Today we were having a delayed walk as I decided that I needed to get my Civil Service online test out of the way. Holly sat at my feet all the way through and was her usual self when anyone came to the door. Some time around twelve we got around to the little rituals of dog walking; the picking up of the poo bags, the sitting for the leads.
Holly did not appear, so I called her and Becky looked in to the living room and looked upset. Holly walked out of the living room, her back legs barely moving. She has had an episode like this before and we tried rubbing some life back into her hip. She seemed a little better for this, but clearly was not going to manage a full walk. I suggested to Cath that we all go out together but that I take the lurchers on a regular walk while she would see if Holly could manage a short loo-break walk. After that she and Becky could take Holly up to the vet. Cath initially seemed hopeful that Holly would perk up a bit once she was under steam, but she did not even make it to the grass before she had to stop for a poo, right on the roadside. This was very unusual in itself as she never goes unless she is on grass or gravel. Holly managed to waddle a little further, but then she just sat on the grass, from where she did not want to do anything. Cath tried to pick Holly up but failed, so I handed Rover and Amazon's leads to her and picked up Holly and carried her back. The lurchers reacted as they do to any dog that is being carried and started jumping up and barking, so I told Cath to follow at a distance. I set Holly down in her basket, patted her head and went back out with the lurchers.
It was the only goodbye I had.
I did the first half of the walk in a bit of a daze, thinking about the missing dog. I must admit that I was worried for her health but did not think that it would be the end. We went to the Number 38 turning circle and walked down the Dene. Since the New Year this has become the Usual Walk, as I decided that there was too much cat-association tension involved going the shorter way into Denton Dene, so the longer option is now preferred. I let the lurchers off the lead once I had the dazzle of the low winter sun out of my eyes and I was certain there was nobody in their immediate path. I followed the higher path near the school fence, just for a change.
Rover ran around me but Amazon spent most of that time on the other side of the Dene or in the bottom. They came when I called and we came to the meeting of the ways together. I had considered going straight on and so take the more nature-friendly route through the Dene, but Amazon was enjoying not having Holly behind her and was running all over the place and so I stayed on the usual path across the open field and so up and round. On the way up Rover found a liver retriever who had a ball and so Rover stole said ball when it was next thrown. I told Rover to leave, then put him on the lead because he is a ball thief and it is easier that way. I let him off the lead once we were out of sight, however I did not trust him not to double back, so I detoured over the lower bridge, around the big field and back home.
Normally that would be the end of my blog for the day, but when I got back, Cath and Becky were just going out with Holly. I went upstairs to look at a few job adverts and before I knew it they were back. Holly's spleen had burst and she was unlikely to survive. We went back up but she had slipped into unconsciousness long before we were back, then her heart had stopped beating. Apparently she had been carrying a benign tumour for some time, but it had been putting pressure on her spleen. The vet said that she would have not felt anything and certainly she did not seem in distress other than being puzzled by her inability to walk.
RIP little lodger dog.