Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Interim Report

Eleven-thirty at night and I am just switching on the computer to see what, if anything, has happened in my comment section and to check for emails, prior to getting ready for bed. The house is fairly quiet, I can hear Beloved in the hall downstairs, talking to Benno. I expect they are getting ready to come upstairs.

Then a thumping, thudding noise, as if a heavy sack is being dragged on the stairs, bouncing on each step; a yelp of distress and a final bump.

"Are you there? Can you come? Quickly!" A plaintive call, with a hint of suppressed fear in it, reaches me in my study at the other end of the house upstairs. I rush to the top of the stairs and the wheezing, whistling, choking noises are appalling; it sounds as if Benno is suffocating, each breath harder to force into his lungs than the last. Beloved is crouched on the bottom step, above  Benno, who is in a heap on the floor, trembling and struggling for breath, utterly panic-stricken. In trying to climb the stairs his arthritic hind legs have lost purchase and he tumbled down, on his belly, scrabbling madly for support but unable to stop himself, landing seven steps down, back at the bottom. Mummy Friko instantly springs into action, or rather slips to the floor next to Benno, cradling his head, holding it up, stretching his legs out from under him and murmuring a flood of reassuring, calming, idiot, endearments into his muzzle, stroking and laying on hands. The laying-on-of-hands is not a joke, I've done it many a time when he has been wracked with stomach cramps, it worked, at least until I could send someone for Buscopan tablets.

Eventually, Benno calmed down, his breathing, which has been pretty laboured for several weeks now, evened out and he managed to get back into the living room under his own steam. No more stair climbing for Benno. For the past three days I have slept on a hard, narrow sofa, downstairs, with him on the rug in front of me.

The vet's tests have been inconclusive. Benno has an enlarged heart chamber and some fuzziness on the lung, neither of which is supposed to be immediately life-threatening. He does not have laryngeal paralysis, so the extreme shortness of breath any time he moves is a puzzle. He eats well again, the diarrhoea has stopped, but now he hardly pees, when before he could pee for England, for minutes at a time. His heart and lung tablets don't seem to be doing a great deal yet.

I don't know what to do. I am exhausted, looking after him every minute of the day is wearing me out. I can't settle to anything, all appointments are cancelled. Instead of cheering myself up by reading some light book I chose Anne Enright's Man Booker Prize Winner "The Gathering", a dark tale full of miserable people living miserable lives; I don't really like "Irish" books, there's too much furtive and unpleasant sex in them, the sleazy, fiddling with kids sort, and the unhealthy, breeding-like-rabbits, marital sort, joyless, passionless. Apart from that, I am keeping busy in a joyless way myself, doing laundry and other mind-numbing tasks around the house. I simply don't know what to do. Benno has another vet appointment on Monday -  vets are like dentists, both are surely filthy rich, I am glad I get my own treatments off the NHS, otherwise we'd be on bread and water. One thing is for sure: Benno is unlikely to get much better; at 12 years and 5 old months he has done well for a labrador. (I even got his age wrong the last time I mentioned him here,  made him one year younger; I daresay the wish was the mother of that statement.)

I am also fed up being on this treadmill of misery; at least my own news is good: the urine tests were normal. I knew they would be, I haven't got time to be ill myself. The damp patches have been examined and found to be reparable - at a cost, naturally -  so I will soon be able to be really rude about builders.

Could somebody out there please make me laugh? I am so grateful for the wonderful, supportive comments that my misery post called forth, soon I will come and reply and visit again; in the meantime forgive me for being a bad blogger. (I am fighting the urge to feel guilty as hard as I can) Thank you all for being such lovely friends, what would I do without you to open up my heart to. Soon it'll be decision time, but for now I have no idea what to do for the best.


  1. Poor Benno!!!! My heart goes out to all of you!!!!

    I'd tell you a bad joke but somehow I don't think that would help.

  2. The Olympic Torch went past my flat today ... it's like a carnival up here in North Finchley and I've even got tickets to a couple of events. Sending you good vibes (I hope)

  3. Oh Friko, I am sorry to hear about your dog. You know I have been there and I do know just how you feel - I don't think I have any words to make you laugh but all things must pass, all will be well in the end, that's about the best I can do. M and I have just been talking about our old dog, dear Finn, God rest him, he lives on in our hearts and I am sure he is in doggy heaven. It is a sad fact of life that dogs have short lives relative to us but it is so painful when decisions have to be made.

