GRAHAM TURNER: Difficult decisions after a trip to the vet

A personal view
A personal view
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A mood of despondency descended on the Turner household this week as the health of our old dog began to fail at an alarming rate.

The poor thing is not very well at all and, apart from being a bit geriatric, we don’t know why.

Dog ANL-141120-094846001

Dog ANL-141120-094846001

A visit to the vet last Friday left him puzzled and us in a limbo of not knowing quite what to do while we faced the weekend-long wait for test results to come back from the lab and to ponder on his rather gloomy prognosis.

I had a lump in my throat as I helped Janet (not my choice of name) into the back of the car – was our 11-year association coming to an end?

Monday came and went and we fretted on, unable to offer any news to our daughter, who has been calling home every evening for an update.

Tuesday did bring a call from the surgery, but there was nothing to ease our worries . . . the results were inconclusive, it could be cancer or a nasty type of inflammation, we’d have to talk to the senior vet tomorrow.

The problem with animals, of course, is that they can’t tell you what’s wrong or how they feel, so you have to trust what the vet tells you. We’ve followed his advice in the past and the syrup he prescribed for ‘leakiness’ did the trick and, more recently, the medicine for her arthritis put a spring back into her step.

But this time, he’s been unable to be so definitive. Having been told that a ‘lump’ on her side is too big to remove, our choices seem limited, especially as our main priority is to make sure she’s not in pain or suffering in any way. More tests, surgery, chemotherapy – what to do for the best?

As you read this, we may have decided, time is not on our side.

All I can hope is that my walking buddy and I will get the chance to enjoy just a few more strolls together.

There is an irony to the worried state I find myself in. When the family decided they wanted a dog, I only agreed on the basis that I wouldn’t have to be involved – early morning walks were a definitite no-no.

Of course, the interest of young children wanes – clearing up after a dog is never a favourite task – so eventually most of the walking, feeding, trips to the vet and even the bathing fell to me, and I’m glad, I mean how else would I have discovered the joys of traipsing up muddy footpaths, in the dark, on a wet November morning at 6am.