Tag Archives: Dogs

Vale Tas (Aug 2008 – Dec 2021)

Christmas Day 2021 started with the usual activity and family gathering, but soon the festive season turned into sadness and tears when Tas, our 13+ year old Labrador fractured his upper leg. He was in great pain initially, but was able to move with difficulty after a while though still clearly in pain. I wasn’t in the mood to continue with the Christmas gathering given how Tas was suffering and decided to get him home to a more comfortable environment, where he could rest at least in some modicum of comfort and familiar surrounds. We gave him some Valium and that allowed him to sleep the night through and, in the morning, I called the emergency number of our local vet. I held off from calling on Christmas Day, but it turns out that the vet was busy all Christmas Day and well into Boxing Day.

Playing in the park - Mirboo North Victoria

Playing in the park – Mirboo North Victoria

We got Tas to the vet in the afternoon and, after a brief check, it was clear that Tas had fractured a bone and x-rays were needed. We feared the worst and when the vet called us with the diagnosis, our fears were confirmed. A tumor had developed in the bone and weakened it, which caused the break, so it was only a matter of time before something like this was going to happen. There were only two options that the vet could give, amputate the leg to stop the spread (if it wasn’t elsewhere already) or put Tas to sleep. We’d already discussed the possibilities for the worse happening and, given that Tas was already suffering hip problems and finding it increasingly difficult to walk, the only kind option was the most difficult to make. He had been so healthy and full of life until now.

Ang & Tas - Mirboo North Victoria

Ang & Tas – Mirboo North Victoria

Tas and Me

Tas and Me

So once again, we had to make that awful and final decision. At least Tas was already under anaesthetic and the pain killer he’d been given had also made things more comfortable for him before the x-rays, so it was a peaceful departure. Anyone who loves dogs understands the impact of losing a lifetime friend. Dogs aren’t here for a long time, but what they contribute is worth many lifetimes. What this brought back to me was the loss of Tas’s sister Jenna a few years ago, also to cancer. The loss struck very hard and it took some time for emotions to settle, but having Tas around helped a lot. Now the house feels so empty and everywhere I look there is evidence and memories of what is no longer.

Jenna & Tas at the Bush Hilton, waiting for the storms to pass - Bentley Plain Victoria

Jenna & Tas at the Bush Hilton, waiting for the storms to pass – Bentley Plain Victoria

Adventure Bound - Bentley Plain Victoria

Adventure Bound – Bentley Plain Victoria

We’ve cleared some things away now, such as bedding, but I don’t feel like wiping away everything that reminds me of Tas in one fell swoop. There’s no rush and it’s not like we need space for the small things that remind us of what was. Tas will be cremated and his remains will join those of Jenna and our previous Labrador Jamie. One day we’ll find a suitable place for the ashes of all three friends. What we do from here, I’m not sure. We’ve had dogs in our life for most of our marriage and there’s something special that they bring to our lives. For the time being though, I’d like a break and take the time to settle before deciding whether to get another and when.

Bush Christmas, everyone enjoys the bush - Gippsland Victoria

Bush Christmas, everyone enjoys the bush – Gippsland Victoria

I think we’ve been blessed in that all of the dogs that we’ve owned have simply been marvellous and well behaved, friendly to all and great companions. My only reservation is that it’s become increasingly difficult to take dogs anywhere camping in Victoria, as I’ve noted before, more than once. Our state and local governments seem to hate dogs, as they impose more and more restriction every year, not just in state parks, but also in local parks. Every year we have to search harder and harder to find bush camping spots where we can take our four-legged family members and it’s never an easy task.That said, having a dog is always worth more than the hassles.

Jorgensons Hut - Donnelly Creek Victoria

Jorgensons Hut – Donnelly Creek Victoria

All I can say is that both Tas and Jenna are sorely missed.

Dogma Revisited

In 2015, I wrote about the direction that we appear to be headed when it comes to finding places where you can legally take your dogs for walks, camping and other activities that you might pursue as a dog owner. As I pointed out, all and sundry dogooder, medical expert and know it all chastises anyone who doesn’t meet their weight or health ideals and tries to impose ever more on your chosen lifestyle. However, on the same hand they go out of their way to prevent enjoyable means of exercise. In my earlier story I pointed out how so many places are no longer accessible to dog owners and the trend seems to be to make access even more difficult, if not impossible. Councils everywhere are turning over age old rules that permitted access to areas as such as beaches and parks, where dog owners could play, teach and enjoy time with their pets.

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Vale Jenna (Aug 2008 – Nov 2019)

Sadness and grief affects everyone in different ways and there are many different things that generate sadness and grief. The most notable is that caused by family events and, for many, family can mean different things. For us, sadness and grief came about by the passing of our dear Labrador Jenna, who was just passed her 11th year. Jenna had been increasingly burdened by various lumps and bumps that kept growing and after undergoing several operations not long ago to assess and remove some of  those lumps and bumps, for a short while she was rejuvenated and almost a new dog. However, she rapidly began to deteriorate some months afterwards, becoming less active,  eating less and generally not wanting to do much at all. Then she became incontinent and she started showing signs of depression. It was only when we took her for her annual checkup, and to find out if there was something other than hormone tablets to alleviate her incontinence, that it was discovered that she had cancer. The photos that follow are a collection of Jenna (and her brother Tas) throughout her life in no particular order, to remember a wonderful dog.

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I’m really beginning to question much of today’s ethos when it comes to dog ownership. On the one hand, we have all manner of do-gooders telling us that we have a fat epidemic in Australia ie people are obese and so more exercise etc is required (almost mandated) yet, on the otherhand, many opportunities to maintain one’s health are being curtailed. Dog ownership and especially associated outdoor activities such as walking your dogs has long been stated as being a good thing, but try and find a place to take your dogs for a walk or run (other than around the block) and you’ll be hard pressed to find much available. More and more of our public land is becoming verboten territory when it comes to taking your dog for a run or a walk.

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