  4. Hello:
    Sleeping on a hard, narrow sofa downstairs will not help Benno and will not improve your own physical and mental state. Allow him to remain wherever he chooses to lie, be firm with yourself and return to your proper bed and get not one, not two, but several good nights of proper sleep. Then, and only then, will you be better able to cope. Should this sound unfeeling, that is not the intention. It is offered, in place of some side splitting joke, as sound advice.

  5. What a horrible and frightening experience. I do concur with Jane and Lance's wise advice. You sound as if you are wearing yourself to a frazzle, and I am so sorry about it. All I can say is that things really are easier to cope with after a decent night's sleep, and nurturing positive and loving and coping good feelings will help Benno, because dogs tend to pick up these things.

  6. You're not as bad a blogger as me. I won't dwell on all the crap you're dealing with - you asked for a laugh, after all.

    I offer a tale which lifted my mood the other week, during the torrential rain:

    Since my ex has the car, we'd been walking the 20 minute-each way journey to school. The boys, not to mention myself, were getting fed up of being soaked every day.
    I discovered a bus which stops near my home - we caught it twice.

    On the second occasion, a rather dishevelled looking gentleman sat near us, he had the look of someone who'd been drug/alcohol dependant for around 20 years.

    He commented on how different my sons looked, and insisted there was 'no way' they had the same father.
    I assured him they did, he said "I reckon you'll be on Jeremy fuckin' Kyle soon luv!"

    I laughed.

    Another 'poorly' looking gent got on the bus at the next stop, they were friends;

    Gent 1

    "fingers! 'ow're you but?"

    Gent 2

    "I could be fuckin' better but, to be honest"

    "why's 'at 'en?"

    "my missus is in the cells, she kicked off BIG time last night in the pub, thinks I'm shagging Donna Hayes behind her back"

    "Donna 'baby maker'?"

    "that's right but, the one with 100 kids!"

    Gent 1

    "I took her for a meal once, to 'spoons like. Bought her food and drink all night, it was a proper date like. On the way home, I went to give her a kiss, and she dragged me upstairs to her flat. Spoilt it for me, never took her out again, I don't like women who are that easy"

    "me neither but. That's why I respect my misses, we waited til we'd been out a couple of times before we went to bed. Tidy woman, she is".

    There we have it, a lesson on how the male brain works! I must move in ALL the wrong circles!

    Chin up, it'll all be OK eventually. So they say.

  7. Dear Friko, on a practical note, a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs will prevent any more accidental falls for Benno and, if you place his bed there at night, he will be as close to you as possible. You could even get a baby monitor if you need to listen for problems during the night.
    The rule for making the decision that lies ahead is based on whether he still has more good days/times than bad. Once that balance tips, the decision is made for you.
    I wish I had a magic wand for you. I'd use one if I did.

  8. Oh Friko I'm so sorry that you three are experiencing such suffering. Seems to me that this is not a time for laughter, but a time for serious and immediate decisions. If Benno is suffocating, panic-striken, his organs are malfunctionning or shutting down, etc. etc., you must know what to do but cannot bring yourself to even bring your thinking to that option. But you must do this for Benno.

    Remember it is in your vets financial interests to try every measure possible to keep him alive for you, but you have to ask at what cost.

    When our dear golden got very sick we clutched at the option that surgery could fix everything and sadly to delay our own suffering put her through the needless extra suffering because WE were not ready to let her go. Her body and eyes were telling us it was time to go, but we could not entertain the thought ... and so for us ... she suffered more. It still pains me today, eight years later, that we prolonged her suffering to delay our own.

    I know each circumstance is totally unique but it seems to me that between the lines of this and your last post you are begging for support to help you end Benno's suffering.

    Please take this with the love and empathy with which it is sent. If I have over-stepped and/or have misunderstood the seriousness of the situation, I apologize. I recall once I posted a photograph that had huge hydrangeas laying on the ground. You commented: "For goodness sake Bonnie lift those poor hydrangeas up!"

