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neilp1962

A Sad Tale Of A Beloved Dog

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I've been wondering if I should recount my holiday tale, as prior to the holiday I was looking forward to repaying the entertaining stories from others with one of my own. We had Grande Girl 1 from Summercraft in Wroxham, a beautiful boat of AF Pearl 38 design from a first rate boatyard for a week starting 28th May. The 'we' was myself, my wife Bev and our 10 year old dog Alfie, a crossbreed whos mother was a Staffie and his dad was never found and has never paid so much as a dog biscuit in maintenance, probably a Labrador by the looks of Alfie, you know the sort. Our party was supposed to include our two sons Dan (25) and Adam (18) but Dan went and joined the Royal Navy and Adam decided a week without parents was an attractive proposition. Can't say I blame him.

We'd been looking forward to this since before Christmas when we booked, you all know the feeling, the anticipation that grows as the date draws nearer and you can start to look at weather forecasts, decide what to take and mentally work out where you're going. Our plans were to pick up early Saturday pm, cruise down to either Stokesby or if full a bit further to Stracey Arms, then catch LSW at Great Yarmouth late Sunday morning. We had moorings booked at Beccles YS Sunday night, Oulton Broad YS Monday day and night (to watch powerboat racing) and Surlingham Ferry for Tuesday night as I'd heard very good things about what the landlady was doing here. It wasn't to be, the very first night we had to change plans to stay in the north as Alfie was becoming very ill and we needed to be able to get home without the fear of wrongly timed tides through Yarmouth holding us up. Alfie had become ill the week before our holiday, he had bad diarrhoea with traces of blood, and so we went to the vet who prescribed various steroids, anti-inflammatorys etc and advised that we could still go on holiday as she thought Alfie would be fine, that's why we still went. He wasn't fine, but here's how our holiday went, there are some good bits but mostly very sad...

Saturday afternoon was a pleasant trip down the Bure, getting the feel of GG1, I'd never been upstream of Horning ferry before so it was nice to see places like Wroxham Broad, Salhouse Broad, Horning town and further downstream we had the luck of passing through the Thurne Mouth Regatta, seeing those lovely sailboats whizzing past somehow staying upright despite the wind making them lean at angles which must surely have them over (I do know about the keel but it's still amazing to see). We passed Stokesby as it was full but found plenty of space at the Stracey Mill and so that's where we renewed our mooring skills. No problems, a very quiet spot and I was to cook Spag Bol while Bev and Alfie chilled out. Alfie was becoming a bit worrying, he was panting quite a bit and had difficulty getting off the boat by himself. His usual enthusiasm for walks wasn't there and he wasn't eating. It was too late to do anything other than stay put so we had an early night in the last of the week's good weather and waited until morning to see what was what. A couple of pictures....Thurne Mouth Regatta and our home for the week (or not)

 

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Sunday morning saw no real change in Alfie, he wouldn't walk more than a few yards and he was ....I don't know......weary looking. We'd decided not to head south, but to stay in the north and phone the vet first thing Monday for advice. As the day went on Alfie improved a bit and we spent a lovely day at Womack Island, mooring before lunch and staying until next morning. The vet had said he'd be up and down, so we didn't come home just yet, I wonder how big a mistake that was. I made phone calls to cancel moorings and pubs, everyone was very sympathetic and not put out at all, most of the day we were by ourselves on our own little 'private' island. I was able to get some pictures, nice memories. The weather was changing, a Cuckoo was Cuckooing, the wind stated blowing a bit and Alfie got worse through the night. Several times in the darkness I had to carry him off the boat and into the woods, he was desperate to do his business but there was no end product, just a little bit of blood. We had to get home was the decision, we were up very early, and set off for Wroxham at 7.00am as quietly as we could.

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Hello Neil

It takes a lot of courage to post a write up of what has obviously been a very stressful time, I have been there and watched  faithful and much loved pet become ill and suffer,you feel so helpless,  my heart goes out to you

Thank you for sharing here

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The little bugger improved on the way down the Thurne towards the Bure, he found his appetite and was interested in his surroundings, wanting to see where he was and wagging his tail. The vet said he'd do this, what on earth do we do? We moored at Cockshoot Dyke, probably the best mooring I've ever done and there were plenty of people watching too. I phoned the vet and she advised that he was probably responding as expected, he'd had a big dose of various drugs and we couldn't tell until the courses had finished, so we decided to mooch around and be ready to get home to Durham if needs be.

Further upstream we stopped at Salhouse Broad for water, and we had a nice walk through the woods, Alfie was being Alfie, "get out the bloody water you daft dog, it's filthy". We phoned the bridge pilot at Wroxham and he said we're fine to pass through and tomorrow he'd get us back no problem. I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise up to Coltishall, I'd never been and it was as I'd hoped, Serene. We had planned to eat in pubs mostly this week but we couldn't take a poorly dog in, and the weather was getting bad so we couldn't even sit outside so it did get a bit claustrophobic being on the boat all the time, not being able to get more than a few steps away. We didn't mind though, we had Alfie to cuddle. The weather turned wild overnight, proper wild with rain and thunder and wind. The river rose and I was worried about getting back through the bridge so an early start was planned. Another early night, this time lasagne and potato wedges. I was getting through my holiday bottle of Cardhu nicely. On and off the boat all night with Alfie but he wasn't too bad in himself.

