Those of you who have read TSC for a long time will know that in recent months, our family has suffered two losses. First, our Border Collie, Shep, died in May aged 15. At the beginning of September, his lifelong feline companion, Sam, died of pneumonia, also aged 15.
This morning, Shane, our 14 year old Yellow Labrador, known to those close to him as Piggy for the noises he would make when he was happy, suffered a massive heart attack. Not wanting to see him suffer and wanting to give him some dignity, I allowed the vet to send him on his way.
Shane had been suffering with minor health problems since around the middle of May, shortly before we lost Shep. He was suffering from mild arthritis in his hips, and since May he had been suffering from what we thought was a minor heart ailment, a mild form of angina.
In the past couple of weeks, Shane had had good days and bad days. There would be days where he would be fine. He would greet me as I returned home from work, giving me that beautiful smile of his, while at other times he would be content just to lie on the sofa and let people come to him and greet him.
But this morning was different. He just couldn't walk. He couldn't stand. There was no energy in him, and the sparkle in his eye was gone.
Not wanting to see him suffer, I gave my permission to the vet to do what she had to do. Around 9:15 this morning, Shane passed away peacefully.
At the moment I feel like I've been kicked in the head, like a huge part of my very being has been ripped away from me.
Piggy was special to me not just because he was a companion, someone who had been with me since I was 15, but because he was, in effect, the last connection I had to my late Father. About six months before he died of cancer in June 1991, Dad gave me Shane, who had nominally been his dog, because I mainly looked after him while he was out at work. We didn't know then that Dad was dying, but now, looking back, we all realize why Dad did what he did.
So now three of the original quartet are gone. Somewhere else, Shane has been reunited with Shep and Sam. I pray to God that he is happy wherever he is right now.
Just three days away from my 30th birthday, I am left to reflect on someone who was a huge part of my life, who didn't care if I was rich or poor, but would always do his best to make me happy.
My Piggy has gone to a far better place, to be with his friends again. I will miss you always.