  9. You've had sound advice, I think, about the practical things to do to avoid distress for Benno and to help you regain the equilibrium you need to assess the situation.
    Lack of sleep only produces distress.

    I've had dogs all my life and agree with English Rider's decision making criterion. Their experience of life is the deciding factor.

  10. i am glad that your tests were eart goes out to you for benno as well...sad...

  11. yes I agree
    do it out of love when the decision is made

  12. It's hard to make a joke so you can mask your pain because we feel it too. The decision to let a family pet move on is a grave gut wrenching one. Here's hoping that you have a few more good days together but that you will know when it's that time. Like others I too have been in that situation.
    On the other hand it's good to hear your home can be repaired. Do check for mould though. I can be treated.

  13. Oh, Friko, how dreadful for all of you. Poor dear Benno, he must be heartbroken about being unable to get up the stairs, and, although I missed your post last Wednesday, I read it now.
    Although I would love to be able to make you laugh (because I've always considered myself a humorous essayist) I'm afraid I just can't think of anything to top Lucewoman's tale of the "gents" on the bus.
    I understand completely why you are sleeping downstairs with Benno. I have also gone to any lengths when beloved pets were sick, but I could never change the facts.
    I've suffered from depression, too, (an illness independent of situation) and understand how the adrenalin produced by an emergency such as Benno's fall can jerk you out of it and into action.
    Now I can only pray that you'll get through this terrible time without a recurrence of the depression.
    Love, K

  14. Poor Benno. Labs are such faithful and loving dogs. It is especially hard to see them not well especially when they continue to be so devoted to their masters. Good dogs, they are.

    My joke is lame but it always makes me laugh...

    A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Why the long face?"

    And one more...

    A duck walks into a bar and asks, "Got any grapes?"

    The bartender, confused, tells the duck no. The duck thanks him and leaves.

    The next day, the duck returns and asks, "Got any grapes?"

    Again, the bartender tells him, "No -- the bar does not serve grapes, has never served grapes and, furthermore, will never serve grapes." The duck thanks him and leaves.

    The next day, the duck returns, but before he can say anything, the bartender yells, "Listen, duck! This is a bar! We do not serve grapes! If you ask for grapes again, I will nail your stupid duck beak to the bar!"

    The duck is silent for a moment, and then asks, "Got any nails?"

    Confused, the bartender says no.

    "Good!" says the duck. "Got any grapes?"

  15. I can't tell jokes at the best of times , so am certainly not about to produce a ribtickler now .
    Just my sympathy and a plea to get a good night's sleep !

  16. Oh, you never know what's best in these Old Animal cases. Nothing's best: it's just a choice you make. The going on as one is is Awful and the not going on is Horrible.
    I know that sound of an animal fallingfallingfalling forever down the stairs. Your heart stops with each thump.

    So now. How to make you laugh after all that? Can it be done?
    Try watching the 100 year old Idahoan lady who was on The Tonight Show:
    Her response when somebody cautioned her that the wind was blowing her skirt was perfect!

  17. I'm so sad for you, your husband and Benno, Friko. I think you're in the hardest time of all -- trying to decide if now is the time to say "Goodbye" and end Benno's suffering. There is so much love and guilt and anticipatory grieving going on. I've been there several times. The last time, I had a beloved three year old cat Marina who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. My sister, an animal lover who has always had a house filled with cherished pets, said something then that surprised me. She said "Realize that you're on a slippery slope with Marina and that, once she gets sick, no amount of medical intervention is going to save her. So spare her the suffering and save your budget. When she gets ill, hug and kiss her and let her go." When Marina crashed, with total organ failure, a few months later, I had a day of wanting to hang on. I hadn't expected the end to come so soon -- and it is always too soon. I took her home from the vet's and cuddled her for a day. But then she started having convulsions and crying out in terror and I realized that I was only prolonging her suffering because I couldn't let go. I called the vet and we took her in. And she died in my arms. I've missed her every day and shed many tears for her. But no time afterwards has been as painful as that period of trying to decide what to do -- which is where you are now. My heart breaks for you, Friko. Now is the time for hugging and kissing and shedding those tears and saying "Goodbye" when you can gather the strength. We always worry about making the decision too soon, about not doing enough for a beloved pet. But you're doing everything you can. We have never had a vet tell us we're giving up too soon. Even though every pet death has been wrenching and has seemed far too soon to us. looking back, the timing has always been right. So trust your feelings and make your decision with love -- for Benno and yourself.

