We had to put down our old lab, Orak, on Friday. He was 14 and two weeks old, a very calm and dignified old trouper, he had been a guide dog until nearly 3 years ago when we were lucky enough to have him come to live with us. He went from being very much a city dog, flying from Melbourne to Queensland when his blind owner travelled for holidays, to a life on a farm, a life with all the smells and sounds of the countryside. He ran beside the quad bike with our young retriever, until running became an effort, then he walked, then he walked slowly until the time came when he didn't want to walk much at all, certainly not when we wanted him to go for a walk, only when he felt he had to check on what was going on in the garden. His arthritis made his life very difficult, but there was never a whimper as he lay down or got up, just the picture without words. The only way I knew how painful it was was when I gently touched his poor old back leg, he would flinch.
We made this tough decision having watched him growing weaker, life more tricky. But it is such a difficult thing to do, to take one's trusting animal on that last journey. Much as I believed it was the kindest thing to do the tears came as we opened the door into the vet's surgery. The vet, a lovely girl, with her equally lovely offsider, were loving and caring as they helped Orak to leave his body. We had to have a little chuckle though as he went....the girls gave him treats to eat as they prepared everything....and being a lab, having a lab's appetite, he ate until this last second. What better way for a lab to go.
He has been such a wonderful part of our family including our grandchildren. Here are Sophie's pictures which I love, the first, happy, shows us with our other dog, Bear and their little Minnie. The second drawing says it all....
I'm glad she placed flowers there for him!
And one last photo, our two dogs together. They always lay close to each other so you can imagine Bear is very quiet at the moment. We will have family with us for the next ten days or so and this will be good for him.
Orak, we miss you but know you have gone from dog heaven here with us to the real dog heaven in the sky. Run free!