is far more than "Just a dog" as Kim wrote.

    Enjoy your amble in the rolling hills today - together.

  48. Wilf looks like a guy with a deep soul. If it's not apparent to the vet, perhaps he needs the examination hisself.

    PS- you are not invisible to us Wilf!

  49. It is a harsh inference. But it would have given an easier 'out' to a lesser person. She was giving you a gift of sorts.
    God Bless you both!

  50. Our thoughts & prayers are with you & Wilf. Enjoy every single day with him, & treasure each moment. Do not give another thought to the careless comment by an unfeeling vet. Please know we've followed his & Digby's blog for a very long time, and we love him so much! Hope you can feel our hugs around you from New York State, USA. God Bless!!
    Diane & "Jack" the cat

  51. I made it as far as 'watching the sunset marry the mountain and sky' before the tears came. And then boy did they come. So beautiful.

  52. Do they not teach compassion at vet school?! Or is this vet just a moron? UGH. What a thing to say.
    I haven't commented in a while, but have been reading Wilf's continued journey.
    The bond you two share is amazing. We're keeping you all in our thoughts.
    Big hugs and giant Dane kisses from Seattle!

  53. Tears welled up in my eyes this morning. I do not like that vet at all. She would have received a piece of my New Jersey mind if she looked me in the eye and asked that question. Even if you had to get up more than 3 times it is worth it to keep your faithful companion. All is still well. Many hugs to Wilf the Hero (and Angel Digby)! xoxo

  54. I'm sorry: I'm thinking some very unkind thoughts towards that Parisienne. I would complain/inform the other partners about her bedside manner, or rather lack thereof. It's bad enough that you have to face your old friend's leaving so soon -- you don't need someone without any compassion telling you in so many words to "hurry up and get on with it." Ugh. :( Do your vets make house calls? Maybe when the time comes, one of the nice ones could come to the rickety old farmhouse. I pray it won't be that cold and uncaring so-and-so from Paris.

    My thoughts are with you and dear old Wilf, the Hero.

    Wishing you peace, and more strolls in the hilly countryside.

    Purple Magpie (formerly Miz Minka) in California

  55. As Winnie celebrates her 12th birthday this month I find myself extremely grateful, oh how grateful that she continues to be a healthy, happy, agile & hungry dog. But I know we're on the back side now and I find myself treasuring ever moment, every loud snoring whistle she emits from her bed under my desk, every happy grin on her scraggly face as we trudge through the snow on our morning walks. Every little tiny thing about her. She is my best friend, my hero ... my strength, my deepest love. I cannot imagine life without her ... but that's not where our thoughts should wander, our thoughts should only wander with them, beside them until that moment. Writing this makes my heart ache. Enjoy your walks.

    Much love xoxo Winnie & Susan

  56. ...We haven't commented in a while but visit daily...You are there for each other, and see in each other's eyes the very same thing--neither ready to part yet...and yes, it is worth it.

  57. That comment by the prim one just made my blood boil! How dare she even suggest?!?! Of course the trips outside are worth it, every single waking minute whether it be in the dark of night or the light of day. You should have asked her the question right back.

    For what it is worth, enjoy your time with Wilf, sit on that ridge and contemplate the mysteries of life and the next serving of sausage, because at the end of the day, that's what it is all about. Isn't it?

    With lots of love from your Canadian pals,
    Dianna along with Tor, Willow and Tucker

  58. That second photo - his eyes seem to say "We're in this together, you and me. I trust you." You are both heroes.

  59. That woman clearly doesn't have a clue - makes one SO angry! I vowed to never go back to a vet with that kind of attitude after a horrible experience with one of my Yorkies a couple of years ago. I've even slept at the vet's clinic for two nights with one of my sick dogs - I just knew that leaving her there all alone would increase the stress levels and make things worse. Always follow your own gut feeling and your own heart when it comes to your dog - you know him best and that vet should consider becoming a motor mechanic, she won't need to have feelings of any kind in that field.

    My thoughts and prayers remain with you and your Wilf - he's so lucky to have your family as his humans.

  60. I have been following your blog now for a year since a friend of mine showed it to me. I so enjoy reading about your adventures and Wilf's. I wish you and your family the best in his continued well being. The vet is cold hearted and should remember why she became a vet, which is to help animals, not malign them or their owners. You have my utmost respect and admiration for giving your beloved dog the best for as long as you can.

  61. The Parisienne vet definitely chose the wrong career path. We are so sorry you have to see the wretched woman.

    Kisses to Wilf

    Molly, Taffy and Monty

  62. Of COURSE it is worth it! (When our standard poodle was diagnosed with incurable cancer, some moron asked why we didn't put him down immediately. Uh. Mr. Moron, if you get cancer, can we just shoot you? *shakes head*)

    *hugs to both of you*
    -Liz, Fiona and Family

  63. Angus,I am so sorry to read your blog today. I have an enormous lump in my throat and am trying to write this with tears in my eyes!
    Wilf reminds me of my pon,Roo. I am sure you will have more good days to come. I would only see the vets in the practice that you feel most comfortable with. Your little hero deserves nothing but the best.
    Remember... Sleepless nights are followed by treasured extra days of pon love.
    Please give Wilf a big hug and kiss for me.

    Bev and Roo XXXX

  64. We love you (both) and send our best wishes and hopes for a gentle life always. That vet was a moron, oui?!
    Smooches from pooches,
    BabyRocketDog and Hootie

  65. Every time I read about Wilf-the-wonderful I just want to kiss hime all over. You both are facing this crisis with such dignity that is makes me tear-up.

  66. Shame on the vet for her lack of compassion and understanding.

    Every moment is precious.

    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx

  67. What a touching post - yes, our dogs are truly important in our lives - and yes, getting up every 3 hours is not a big deal...

    With thoughts & prayers,
    Nadine & Neeli
    Angel doggie Apples (1994-2010)

  68. After a question like that, you have to wonder why that lady even bothered to become a vet. Of COURSE it's worth getting up in the night with your dog!

    While I'm sure you're exhausted at not being able to have uninterupted sleep, at least you still have Wilf and that's all that matters.

  69. Yes, there may be interrupted sleep, but love trumps all. It is sad that the Parisienne has never understood the power of love and family.

  70. I recently lost my dearest friend, Grace, my cat who lived to be almost 20. She disappeared down to almost nothing in the last few months of her life - just a warm little package of fur. In defense of that much criticized vet, I have to say that the very best thing about veterinary care as opposed to human care is that you have a choice. The time for your choice for Wilf hasn't come yet, but I was very thankful that with Grace, on that last day, when she slumped against a wall, unable to breathe while laying down, I was able to make the choice to let her go peacefully, in my arms, without further suffering for her.