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Worcester, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Born in the year of the Coronation, I'm a Baby Boomer. In April of this year I decided I too would have a Diamond Jubilee celebration and completely change my life and that of my Husband's in the process

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Goodbye To You My Trusted Friend.

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This week was a sad time. I’ve mentioned before that our dog, Harper, was not well, suffering from Senile Dementia. We've done our best to keep him going and he 's been on anti-depressants and Valium for months.

Mostly he has slept during the day but he’s been waking us at around 5am. He wanted to go outside, but he wouldn’t go back to sleep and would spend two or three hours crying before he would settle down again. One of us would have to stay with him and walk around the house with him until he settled.

Tuesday there seemed to be a change, he was more confused than usual and when he walked he was dragging one front and one hind leg. He also slept even more than usual. He woke us at 3.30am on Wednesday and nothing would pacify him. We knew that it wasn’t fair to keep him going any longer. Mike went to work and this had the result of Harper walking into the bathroom and crying at the toilet. I phoned the Vet and made an appointment.

The nurses who work at our Vet’s are wonderful and were sad to see Harper come in for his last visit but they agreed this was the kindest thing for him. He stood with his face against the wall as if he had no idea where he was.

It’s strange but I don’t feel too sad now he is gone, the worst part was making the decision. I think really that his doggy life ended about a year ago and that I’d gradually got used to him not responding to anything. It was as if we no longer had a dog, he wasn’t up to his walks anymore, the most he could manage was a slow shamble around the Crescent, which would make him out of breath.

Harper lived with us for 14 years and we had him as a ‘Rescue’ when he was about 12 months old. He was found, with a badly broken front leg and when we first had him the leg was still plastered, it wasn’t certain whether the leg could be saved. Luckily it healed well and he rarely showed any signs of the injury.

We don’t know what happened to Harper before he came to us but I don’t think he had been well treated. He could be quite badly behaved and Mike and I have both been bitten by him in the past.

But he has been good fun, with his strange character quirks.

In the summer we often have hot air balloons fly over. Harper hated them. As soon as he heard the gas burner, he’d be off running up and down the length of the garden, barking his head off. One summer’s evening, as the sun was starting to get low in a misty sky, he mistook it for a balloon and went mad at it, which was very funny to see.

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Harper had certain words that he didn’t like and we don’t know why. They were words that just came out in conversation and Harper’s reaction to them was surprising to say the least. These words were ‘Coroner, Elgar and Ja Ja Binks (a Star Wars character). His response to these words was always the same. He would do a deafening, high pitched, bark, which would set all the, glass, china even the fireplace ringing with the sound of it. I’m ashamed to admit we would use these words sometimes to show visitors his ‘party piece’ although it didn’t seem to upset him, he always seemed like he was doing it with a smile on his face and a sense of being a clever boy.

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You could never be sure what he wouldn’t like. I will never forget the day he caught sight of a man up the road who had his head under the bonnet (hood) doing some maintenance on his car. Harper walked around our sitting room on his two hind legs, so he could get a better view, looking rather like ‘Skippy The Kangaroo‘, whilst barking wildly. He obviously thought the car was attacking the man.

He’d didn’t like people being on horseback either, which could prove difficult when out walking him. Many’s the time I’ve had to leap into a ditch , or behind a bush with him before he noticed an approaching horse, leaving Mike to explain to the bewildered rider our suspicious looking behaviour.

Our cat, Merlin, is missing him as he was very attached to Harper much to Harper’s disgust. Merlin would follow him around the garden, jumping up to nuzzle him under the chin. They would walk to the pond and have a look at that and then carry on to the bottom of the garden to have a look at the brook. They would stand side by side but Harper always gave the impression of being embarrassed by his feline companion and would try to walk away, Merlin never took the hint and would stay glued to his side. Yet Harper obviously had a fondness for Merlin and would go and cry at the back door to let us know when Merlin wanted to come in. I’ve had some very deep, searching looks from Merlin since Wednesday.

Thank you Harper for all the pleasure you gave us, there'll never be another quite like you.

 

 

17 comments:

tellsg said...

Ah Linda, its so difficult to make that final appointment isn't it.   I remember being there with my old dog Fang, who was a blue merle collie.  I always hoped that he would go in his sleep but it was not to be.  I had him since his birth, our other dog Lady had him.  Even typing about him still brings tears to my eyes and he has been gone at least 15 years.  I think we try to put off the inevitable but the time comes when it can go on no longer.  Really its the kindest thing, its a shame that we cannot do this with humans though.  It must have been so distressing for you to see Hunter so confused and frightened with his dementia, particularly recently.  Try to hold on to the fact that Hunter had a lovely home with you after his real bad beginning in life and all those happy memories of his little ways (even the biting!).  Hugs.  Terry x

beckiepainton said...

Im so sorry you lost your poor harper, he seemed quite a charactor.Dogs are more than pets they really do become your best friends, i still miss my dogs scooby snd ghost although they passed away years ago.Seems we are all not having much luck with our pets, lets hope things improve!At least Harper is at rest now.Bless him.love Beckie.xx

jeadie05 said...

