Sunday, February 6, 2011

Not bittersweet just tender.

Here we are, sixteen weeks into what was a three day prognosis. Wilf has gone through his whole life refusing to be hurried. He's not going to change now. Wilful by name. Wilful by nature.

He's lost a little more weight this week - the tumour. His eyesight becoming cloudier - the diabetes. Smell rather than vision his principal guide. Each evening we move the decorators scaffolding to the side of the hallway so that he can find his way, uninterrupted and unsurprised, to the front door.

The twice daily insulin injections are working well. The four in the morning pit stop a fixed part of his routine. The rest of his night spent in contented slumber.

Most afternoons we try to take him somewhere new for a walk. His pace may be slow but his zest for life is fuelled by fresh scents and textures. He acts as if there's a bottomless seam of mischief still to be mined. Dog and laughter ; interchangeable words.

Wilf used to be a fiercely independent fellow. A ' give me a tickle if you must but I'd prefer a bone ', type of dog. 100% boy. Now, on the dot of ten each night, he plants himself down squarely in front of me to signal that it's time for some lengthy, under the chin, reassurance. Gentle changes.

There is something special about these days. Where we see an SUV about to burst into flames, Wilf sees an opportunity to befriend firemen and get biscuits. Right until the very end communication with a dog is a two way street. The PON maxim : We should give meaning to life, not wait for life to give us meaning '. Not bittersweet. Just tender.


  1. Spending time with our old dogs - our dogs who are preparing to leave us one day - can be immensely sad or they can be a lesson to us mere humans that our animal companions do some of life's most difficult tasks with a measure of grace beyond human comprehension.

  2. You are so right. We have a 14 year old lurcher cross who continues to find joy in every day despite her gradual slowing down. She is totally deaf and partially sighted but, like you, we make sure that everything is in its right place so she is not surprised. Surprises can be painful for Rosie Mae! Like Wilf, she too has become far more loving with the rest of the family, rather than just my husband who is Top Dog. So we are finally getting a look in!

    Wilf is gorgeous and I love visiting your blog.

    Thank you.

  3. Wilf continues to make us smile and be amazed.

    XXXOOO Daisy, kendra & Bella

  4. Sending love to Wilf and his family from across the miles. I so love to see that big shaggy face grace my computer screen. I can only imagine the joy and serenity it brings in person.

    Much love to you, dear Wilf.

  5. We are with you in this Angus!
    Sending lotsaluv to you all ...and lots of strength too.

  6. Twelve weeks. Twelve GREAT weeks because of a great canine attitude about life. We learn so much from our canine friends, but mostly we learn to enjoy the NOW and not to worry about the FUTURE.

  7. Every day of the twelve weeks has been special also to us - all our fingers and paws crossed for Wilf.
    Wishing you always endless days of grace - love the fotos, especially the one with his toy.
    Love form Italy profonde Susanne Daisy and Foxiie

  8. You've got us, Angus. Leaking tears here.
    Maybe the evenings reassurance is going both ways. Maybe reassurance is something Wilf needs to give, and can give, to you. "It's ok, dad".
    "There are no seventy year old dogs" my father used to say. Boundless love comes with inevitable heartbreak when we choose to love "someone" more temporal than ourselves.

  9. Angus, you sure know how to make a girl cry.

    As I read this, I was thinking that it's a good thing that getting a puppy right after Digby passed didn't work out. If you had a puppy, you could not devote all of this time to Wilf and you both need this now - such a wonderful experience in living for you both.

  10. Beautifully written sentiments, Angus. No doubt these past three months have taught all of us the art of living in the moment, "neither looking back to what was or looking forward in dread or anticipation" to paraphrase Anne Morrow Lindburgh. I read something just yesterday that once again mentioned that dogs's eyesight is not particularly good and they are much more dependent on their keen sense of smell--and I suppose when you look at Old English sheepdogs and Pulis, among other breeds whose hair covers much of their eyes, that's quite true. So worry a bit less about sweet Wilf's vision. He seems utterly content in today's photos!

