My near 11 year old big baby boy has crossed the rainbow bridge and I’ve lost the boy who made me a mum.
It was nearly 11 years ago and less than a year after we got our first house together we decided we wanted a dog. Hubby had a British Bulldog in mind for I think most of his life. They say your dogs personality should be just like yours and a bulldog is one that we knew was for us (we’re a bit lazy and stubborn too!) 😉
We didn’t choose Hutch though, Hutch chose us. He waited for us. He was the last one in the litter to leave mum and we fell in love immediately.
I had never had a dog before and had been in fact quite scared of dogs for most of my life. No real reason, I am still a bit wary of dogs that aren’t mine but only because I don’t know them. I felt at ease with Hutch. He was relaxed, friendly and such a chunky monkey! He made me think about caring for someone other than me. He confirmed my maternal instincts and was my first baby.
We took him home a few weeks later in the towel I brought down to him only a matter of days ago to keep him comfy on his hospital bed in the living room.
A few weeks ago he went off his food and bizarrely wanted the puppys. I was sure that he had teeth issues or gum disease or something so I started mixing, soaking and mashing his food to try and encourage him to eat. He wasn’t interested so we just let him have the puppy’s … we knew he was getting old 11 years old is an extremely good age for a Bulldog and we kind of got to the point of letting him do what he wants. As long as he was eating something he could have anything.
He had been struggling to jump up onto the settee for a couple of weeks too but we never saw it as a sign of anything other than him getting old. He has been a super healthy bulldog, only I think going into vets for the snip, pulling his leg muscle from running in like the crazy fool he was through the french doors and then picking up the bug his sister had a month or so ago. I don’t actually think he had ever stayed overnight.
We have two other dogs too that I have no doubt kept him young and active as long as he was, well the puppy for sure. We have Hutchies sister (9) who was born to the same mum but the following litter a year later and young Walt who is 10 months old. He was the best big brother to them both and loved puppies!
Alex used to sit on the floor with him and the other dogs every single night pretty much without fail… although he was struggling to jump on the settee he didn’t stop getting excited and humping Alex’s arm when he was playing with them!
Last night I brought his bed back in to the loving room that he unfortunately had an accident on Wednesday night. It was after that accident that I rang the vets and got him in. I had cancelled appointments on Monday and Tuesday because he had been seen to getting better. I brought some stinky tripe which he ate off a spoon but he was drinking fine and although lethargic was still going in and out to the toilet.
The vet on Thursday morning gave him a steroid injection and because he took some food from her she encouraged us to try him on something else. She saw nothing on Thursday that would suggest his passing was imminent he just seemed weak from not eating. I don’t think the steroid injection did anything apart from keeping him comfortable and a little more awake. I noticed his head was up and he was a little more alert than he had been but his body was still as lame as it had been if not a little more.
I feel they all knew something was imminent last night either that or they just wanted the comfy bed but they all shared the bed last night which is very rare 🙂
Although I was feeding him through a syringe because he no longer wanted to open his mouth; it makes me feel better than he had some weetabix for his breakfast today before he went in. And also the fact that this morning, like every other morning, he woke to and acknowledged his Dad going to work and walked out with him to go to the toilet.
We picked up the children from school early today and broke the news to them when we all got home. My youngest at 4 handled it really well but that was probably because I had mentioned to her yesterday that Hutch might have to go to heaven soon to get better because he is very poorly. She broke down then and went to bed with her ginormous Hutch teddy but today although she was clearly upset it didn’t come as big of a shock.
My 7 year old though was a different story. Although the dogs have always been here for some reason he has never been a dog person. That being said he was absolutely distraught. He cried a couple of months back when Missy went in the vets with sickness and diarrhea for a few nights and thought she wasn’t going to come home so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We had prepared him also but he is one to not really take things in at the time and reflects afterwards so it wouldn’t have even entered his head or stayed there as a reason to be concerned. Especially as the last time one of them was poorly she had some medicine and was fine.
We told him he needed to start showing Hutchie some love and he did say night to him last night and told him he loved him (obviously in the hope that non of us were listening but I heard it plain as day!)
Because it was so sudden there’s a few things I kind of regret and more guilt is coming out as the days pass and I have time to think. I know everything happens for a reason but I hate the fact that I’m struggling to remember the last time we did things too; when was the last time he had chicken, the last time he had Primula cheese from the tube, the last time he had a McFlurry, the last time he humped Alex’s arm and the last time he played with the pup. I hate that everything he did in the last few weeks was the last time he would ever do it but we didn’t realise.
I regret booking him in for bloods this morning, I regret not telling the kids to go give him a kiss before school because we were just to busy doing what we do every morning and I had no reason to think that today was going to be his final day. I rang and booked him in at the vets on the way to school after I had tried to get him out to the toilet and he just didn’t want to stand so it was very last minute – something told me I needed to do that and get the earliest possible appointment at 9:10am. I knew it was time but I regret trying to get him out of the door by shoving the other two in the kitchen instead of them being able to say bye because I had to carry him the 25kg lump to the car, he couldn’t walk.