  18. My heart goes out to you, Friko, and the only thing I can offer is that Benno will give you the answer you need. He will let you know when the time has come. I don't know whether this will be in days or months or years, but I do know that you will decide according to what is best for Benno. During the meantime, take solace in what a blessing it is to have a dog which you truly love, which has given you things you could not have received from any other creature, which has inspired you with his spirit and affection. This, at least, is how I see it, for I have been in your shoes before. I confess that I have never loved any person as much as I have loved my dogs, and the loss of my last lab was the most painful thing I have experienced in my life. Just yesterday, my current lab, Derry, had a problem which required that I take her to the vet, and my own fears about her health sent me into a state of great anxiety. I'm happy to report that all is well with her today, but I simply want to point out that I know how difficult this is for you. Love her, love yourself, love what you've had together, hope for the best, and follow your heart. That's all that any of us can do. Oh, there is this, too — remember that you have friends who care about both you and Benno.

  19. Alles erdenklich Gute ihm und dir.

  20. Dear Friko
    My heart is sore for you, with your lovely Benno so poorly. It's so sad when our pets are ill and can't talk to us to tell us what's wrong, and we just have to guess whether their time has come or not. I keep having to take our Charlie-girl (cat) to the vet as she seems to be not 'right', but apart from being on heart tablets there doesn't seem to be anything obviously 'wrong' - expensive tests have been inconclusive. But she's going blind and deaf, and seems to be arthritic as well, so.... what to do? Fortunately the dogs, being younger, are full of bounce. But if she, or they, were to be really ill, I would, reluctantly, do what I believe to be the kindest thing and save them any further suffering. I don't know whether you read Ayak's blogs about her lovely dog, but I wept buckets over her anguish - as we both did when we lost our previous little dogs.
    I've e-mailed you a copy of a 'funny' that was sent to me by a friend - hope it cheers you up a bit. I love the pictures!
    Greetings and commiserations to you and your Beloved from me and the BH.

  21. Friko, firstly I am so awfully pleased that your tests have a good outcome. Secondly I too would be sleeping with Benno downstairs, as NOT to, would leave him feeling that his pack has deserted him. BUT, I would be getting in something more comfortable to sleep upon for the duration. A little better quality sleep would help somewhat. The final decision? when and how do you make that? the answer will descend on you quietly and calmly at the right time. You will not close your mind to this decision.
    Make you laugh? well seeing as I'm filled with (hack, cough) snot, I'll try another time to be witty and humourous. Keep us updated dear Friko.

  22. Oh, goodness. What sadness seems to be settled around you presently. I was encouraged by some of your post. The laying on of hands. I like that as I am a believer in those powers. I was encouraged you call your beloved Beloved. That is nice and I am sure that makes him all the more beloved. Not so encouraged by your descriptions of "Irish" novels. Don't think I'll be taking one of those on vacation. A better day tomorrow for you. And I mean it.

  23. Ahh, it is hard to laugh right now. Of course it is. But I think you and Beloved are heroes and that Benno continues to be a very lucky boy. Sweet sweet Benno. You are doing a fantastic job of providing the love and care that he needs. When the time comes you will know what to do, and we will all of us be there with you.

    My husband John tells the best dog jokes ever; having lived in the South for as long as we did, we have a great store of Southern dawg humor. If only I could write the jokes as well as he tells them, with a deep drawl. Just the thought of a big ol' hound dawg is perhaps smile enough?

  24. Nothing worse than feeling helpless about someone or thing you love. Nothing to do but make them comfortable as you can. never feel guilty for dealing with life.

