Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunday 26 February 2012

I thought I'd try and be strong enough today to tell you how it all ended for Jasper on that last, sad Thursday.  I hope you don't mind - I thought that there couldn't really have been all these years of him describing his life, without sharing an account of his death.

Of course, I knew that, towards the end, the hour was approaching with increasing haste.  But I did not wake on that Thursday morning knowing that the day would be our last together.  In truth, I own that I had been fervently hoping against hope that nature would have taken Jasper as he slept - and perhaps, in a short time afterwards, that would indeed have happened.  But I am sure that you have glimpsed enough of me through Jasper over the years to know that I would not have wished any creature prolonged suffering for my own selfish purposes.  Obviously, the death-rattle had not subsided in my faithful sidekick - and I knew that there had been an overnight decline when not even some fresh chicken or a couple of spoonfuls of fresh oxtail soup could tempt Jasper into taking some breakfast.  He was keen to get into the car and set off for work however so, grabbing my bag and my keys, we left for the day.  It was the final time that Jasper would be alive in this house again.

Jasper was comparatively buoyant when we arrived at work, hopping out to reacquaint himself with his scent markers and cheerfully greeting his friends Ewan and Fizzy.  However, Jasper did not want to come and sit in the office with me.  He was warm on his car blankets and determined that he was going to sit quietly in our car.  I helped him to get comfortable and gave him a little kiss on the top of his head before closing him in and heading into the office.

It was a busy morning, which kept my mind occupied.  At around 12.00pm I accompanied Ewan and Fizzy onto the Bridleway for their lunchtime exercise.  I could see that Jasper was still sleeping soundly in the car, so I decided not to wake him.  When Ewan and Fizzy had returned and headed off for their nap, I gently unlocked the car door to check on Jazz.  At the click of the lock he awoke, and looked around at me as I opened the door.  The look on my little man's face took my breath away.  Somehow, some way, I knew - just by looking into his eyes - a part of him had gone.  Just gone.  The part of him that had, up until that moment, been putting up a spirited fight.  The will-to-live was gone.  Jasper had had enough.

I burst into tears straight away, but did my best to conceal them from my boy.  Until the last, however, he was nobody's fool and he pressed himself firmly against me as I wept, allowing (perhaps even wanting) my tears to spill into his fur.

After I had let him have a brief potter around the yard so that he could use the toilet facilities, I helped him as he jumped back onto his car seat and held him tightly until he had drifted off slowly to sleep once more.  Aided, I confess, by recourse to a cigarette (please do not frown upon me - I was in utter despair) I then made The Phone Call.

I knew, then, that I had no other choice.  And I was wretched in that knowledge.

The vet was extremely sympathetic, and we fixed an appointment for 5.00pm that evening, half an hour before the practice opened for evening appointments.  The next call was worse, perhaps, even than that.  It was to a friend of our friend, Sandy, who was a good chum of Jasper, as well as of our family in general.  Mr. Winfield (Sandy's friend) runs a local well-established and reputable pet crematorium (I subsequently learned that it was Mr. Winfield's company who received and returned Jasper's predecessor, Tess, to me).  Mr. Winfield was the very model of sympathy and dignity in his expressions of sorrow and the descriptions of the services he offered.  I engaged him for what I knew would be needed following my appointment with the vet - I knew that I could not afford his services; but Jasper deserved nothing but the very best; in death as in life.

It was then that I had to telephone my mother and Maisie.  Out of respect to them, I shall not repeat the details of those distressing conversations.  Somewhat fortuitously (if any of this can be even remotely described in terms of "fortune") it was a day when Dave the office cleaner visited.  He was a great favourite with Jasper (and it was entirely mutual), so Dave was able to say his goodbyes.  He cried, but clearly did not wish it to be known, so I politely didn't notice.

Actually, this is harder than I thought.  I'm not sure I can go on for now.  Hope you can forgive.  I'll be back tomorrow for the end of it all.

With love, amidst tears.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Monday 6 February 2012

Well, it's been a month now.  I'm told that time is a great healer - but I'm still waiting.

I am so grateful for all the many kind cards and messages I received when Jasper passed away, they proved such a comfort to me.  Some people also generously sent a donation to assist with the vets' fees and I was ever so touched by this.

A number of times over the past weeks I have sat here at my computer, a blank screen in front of me, trying to write something to go on the blog.  But the words that once flew to my fingertips are all gone now.

I am endeavouring to keep myself active and involved in various ways.  Generally, I am alright at work - though it does still pain me to see Ewan's endeavours to find Jasper.  He thinks he is hiding somewhere and keeps looking for him.  It's in the evenings that it is hardest.  I hate coming back to an empty house and struggle to get to sleep at nights.

Alas, I have had to seek assistance from the doctor and came very close to being admitted to hospital last week.  But I daresay I will be OK.  I know that Jasper would want me to be happy and so I do try, though I often catch myself wondering if I could have done anything differently - something that might have saved him...

One of the things I'm doing to keep myself occupied is walking a dog three times a week for The Cinnamon Trust (  I think this prospect was mentioned on the blog before now, though I was only "paired up" with a dog-owner a couple of weeks ago.  Little Benjy is a Yorkshire Terrier, 12 years old but very feisty, belonging to a delightful elderly gentleman who is stricken with osteo-arthritis.  Benjy doesn't need too much in the way of walking, but I do enjoy his company.

I hope - if you will indulge me - to continue posting here from time to time.  About various things; about Jasper -  life with him and life now without him.

I will admit to feeling a little narked this evening.  Jasper had a regular column in a local parish magazine and was (though I say it myself) quite popular - "he'd" been a featured columnist since 2005 or 2006 - I've just read the January edition and there is not a single word about the fact that he has died. Not one. Quite apart from the aggravation of that, I was rather hoping that the editors might have put something in so that I don't keep getting "Oh hello ****, is Jasper not with you today?!" everywhere I go and then having to explain and go through it all again.  But I daresay I am overestimating his popularity, or others' enjoyment of what he had to bark, at any rate.

Jasper did compose an "if you are reading this..." post, to be placed on the blog in the event of his death.  I am afraid you will have to forgive me for being remiss in not putting it up yet.  I will dig it out and post it soon.

Until then... keep smiling.