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The river was noticeably higher than on the way upstream and I was worried. I couldn't get through to the pilot and we got to Wroxham at about 10.00 am, moored stern on at the park like I knew what I was doing and I walked down to the bridge to find out the score. He thought it would be mid-afternoon before he could get us through due to the high water level (bridge marker showed 6'6", we came through yesterday with it showing 7'). We mooched around for a bit, I went to Roys for supplies leaving Bev with Alfie, and at about 2.00pm the pilot came over and said he could get us through. He said it was going to be tight but he did it, then he shouted at me to get my head down because I'd stood up to get a good picture after we'd been under but the marker chains nearly wiped me out. At least it gave Bev something to laugh about, nothing makes her laugh more than me having a mishap.

We cruised downstream hoping for the Ant but Bev was concerned about Alfie, he was downhill again so we stopped at Cockshoot for a break but he was so poorly we decided enough is enough. It's too late to get to the car and get home tonight, we're stopping here and first thing tomorrow we're going home. He had a terrible night poor soul, his tablets had all gone and he was worse than ever. We see all his 'mates' when we're walking him at home, dogs that he has grown up with from a puppy and some of them have been on their last legs for what seems forever. They get operations and treatment for serious illnesses and we've always wondered if the owners should just let them be at peace. Do we sometimes let them suffer when there is no hope just because we love them too much? We have a decision to make at the vets tomorrow. The hardest decision in the world.

We got back to the boatyard, I explained to Sue why we were there, thanked her and told her the boat was lovely but we needed to be home. She understood, she has dogs, she wished us well. We drove home and cried.

The last holiday picture of him, it had taken him 10 minutes to get from the stern to the bow, bless him.

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The vet at home was still hopeful, there's more to do and things to try. Don't give up on him yet. He had a shot of steroids, this perked him up, he had antibiotics, they did nothing at all. We lasted another week before we had to give up. At the end he couldn't walk, didn't respond to affection, he didn't eat all week and didn't drink the last two days. It was time, my wife, youngest son and I held him while he slipped away.

Sorry for the sad tale, I love the broads and so did Alfie. I'm comforted that he had at least some time there at the end. I'm not sure we can visit again soon, the recent memories aren't good and are too raw but we'll recover and be back. In the meantime I'll enjoy the tales others tell.

Thanks for reading

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You and your family will be in my prayers tonight. Gosh it takes a lot to make me cry, but I am here sobbing for you.

God bless.

 

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36 minutes ago, Hylander said:

You and your family will be in my prayers tonight. Gosh it takes a lot to make me cry, but I am here sobbing for you.

God bless.

 

I am sure you are not alone, Monica.

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 They are not just animals but very much loved members of families. I'm sure in time when you don't feel so raw, you will be able to return to the Broads that Alfie loved so much and find yourself with a tear in your eye and smiling at the lovely memories you have of him, I am so sorry for your loss

Goodnight and sweet dreams, Alfie :kiss

Grace

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Sincere sympathy. When to fight on and when to let go, it's awful as a decision and as responsible owners we have to face it sometimes. He had some good hours  in your Broads trip even though it must have been a nightmare for you. 

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Neil i havnt liked your posts for one reason, even though Alfie had a last trip, i know only to well what its like to loose a four legged member of the family (5 times in times in our 42 years married). But my sincere thoughts no our sincere thoughts are with you both at this time. Try not to give up on the broads for to long as im sure Alfie wouldnt have wanted you to. 

Charlie & Wench

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Time is a great healer.

our Sam used to love his boating holidays and now when we go we remember the happy times with him like when he used to chase the swans.... Or was it the other way round! 

It is a good few years now since we lost him but we've never been able to get another.

Incidently, Sam looked very much like Alfie

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I have liked your posts, mainly because after we went through almost the same with one of our cats this weekend, I know how hard it can be to post a story like this.

Hard, but at the same time it is part of he healing process, to tell the story, and to re-live the events helps to fix Alfie in your memory and get some of the feeling of loss and sorrow down in a hard format, to enable you to look back at the happy times past and rejoice in the good times.

Yes I have more than a tear in the eye reading this, as my own loss is still in the forefront of my mind, just remember that you will meet Alfie once more at the rainbow bridge, just as I will meet our Kitkat, and a host of our other cats, when my time comes.

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Blimey, what a heart wrenching write up.  Much respect to you for having the bottle to get through it.  I've been through the 'Holding their head looking into those eyes as they slip away'  many times, it never gets any easier.  I feel so sorry for you.  the thing to remember is how lucky Alfie was as having you as owners, he repaid that with blind faith and loyalty as only dogs can.  You need to have a look at 'Rainbow Bridge'

Our last Golden Retriever 'Dusty' - his ashes are in Malthouse Broad, I smile and tell him we haven't forgotten him every time I sail over that part of the water.

Note to self, (I'm supposed to be a ruffy tuffy sailor type tyke) - Ok deep breath here Griff, get a grip man

I'll take Macie dog out for her walk right now and say a few words to Alfie.