  25. I'm glad your tests came back good, Friko. I hope your butt is still firmly planted on the chair though it sounds like you have a lot to contend with at the moment. I don't know if we knew each other when Rufus was sickly and towards the end. He was sick for a long time and outlived the vet's expectations by more than a year. It was a tough time both physically and emotionally so everything you write about here is familiar to me. I blogged about it a lot too and found a lot of comfort in other people's experiences and wisdom. The best advice I got was "better one week early than one day late". And as trite as it sounds, you WILL know when Benno's had enough and being a good dog mama, you'll pick a good day to say goodbye. A big hug to the both of you X

    1. P.S. Practical stuff. To stop Rufus from going upstairs, we blocked the bottom step (I think one of your other readers mentioned that as well) with a fat cushion. Eventually, when his incontinence got too bad and we had to stop him wandering around, we sectioned a part of the house for him with some trellis. He could still feel a part of the family and it was safe for him. Any help?

  26. I'm afraid Bonnie is right Friko. Kinda down in the dumps myself so can't for the life of me think of anything funny to say especially for the loss of a pet. It's tough. No way around it. But think of how lucky he's been and what a great life he's had and how much happiness he's brought to you. Now I'm teary eyed and need to go love on Skeeter.

  27. Friko, first let me say that I am glad that your own doctor has given you a better test report. I hope that you will not diminish your health by worrying about Benno.

    How I loved the three successive beagles from my childhood. Not one of those sweet pups with the gorgeous eyes lived to be very old. In my adulthood, I have yet to have a pet, and so yearn for one (and the space and time to give us both room for good times together.) And so, I know, and yet do not know, what you are currently experiencing and feeling.

    Would you please give Benno a special pat or three from me. Let him know that he has an admirer all the way across the Atlantic. And know that he will have to share that admirer with you.


  28. May I suggest to stop, for now, with The Gathering? Not right for the moment, it doesn't seem. The recommended reading that springs to my mind is something by David Lodge. My favorite is Therapy, but Josie is a better judge and recommends Changing Places. Josie also recommends Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome. Get this, he wrote a sequel: "Because of the overwhelming success of Three Men in a Boat, Jerome later published a sequel, about a cycling tour in Germany, entitled Three Men on the Bummel." God knows.

    Please know that we've been thinking of you and sending good thoughts, and we're very relieved to know that the other news is not so bad. As for Benno, we don't know whether this is in the least helpfu, but here goes: we've always had a terrible time "reading the signs" with our pets--and we've found the vets no help at all--but, somehow, what to do when does become clear. May it be so for you.

  29. My heart took a bit of a thump when I heard about Benno falling down the stairs. it just broke my heart to read about that dear dog taking such a tumble. I would feel just as you do. We had a dear golden retriever who we nursed and nursed through an enlarged heart and other ailments. My husband was even giving him fluids through an iv. He rallied, walked to the corner one day, ate some steak, and then he went down never to get up again. I knew it was time to put him down when he could no longer even lift his head or his body, but oh it was so hard.

    The good news is good news. I wish I could think of a joke for you, but it seems my brain is dead in that department. Perhaps a bit of light reading at this time would be helpful.

  30. I'm so sorry to read all this, Friko. As someone else said - stop reading The Gathering right away. I share your dislike of 'Irish books' and had to be a big faker when everyone raved about Angela's Ashes.
    This week I'm in a parallel universe. A client told me that I looked "different". I replied that I hadn't changed my hair or bought new glasses, so didn't know why I'd look different. He said 'You've gained weight. You're fatter'.
    The day went steadily downhill thereafter.

  31. These ARE lovely friends! We are SO lucky, Friko. Our hearts break for one another.

    Right now I feel closer to you and Benno even more that usual. Less than a week ago, I had to do my dear companion cat the final caring thing. See, I still can't quite write a clear sentence-

    "You could take her home."
    "But the blood. The fear in her eyes. Why carry it on?"
    "She has lived a good span; She won't ever be well. . . "
    It simply had to be over.
    I owed her that. Despite my guilt.

    The one good part, is that her pain was over.
    I am beginning to feel again. . . Gratitude for her mostly.
    We have spoken of her exploits all week.

    The last lesson they teach us (of very many)
    is about mortality.

    I'm reminded of the old saying:
    "Cure an old love - with a new."
    Not yet, but I must have a small
    companion and will.

    Aloha from Waikiki, Dear
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >

  32. Your description of "Irish" books made me smile, though I tried not to out of respect to your "unremitting gloom" post. Those "misery memoirs" piss me off too. I agree with someone above that "Three Men In A Boat" is good therapy — also "The Diary Of A Nobody".