  11. Three days parlayed into three months, and still gamely & gracefully living each day to the fullest. Time & presence: your gifts to each other.

    Jed & Abby

  12. Hello Angus! You continue to remind me that each day with our beloved companions is a treasured gift and should be treated that way.

  13. what a beautiful post...thank you for letting us all follow wilf and you all on this journey..i feel like there is a crocodile file of us linked across the world weaving our way to your corner of france every day...xx

  14. Your post is so touching. Every step of the journey is to be cherished.

    Even in independent young dogs, your words ring true. Yesterday, R wasn't feeling well - an upset tummy. I lay down next to him and he snuzzled and snuggled up against me, soaking up reassurance.

    Wilf teaches us so many nuggets of wisdom.

  15. this journey with Wilf has brought so much insight and wisdom. Your outlook on life is refreshing, and Wilf's continued enjoyment of his surroundings a blessing. Although the final outcome will bring tears to many of our eyes, his journey brings laughs and warms our hearts

    wags, wiggles & slobbers

  16. Psst Wilf: That's why we're still here, for reassurance and to teach the humans to live each day.


  17. I am new (a month) to your blog, but it is a wonderful lesson to us all. Thank you.

    Jo and Stella

  18. I have heart knowledge of what you feel. There's nothing in the world like that special, unique bond. I awoke this morning, sharing my pillow with Edward, my arm draped over his chest like the big Panda bear I used to sleep with when I was little. When he climbed up with me, I couldn't say. But we both were comforted and comfortable. And very warm.

    These days with Wilf are incredibly sweet. May they last a long time.

  19. I agree with you! In some ways, the days we spend with an old dog pays back some of the mischief we went through in younger days. I never tire of Wilf's wisdom -- or yours, M'Ongoose!

  20. I so agree with Scout and Freya.Spending time with our dogs who are preparing to leave us can be immensely sad or they can be a lesson to us - it also shows how little vets know sometimes..

    My friend's labrador lived another six months with a prognosis of six weeks.. what do we know?

    I think we are all grateful for Wilf his life.
    Much love

  21. Such love between you. Sending woofs to Wilf and thinking of you all.

  22. We will continue to be here, every step of the way...

    Blessings and Love,
    Janelle and Maggie Mae

  23. we are humbled by wilfs strength, bittersweet... maybe... but its your tenderness that we think has given him the courage to continue his gift of love to you xxxxx

  24. So true...Wilf has taught us all a lot and we can say (as people said about my husband) that they would strive to be 'More like Mike'...

  25. Enjoy your days with Wilf,my little tibetan terrier died last monday and I am so sad. Although she also had diabetes she was managing very well.she was suddenly struck down by a bad bout of colitis. I thought she would recover, she was going about her usual bustling ways last sunday within 12hours , she had died. She would have been eight today. Wilf makes me laugh. You are lucky to have each other. anne

  26. Continue to enjoy each day to the full Wilf; you are such a special boy.

    Molly, Taffy and Monty

  27. wilf
    You awe my hewo fow so many things, not least in teaching me how to live life to the fullest
    thank you
    smoochie kisses

  28. We did not know Wilf long when we read about his sickness. In fact, we only found your blog when Digby just crossed the rainbow bridge.

    As we journey with you we have come to value each moment we have with Wilf and with each of the piappies as well as our furry bloggie pals. We make it a point to visit your blog everyday even if we have not been able to post on our blog regularly. Seeing Wilf's wonderful photos and reading your posts always bring a smile to our day.

    We continue to have our paws crossed for Wilf!

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai, Wai-Max & Forgie

  29. Give him a chin stroke from me please!

  30. Your perspectives continue to fuel us ... thank you so much for sharing your moments and days, snippets of thought and general philosophies. We are richer because of you.

    Jake and Fergi and Family

  31. I've missed you, Angus and Wilf! I've often wondered how Wilf has been, finally have the time to check in.