Daisy hardly bothered to raise her head anymore when someone came into her yard. The only reason anyone came near her was to push a bowl of dry kibble at her, always in the same place. Sometimes a squirrel would come down and snatch a piece of the kibble and skitter back up the tree, but otherwise, Daisy was alone with her thoughts.
It hadn’t always been this way. When she was a young, wriggly puppy, everyone cooed over her soft coat and pretty eyes. She tried to keep her people interested by offering to chase sticks or balls, but it was hard to do because she was never allowed off her chain. She’d wag her tail joyously whenever someone looked her way, but since her people never said much to her, after a while she stopped trying and just lay quietly. She didn’t bark because that produced yelling from her people, and sometimes even a rock or stick was thrown at her. So she allowed whoever and whatever to come into the yard—at least the squirrels and birds were company, and their hopping and chirping were fun to watch and listen to.
Lying in one small area all the time, Daisy wasn’t able to keep herself groomed the way her mother had taught her when she was a pup. Her skin itched when insects crawled over her, and the fleas bit, but it was hard to keep scratching around and over and under the chain, so after a while she gave up and tried to ignore all but the worst itching. It was worse when her ears started to bother her, but again she just couldn’t reach them to scratch, not that it helped much. When they began to feel swollen and she couldn’t hear as much, well, at least she had food to eat. From many, many years ago, she sort of remembered her people had taken her to see kind human who had seemed to care about her, feeling her gently all over, looking in her ears and stroking her gently. But the humans hadn’t ever taken her to the vet’s office again and she hardly remembered how it felt to feel healthy. So she just tried to stay comfortable.
The seasons passed and the years went by. Daisy didn’t pay much attention. She wasn’t aware of time and couldn’t count off the years . . . ten, eleven, twelve . . . twelve years living on the end of a chain.
As the weather got a little warmer this year and the snow was nearly all melted, Daisy noticed some unusual commotion coming from the people’s house. She heard her name sometimes and could see people looking out the window at her and shaking their heads. They still didn’t talk to her or come over to pet her, but they seemed to have more interest, for some reason. Maybe something was about to happen!
Daisy couldn’t know that the people had decided that something WAS going to happen. They said among themselves that something had to be done about that bag of bones in the yard, before she died and stunk up the place worse than she already did.
One day, Daisy heard a car pull in the yard. She thought she noticed a different smell accompanying the padding human steps coming toward her. With her sensitive nose, she was able to detect a familiar waft of scent, unavailable to people but clear in Daisy’s memory—it was the scent of a person who cared for dogs!
Daisy kept her eyes on the visitor, once she spied her from around the corner of the house. She glanced toward her owners at the back door of the house, but she knew from experience they wouldn’t be coming out to her.
Emily the Caregiver
Emily had been rescuing dogs and taking care of neglected and abused dogs so long—it was almost her life career. She carried their stories and their memories with her always. But she was aghast at the condition of the little black and white female. She approached the forlorn animal and held out her hand, but the dog barely lifted her head. Emily dropped down next to her and stroked her gently. She knew she couldn’t waste a moment, even to make a phone call. She needed to get Daisy out of there right away. Now.
Daisy didn’t’ expect any more attention from the stranger than she’d gotten from any of the people who passed by her as she lay in the yard, but she kept her eyes on the friendly -smelling visitor. The visitor and the house people talked, and Daisy noticed how soft and soothing Emily’s voice was as they passed some papers back and forth.
When Emily turned and gently beckoned to invite Daisy to follow her, the old dog felt an unusual sensation: a fleeting tingle of excitement passed through her body, all the way to a tiny tremor of her fringed tail. Although her muscles and joints were so stiff, and she felt very weak, Daisy followed Emily to the car, never glancing at the silent humans who impassively watched her struggle. Gently, gently Emily eased the old dog, who could barely support her own weight, into a blanket-filled crate in the car. Daisy sighed and settled back against the soft blankets. She didn’t know it, but she was on her way home.