Griff

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Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

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Thank you for posting Neil. I was moved by your tale. I do hope you get back to the Broads soon and enjoy some happier times.

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All I can say having read all these posts  is thank goodness for waterproof mascara!

I lost the great canine love of my life(  a tricolour cocker Spaniel) January 5th 1985 and I think that was yesterday.

Regards,

Carole

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Awe Carole, bless you, it never really goes away does it? We had a beautiful Boxer called Samson when we were little, every single day we went to school he would sit at the gate for about half an hour before we were due home, he was so excited to see us you would have thought we had been away for weeks. He didn't die but sadly my brother developed allergies and we had to give him away, every time for a very long time when I got to our gate and he wasn't there I thought my heart would break, the love we get from them is unconditional and truly amazing

Grace

p.s  I know what you mean about the waterproof mascara, an absolute godsend lol

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12 minutes ago, Gracie said:

Awe Carole, bless you, it never really goes away does it? We had a beautiful Boxer called Samson when we were little, every single day we went to school he would sit at the gate for about half an hour before we were due home, he was so excited to see us you would have thought we had been away for weeks. He didn't die but sadly my brother developed allergies and we had to give him away, every time for a very long time when I got to our gate and he wasn't there I thought my heart would break, the love we get from them is unconditional and truly amazing

Grace

p.s  I know what you mean about the waterproof mascara, an absolute godsend lol

That's really sad Gracie, in later years my daughter got a look alike spaniel who was so like our old Toby. We used to "borrow" him when I got dog broody my( husband doesn't want another dog) He was very well behaved on the boat, we started to bring him when he was 12 weeks old. When he was 5 my daughter got a  Shi Tsu puppy and we think he was romping with her when he broke his neck.  He had no insurance because he had already  beaten anal gland cancer therefore uninsurable. The vet said he wasn't skilled enough to sort him out but  knew a lady who could. A Swiss vet who had a practice in Hampstead assured my daughter she could  successfully operate on his neck and he would make a full recovery. It cost £3,000.00 but he went on to  live till he was 13 and the only legacy was that he used to look a bit lop sided when running towards you.  He's been gone 5 years and I still miss him. His name was Bertie Worcester. There is a corner in our lounge that he used to favour and  we still call it Bertie's corner

regards,

Carole

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am so sorry to hear about Alfie we have loved a lots of dogs over the last 50 years I have always got a puppy as soon as possible I have found this has helped you never forget any of them but time does help I lost my daisy two years ago now l have two dashounds but my other halfwon't let me have another basset hound I am sure I would be happier if l did  so give another dog all the love Alfie had with you best wishes paws

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On 14/06/2016 at 11:54 PM, BroadAmbition said:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

 

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Thank you it made me cry but I will try to believe that it is true we lost our daisy two years ago I miss her every day thank you paws

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I feel for you, loosing a dog is terrible after all those years together.

Tthis week we buried our cat  (hit by a car) in our pet cemetery in the garden, with the three dogs (Rough Collies) already there. I still keep expecting her to walk round a corner and start demanding attention.

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Sorry to drag this old post up, I thought I'd update you on things around here, you were all so kind and supportive.

It took us 10 months before we could even think about having another dog in our lives after Alfie, but in April this year we went along to the Dogs Trust for a look around. Our old friend Alfie was a Staffie Cross, a beautiful dog with a lovely nature so we wanted similar. There are always lots of Staffies in these places, they get a tough time but they're wonderful in the right home, we had lots to choose from.

We passed Boris a few times, he was a 3 year old Staffie Cross, a bit funny looking and a bit reserved, unlike the other dogs who came bounding up to the fence as you passed. He has a bit of a lazy eye and just lacked that .... whatever it is that draws you to them in these places. We went to the office with our list of dogs that interested us (it didn't include Boris) and the girl asked if we'd seen Boris. We discussed our reservations and the girl just said that poor Boris was lovely, hated kennels and just couldn't get a break. I asked for a lead and some time to walk him, everyone deserves a chance right?

The little fella came to life in the playing field, he was exuberant, joyful, excessively energetic and a pleasure. There was a seat in the field and we sat for a while, Boris jumped on my knee and smothered my face with kisses. I told him "You're coming to live with us mate, you're going to fill the void left by Alfie's absence".

He's a joy, he's wary of men, scared of walking sticks, and so men with walking sticks frighten the life out of him. I imagine men with walking sticks play a (bad) part in his previous life but that's all behind him now. We only look forward around here and he's in our future, not some distant past.

He's been camping 4 times this summer (he loves it) he comes out on our Kayak with us (picture from Wast Water is attached) and we decided that next summer we'll see how he deals with a hire boat on the Broads. We've booked one of the Fair Commodores starting on my Birthday, August 3rd. I fancy life up a height this time around so I can see a bit further but we'll need to figure out how to keep Boris from diving into the water (he hated water when we got him, but he absolutely loves it now).

Again, sorry for dragging up an old post but the kind comments helped us, and I wanted to tell you that although Alfie is always with us, we've mended and the future has four legs again.

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