Today has seen some good news and some very sad news.

The good news is that a check up at the dentist ordered by my GP as a result of strange and sore lumps and bumps in my mouth has returned a clean bill of health.

Sadly however, before going to the dentist I had to book an emergency appointment at the vets. After a short walk through the wood of Doune this morning poor Georgie curled up in a ball in the sitting room and shivered. She was not interested in her food. Thinking she was in pain I even cooked a sausage in which to hide a pain killer prescribed by the vet but she would not even touch a sausage.

Georgie walking along with me on Day 102.
Georgie walking along with me on Day 102.

After an initial examination the vet asked me to leave her with them to conduct a barrage of tests to try and find a chink of light in her darkness. They led her away and as I left to catch the bus to the dentist I sensed that today was probably her last day. Dogs seem to have a way of telling you that times up. A good review at the dentist and back on the bus to the vets. They were fantastic at Struthers and Scott and had done everything they could to make her and keep her comfortable while they looked for hope. We went through the readings from her bloods which compared to the bloods taken two weeks earlier had rocketed in all the wrong readings. Her liver and kidneys had packed in and the scan revealed a mass on her liver and in her stomach which could well have been cancerous. She was in significant pain, had no quality of life as she curled up and shivered in pain and was unlikely to ever recover from any treatment. The only real humane option was to give her a cuddle and quietly bring her peace. I was so very lucky to have been able to be there for her as she quietly went to sleep. She knew nothing of it other than that she was having a lovely cuddle. There was no quivering. No final breaths. She just went to sleep. I and Georgie were handled so beautifully. I was given some time in a quiet room to say my final farewell to a friend who had been by my side nearly every day for 12.5 years. As a tear ran down my face and onto Georgie’s fur the vet brilliantly asked me what sort of a life she had had. Suddenly I found myself, still very sad, but no longer being sorry for the friend that I had lost but thankful for the life that we had been able to give her and the life we had led together.

We found her as a rescue dog in a kennels in Medicine Hat Canada and fell in love with her on the spot. She had been named Victoria and at the thought of walking around the Barracks calling ‘Victoria, VICTORIA!!’ I changed her name at 6 months old to Georgie. We had a fabulous time in the snow wilderness of the Canadian Prairie which she loved. I used to take her out to the Prairie where she would try and punch through the snow, much like a Polar Bear after seals under the ice, Georgie would try and catch the Gophers in their under snow runs. She did catch one once and was so shocked that she lay down with it and sat it between her paws. Each time the gopher tried to run away she would knock it back down onto it’s back until eventually she got bored, stood up and walked away. You have never seen such a look of surprise, disbelief and relief on a face as I saw on that Gopher’s face when Georgie walked off!!

Her one injury in the snow of the Prairie was getting her tongue stuck on the metal railing outside our front door. I did ask her to wait as I ran for a pail of warm water to release her tongue but by the time I had returned she had pulled her tongue off which then flapped around in the breeze, dripping blood, in it’s stretched form, out of her mouth, much like one would expect to see in a cartoon. The missing part of her tongue was left as evidence on the metal railing. After Canada we travelled to Kent, then Wiltshire, then the Lothians, then Stirlingshire, then the Falkland Islands via a cruise as ship’s crew on the military resupply ship!, then Lancashire before coming home to Stirlingshire. In every place I was lucky that she was able to come to work with me and of course loved to explore the wonderful places we were living in so we spent most of our lives together, every day walking and running around the countryside either with me or with me and the soldiers or with me and the children. Children loved her and she loved children so was never short of attention or balls to run after yet was so calm that when, for example, in Day 101 when we met Kevin who was terrified of dogs, she was gentle enough to lie patiently and let Kevin gather the courage to touch her before eventually making friends with her.

Georgie was a great and loyal companion whom I trusted implicitly. I and the children will miss her terribly but she was destined for an uncertain future when we found her in the rescue kennel and instead had a wonderful life with a loving family. I am sad, very sad but I am not sorry. Instead I am hugely thankful for the life we were able to give her and the loyalty, companionship and love that she was able to give us.

Georgie thank you and may you be resting in peace.