  33. Hi Friko,
    I read the earlier comment from Bonnie. She is spot on. I think you know. It's the worst decision to have to make. My heart goes out to you. We had to make the same decision a couple of years ago. Our collie Mo was in pain, it was in her eyes, she told me it was time and I am sure Benno will do the same. The vets advice is financially based, not coming from a position of love like yours. I am thinking of you during this tough time. Bless you!

  34. Poor Benno, and poor you :-( When my Pukky died in March this year (she, too, had had an enlarged heart chamber and was very short of breath), it was a very difficult and very sad day for me, but my pragmatism (some call it cold-bloodedness, and they are not entirely wrong there) is what usually gets me through everything, and it did not fail me this time, either.
    I was glad I did not have to take her to the vet's again, that she could die at home, at her own pace, with me there until her last breath - and there was also relief, for now I was free of constantly having to look after her (which of course I had been doing as best as I could), making sure she'd have her tablets and so on.
    Good to know your test results were good!

  35. Poor boy! Getting old is no fun for anyone and it must be awful for animals who just won't understand why bits of them just stop working or don't do what they expect.

    If it helps at all, while you're paying for your vet to go on holiday somewhere expensive, I think I just bought my dentist a new car....... It's sort of a joke. Isn't it?

  36. Oh sweetie...I can offer you big bear hugs and a cup of a tea toddy!! I have no advice. I sure hope the Vet has some answers for you on Monday? Sheesh!!
    Try to keep a good attitude...your test was negative...Woot!!
    Hugging you

  37. The most important thing is that you don't disappear. We need you as much as you need us (Hence my checking up on you daily).

    I realize when you are miserable you probably don't want comments that reflect misery or too much joy either. I am not miserable and life is relatively good these days, but its nice to know other folks will chime in and offer condolences should dark clouds appear.

    I want to say again how much I enjoy your writing, even the miserable sort (misery loves company??). No, I am not miserable, but have been from time to time. This too will pass sounds trite, but it is true. Always remember that and the clouds will part. Dianne

    1. PS I have now read the other comments and agree with the idea of blocking off a part of the house for Benno. I have 'baby gates' in strategic places to contain dogs. I began this practice before my oldest dog Max died a few years ago. Also, young dogs (3 and 8) are not allowed upstairs until bedtime. Our oldest dog stays downstairs all night in her special bed with nightlight. We could carry her upstairs, but both of us have taken tumbles on the stairs, and don't need anymore broken human bones. (Our old dog (17 years) weighs 7 lbs.) Dianne

  38. Nadezda has left a new comment on your post "Interim Report":

    Frico, here is a story:
    "A concerned guest said a dog's owner:
    - Your dog unkindly looks at me.
    - Do not worry, he always unkindly looks at the man who eats from his bowl."

    Did you small?

  39. You are so far from being a bad blogger that it takes the light from Bad Blogger over a million years to reach you. Rather, you are caught up in a spiral of care that is sucking away your smiles. I'm so sorry for all that's happening with pet and owner in your household.

    On the upside, at least your pee is good, right?

  40. There is no right time. It is always too soon or too late. I have hassled myself over the timing of every pet's departure. Do it when you must, and don't blame yourself for any of it. Shed your tears and find a place in your beautiful garden for Benno to rest in peace. Grow something lovely there. Love to you all from across the ocean.

  41. Friko, just read your entry and the comments. You have all the advice you need.
    Just a new friend thinking of you and praying you will have the wisdom to do
    in all matters. Number One - take care of yourself...
    Agree with Anne, I have lost a number of pets and now with Miss Callie who I rescued and said I would not love like in the past - I have failed. What would I do without
    this little 3 year old whose eyes follow me everywhere I go.

  42. It's a high price paid to have this love. You will do the best you can because of the love.

  43. You are kind & attentive with Benno, but I hope that you can find a minute(plus an inclination)to be a little kind & attentive to Ursula. And measured against what you are doing for Benno, Bad Blogger does not even register as a concern. ~Mary

  44. Ian McEwan's "Solar". Could NOT stop laughing.

  45. Nothing worse than trying to be funny when you are consoling someone, thus I will pass on that. So sorry for this trying time. Losing an animal that is a close member of the family is the worst of times. Watch you health by taking care of yourself, please. Eat well and drink lots of fluids. You have over 40 friends making comments...that should account for something.