Daisy and Emily
Emily and Come Bye Border Collie Rescue expected to have Daisy in our care for only a few months. We wanted to make sure she was comfortable, since there were no indications from her awful physical condition that she would last very long. So Daisy wasn’t offered for adoption but was allowed to settle in at Emily’s home. The days since then have been filled with sleeping, bathing, petting, and so much good food, lovingly prepared by Emily to ease Daisy back to good health.
No one will ever know all the neglect that wore Daisy’s spirit down, month after month, year in and year out. It’s taken Daisy a while to feel relaxed just lying next to Emily on the couch—echoes of past harsh words and being roughly pushed away don’t fade easily or quickly. Each small breakthrough swells Emily’s heart, and the joy in her voice was apparent in her recent report to us: “For the first time last weekend, a year and a half after I picked her up and brought her home, Daisy fell asleep on my lap, stretched out in the sun by the campfire.” Daisy’s paws and tail twitched ever so slightly as she dreamt of Emily’s holiday guests who had stroked and fussed over her.
At age 13, Daisy the Border Collie is still trekking on. She will need continuing care for the rest of her life. She has eye drops for dry eye and is on Benedryl for allergies. She is still fighting ear infections but they are controlled. She has a small tumor in her ear but it does not seem to bother her. Emily tells us Daisy never complains, not the slightest whimper.
Nowadays, Daisy tries never to let Emily out of her sight, following everywhere at her heels. It’s taken a long time and a world of patience, but slowly, slowly, slowly Emily has found and reawakened Daisy’s pleasure in being alive. Daisy has shown herself to be gentle with children and is happy to sit with someone for hours on end and just hang out. She sleeps curled in her bed on the floor and never makes a peep all night. She loves leash walks, people, and other dogs, and she even found she likes riding in a boat!
Emily’s other dogs crowd around to welcome their beloved mistress every time she returns home, and Daisy waits quietly at the back of the crowd, ‘til Emily meets her eager gaze. When Daisy hears the beloved voice, “Hello, Daisy, my sweet girl,” she squints her eyes and smiles, to all appearances the happiest, most contented dog in the world.
Jan. 4, 2010
Over the last 3 weeks Daisy has lost weight and seems disoriented and very fragile. I took her for a re-check last night and it confirms that our girl's health is failing pretty rapidly.
Her weight is down from 32 pds to 26 pds and she looks a bit disoriented at times. During her last check up in September her BUN was 54mg and CREA 2.3mg. This time her BUN is 130mg (or higher) and her CREA 2.3mg.
Options are intravenous fluids or fluids under the skin. We gave her fluids under the skin last night and it did make a difference in her perkiness but this is not a long term solution and will not take away all of her pain. My plan has always been to help her live a great life but not keep her alive if it meant she would live in pain. I have decided to give her fluids under the skin daily for a week(ish) to keep her comfortable until I set a date to send her home.
She is sleeping a lot more and does not follow me around much anymore. I regret ever complaining about her constantly being "under my feet". I noticed right away when she stopped following me everywhere. I have been telling her over the last few weeks to let me know when the time came for her to go home...she is ready now but I guess I thought she would live forever.
Until it's time, Daisy will eat delicious meats, get extra lovins and maybe go on a couple day trips with me to visit some folks to say goodbye. My plan is to go to my parents and have the vet come to their house (Grandma and Grandpa's) to put her to sleep while she sleeps soundly on her bed.
I am glad that she took a turn quickly and it was not a long painful process. I told her to let me know when she was ready and she did. I have been sitting on the floor with her alot lately and she falls asleep pretty fast. When the time comes, I will pet her until she falls asleep then let her pass. I am dreading it but I know she will be better off. I have always said, if dogs don't go to heaven then I don't want to go...I want to go where they are..that would be my heaven.
Attached is a family photo of Daisy's brothers and sisters. She was happy and loved by them all. The other photo is of her and another senior dog that we took from a shelter (may 09) since he was going to be put to sleep. They really love each other and he is always with her. His name is Winston and we are his forever home.
Thanks to CBBCR for allowing me to keep her and let her live out her life with us. I am also so glad a sponsor come along to ease the burden of her vet bills. I have a new found love for senior dogs and hope to help many more.