My biggest regret is the fact I told the vet it was ok to keep him until 11:30am to fit the cannula in preparation of putting him to sleep on Saturday morning. He needed a nurse present and she wasn’t due in until 11am. I wanted to bring him home and give him a nice warm soak in the bath and clean him up; I was even so close to texting my husband to tell him to bring home a McFlurry even though I knew he wouldn’t eat it! I received the phone call from the vet at 11:15am to say sorry he had passed before they even had even put it in. He said his heart just stopped and he didn’t suffer.
It’s 3 hours since I received the phone call that he had passed and I have just sent this picture to my husband asking if it’s just me over thinking or clutching at straws but has my now eldest dog Missy ever laid here? This was always Hutch’s chair. He agreed and I sat staring at the TV with a teary eyed blurred vision of what I wished was Hutch in the corner of my eye. She has gone back to that spot a lot since he left. Missy has never been the only dog and was one of the reasons we got Walt when we did. She has never in her life been without Hutch so we will have to keep an eye on her for sure.
We were just not expecting it to happen so quick. I truly believe he went the way he did it for us. He was a dying dog whether we chose to believe it or not and we know we made him as comfortable as we could in his last days. He didn’t want us to know it was time. I can still see his face as the vet picked him from the table and took him into the back. I told him I loved him 50 times a day but I can’t remember doing so yesterday in there and it pains me. I remember stroking him throughout, giving him a cuddle, kiss and my tears falling on his head. I said ‘see you later mate and be good’ just like I always did. He knew we loved him and I’d like to think he took comfort that I didn’t treat it as the last time I would see him and it was like any other normal day.
It was the pretty much the first thing I said to my husband when I called him that I shouldn’t have left him. I’d like to think that he went his way so not cause any more unnecessary pain to US. He did it so he didn’t cause any emotional distress to his brother and sister and especially the kids. I just wish he had gone with at least me or his Dad around him or we were the last ones to see him.
There are things I am looking back on now, did we miss something? Was there a sign? Was he suffering? Was he in pain? But there was nothing obvious. As I said there was the jumping on the settee that he struggled with but he was 10 years old! The vet said his nervous system was shutting down and his circulation was bad hence why he was struggling to stand and why he wanted him to stayto get a cannula put in while he can because he said he thinks he would struggle to get a vein. His urine test was fine (for a 10 year old bulldog!), his teeth were healthy, he wasn’t over weight, he didn’t have an infection, his temperature was fine, there was no obnormal swellings or lumps or bumps and no blood or anything that would be a cause for concern in his urine or faeces. He wasn’t being sick or had Diarrhea and wasn’t dehydrated. I’m so glad in the end he wasn’t prodded and poked with anything unnecessary and we didn’t call time or give up on him. We all feel old age just got the better of him like it does to us all one way or another but even the vet said he didn’t expect him to go so quick.
I am so thankful for his life. He had an awesome life, he was the best dog (don’t tell the other two!) 😉 he was so loving, peaceful, content, a character and on that table when we went to see him and say goodbye this evening he was still the peaceful sleepy bugger who slept through everything that he has always been.
Oddly enough even with no heartbeat he looked healthy. He looked at peace and I’m so glad we went to see him. He even used to sleep and snore with his eye open so it was no surprise to see one open a little and he looked no different than sleepy Hutchie.
My eldest didn’t want to even come out of the car, to be honest he didn’t want to get in the car to go but my youngest wanted to come and say bye so we let her. I took a towel in with us the same towel we used to wrap him up and pick him up as a puppy. I don’t know why but I did.
We can tell Missy knows he has gone. We have put the towels down on the settee that he’s been on in the last few days and she is constantly going back to the edge of the sofa aka Hutchies seat. I don’t think Walt really knows and is a little young to understand.
I will miss hearing your snores through the floor at bed time Hutch (even though your baby brother isn’t far off your standards!), I will miss you not being able to hear a thing (he was deaf) but knowing our signs and when we came in the door, I will miss you playing on the floor with Dad and humping his arm, I will and have missed since you went deaf barking at the intro to I’m a Celebrity Get me out of Here, but most of all I will miss the big lump as a whole that used to lay on us while resting his chin on our nose whilst we struggled to breath!
In the last few days there have been times I’ve woken up waiting to hear him just so I know he’s ok but it kills me to say I won’t hear that sound again and coming down this morning to just two of them was hard and it sounds so silly but I don’t even want to pick up his last poo he did outside either! 😉
No doubt gramps will have already taken you on a super long walk Hutchie pie… ok maybe not maybe just round the block once or twice and you’re now laid there shattered asleep with your eyes open but wherever you are baby have fun!
Love you Hutch! Sweet dreams mate, run free, love ya lots!