    Here you go dearie!!

  47. Oh I am so sorry about Benno. How stressful. I know this is what awaits me in the near future with my dear old half-blind, arthritic (I can so relate to the stair incident)doggie. Sigh. Meanwhile, I hope this little silly clip cheers you up:

  48. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. It is always so difficult when our beloved dogs get old. You do know Fishducky, don't you? Anytime you need a good laugh:
    Don't forget to take good care of yourself too.

  49. Dear Friko, As Emily Dickinson said so long ago, "This is the hour of lead." That line is from my most favorite poem, "After Great Pain A Formal Feeling Comes." I trust that you, who love Benno so well and so well, will recognize when the time comes to let him go. That may be in another year or in months, but you, living side by side to him and laying on hands, will recognize the time. I believe that.

    As to laughter, one of your English novelists writes light mysteries in which her main characters make me chuckle and laugh out loud. M. C. Beaton has two series. One takes place in Scotland with a policeman whose name is Hamish. The other takes place in England and the main character--Agatha Raisin--runs a detective agency. She is a delightful character. Full of flaws and foibles and so endearing. Perhaps you might enjoy this light fare. Peace.

  50. Hi Friko. You are passing through an emotional struggle at present and your many blogger friends are offering sympathy and comfort. I wish that the cup passes from you soon so that your beloved pet can be at peace. Thinking of you - Dave

  51. You are having a hard time, m'dear - commiserations! But I'm probably the last person who could raise a smile for you, all things considered, for I don't believe those facial contortions fall into my exercise routine, either...Perhaps we could be miserable together, instead? :)

  52. You seem so near, Friko, as you go through such a difficult time.
    Take care

  53. I remember one cat I took in to the vet. She said, "Oliver has counted on you all his life to take care of him. He is still counting on you."

    That made it easier.

    Thinking of you.

  54. Prayers for Benno. I would be sleeping on the hard couch, too. Your laying of hands has kept that good boy going. Bless you! Love and hugs!

  55. Friko, so sorry to read about your dear Benno. I was immediately reminded of circumstances associated with a couple of our dear pets -- first a cat, then a dog. I do hope you take comfort in being able to provide Benno your love and affection he likely appreciates. As for laughter, from other sources, the healing endorphins released into the body sound like what you need. Can you recall any really funny or humorous experiences with Benno in years past?

  56. Being a pet owner myself I know what you are going through - they become such an important part of your lives.

    OK - don't know if this will make you laugh or not but a few months ago we heard a tremendous thump-thump-thump on the stairs and rushed out to see what was happening only to find Giles (our cat) standing innocently at the top of the stairs still cradling the lace of the shoe he had just dragged upstairs in his mouth

  57. Hello Friko,

    I just finished "The Tea House on Mulberry Street " by Sharon Owens from Belfast. A delightful feel good book. Sending good thoughts across the miles.

  58. Dear Friko, when I first read this posting it was Friday. Now Monday has come and I'm hoping that Benno is okay. I know that you'll share with us what's happening with this important member of your family when you have the time and energy. Please know that I'm sending you thoughts of healing. Peace.

  59. As one who has said goodbye to several beloved pets in the last year, I sympathize with you. Nothing funny to offer, alas, but I will say that I believe that hard last decision is the last gift we can give our friends who've given us all their love. Blessings to you, Friko.

  60. Dear Friko,

    It sounds very much like you have had a hard time of it. I picture you running to cradle Benno in slippers and socks, riled to atypical action and speed. It is an image that fills my heart with something I don't know how to name. Only that I wish I were God, sometimes. And then I wouldn't allow ailing pets or wheezing or hard, narrow sofas on the first floor. But I am not. I am just Suze and all I can do is tell you that I've read this and I send you and all in your household my best love.

  61. Best thoughts for your beautiful Benno. Hang strong.

  62. I am reading backwards, having been out of things myself a bit. Your post leading to your most recent is heartbreaking, but I am glad that your own tests are fine. One relief amidst the sadness.


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