What a character Harper was ,It must seem very strange in your house now ,even though it was the kindest thing to do ,you still feel some guilt ,Im sure where ever he is he's telling every one what a wonderful life he had with his amazing family ...love Jan xx

jckfrstross said...

i am so sorry about Harper:( It is always so hard to make that final appt. we had our first dog cocoa when we got married she was 14 when we had to put her down. It was the hardest thing we had to do. But it was for the best she wasn't suffering any more. I bet your cat does miss Harper. ours did. I couldn't stand it I was the first one home and i would cry. so a couple of months i went to the humane society and got our next dog Stoker he is a terrier mix. Will you get another dog? Have a good weekend:)

Deb

ukgal36 said...

That was a lovely tribute to a lovely dog.. he sounds like he was quite the character!! We lost our cocker Spaniel earlier this year ..he was with us for 14 years...i swear i still hear his howling sometimes..he is buried at the bottom of the garden...you have some great pics of Harper..he sure was gorgeous...
Lyn

midwestvintage said...

 So sorry about Harper, what a beautiful dog and a wonderful tribute to him.

                         Julie

sylviam4000 said...

A beautiful goodbye to a trusted friend. I really enjoyed this entry. Lost my last dog, a collie called Maddy, on Boxing Day 2005. Still miss her, dogs really can be man's best friend. Take care.
Sylvia x
http://journals.aol.co.uk/Sylviam4000/YeOldeEnglishPosy/

susanebunn said...

Oh Linda, what a wonderful fairwell to your darling dog, Harper.  He was almost human with his little quirks and strong personality.  Your pictures are just beautiful.  I am sure that he is so relieved to be freed of that body and constant confusion.  Thank you for sharing all of these fond memories with us and the pictures that show all the love and enjoyment this special dog brought into your life.  

Love,
Susie
http://journals.aol.co.uk/susanebunn/ItAllStartsAfter50/

harperhome4 said...

Linda (& Mike)
Sister Ali told me about your blog when I saw her at Christmas but I have only just got around to having a look! Sorry to hear about 'Harper', we lost our cat, Charlie, few weeks ago and it cost me a fortune to cheer up Harriet, Maddie, ( and Vicky!) so I understand how upsetting it can be!.
Believe it or not I am still buzzing from my party and was truly touched that you made the effort to travel so far for the occasion. One of my closest friends in Worcester is Mike's number 1 fan, (rather like Cathy Bates in the film 'Misery'). He couldn't make the party and was gutted when he missed the opportunity to meet his hero!
Yours is the first blog I have viewed and I can see why it can become quite addictive. I particularly enjoyed seeing all your photos of the family. I will be checking in regularly and look forward, hopefully, to seeing you both at the picnic in the Summer.
Wishing you a Happy New Year!
Love Nick  

wobblymoo said...

What a great tribute to Harper, and what a gorgeous looking dog xxx

wldconnie said...

So sorry  to hear about harper...it is always sad to lose someone you love. Will you get another dog do you think?Love Conniex

princesssaurora said...

{{{{{{  Linda }}}}}}}  I am so sorry for your loss.  Harper sounds like he was truly a special and sweet soul...and you gave him such a lovely tribute, I feel I know him now too.  May he rest in his newfound peace, and frolic and play until you join him again someday.  I am sending prayers for you and hubby for comfort in your time of grief.

be well,
Dawn

wrigleyrachey said...

Hi Linda, I just read about Harper and it is so strange that we have both lost our old faithful friends. I know you were right by your decision,as I was. We wouldn't let them suffer. So sorry for your loss and happy that you and Mike have so many happy memories of him.You make animals part of your family and wished they had our life span, but I know this is the way it is. Loved your ode to Harper, he sounded such an interesting dog,with his quirky ways etc. I just want you to know that I understand.My other old horse is pining today and won't eat, as the four of them have never been seperated.
We have the memories, and they last forever.You are in my thoughts.
luv
Rach.xxxxxxx

andrewfrnd said...

I lost two Golden Retrievers in six months, one through old age and the other through cancer and I understand how you must be feeling. They are more than faithful friends as there love for us is unconditional.
Andy x
http://journals.aol.co.uk/andrewfrnd/life

chunkichick said...

A dog fills your life with so much joy, so sorry to hear the news Lin, but a very touching entry. enjoy all those good memories and be proud you made Harper's life a happy one. Mandy x

stevietwain said...

Oh Linda. I didn't see this until just now.

I'm so sorry to hear about all of this, but you did the right thing hun.

Lovely pictures. My favourite is the one with you two on the sledge...haha! He looks like he was having a great time, as do you!

Great memories that I'm sure you'll always cherish.

Hope all's well, and thanks for stopping by my journal!

Lv Ste
xx

anniegoose10 said...

just got the notice about harper.  linda, he looked like such a beautiful dog.  i will light a candle for him tonight.



annie!