We adopted Willy and his little pal Kuma from the Lost Dogs Home on 7 December 2007.
Our old dog Robbie had died in 2006 followed by our second dog Charlie in 2007. We got back from a holiday in December and I was looking at the Lost Dogs Home web site and found two Jack Russelly guys who they were looking to have adopted together. They were pretty sure they hadn’t grown up in the same home but had somehow found each other while roaming the streets and had become inseparable so they were being offered as a set. Perfect! We went straight down and brought them home. I let them out into the garden when we got back and Willy disgraced himself right away by jumping in the fish pond (he always loved water).
We never worked out their back story. Willy was about 2 to 3 years old, and Kuma probably a year younger, when we adopted them so we figure Willy was born in 2005.
They seemed healthy and well looked after but Willy was quite traumatized and it took several years for him to really become comfortable and feel safe. Kuma was relaxed at home but terrified out on the streets, and we took to walking them early in the morning so there were fewer things to be scared of. Over the years they gradually became less scared and more assured, even meeting a few doggy friends on their walks. We met a great dog trainer who helped us through those early couple of years and they even passed their obedience training — possibly because we were the only ones to turn up for the last lesson. Anyway, we have the certificates to prove it.
Everything seemed to happen to Willy. He spent a worrying night at the emergency vet after being poisoned, and then in 2012 he spent two weeks at another animal emergency hospital after eating a peach pip which got stuck and caused serious complications. We really thought he wouldn’t pull through from that, but he did, and in some ways it marked a new beginning. When he got home he seemed much more settled and it was as if he knew that he finally had a home where he was loved, a home forever. The years since then have been pure delight.
Sadly, in February 2016 we found out that Willy had a tumour in his nose. The first biopsy came back negative which was a great relief and he had surgery to remove it, but then further testing showed that it really was cancer and the prognosis wasn’t good. We decided to start on a chemotherapy treatment through 2016. Willy responded really well with mostly minor and occasional side effects. We wondered if he might make it to his adoption anniversary (he did) and then Christmas and New Year (yes and yes!) and then we started quietly wondering if he might magically live for another few months. Every extra day was very special.
Although the treatments were intense, there were only a few days when he wasn’t totally happy, running around, and barking at everything. He was the most talkative dog I’ve ever known, and took on the role of telling off everyone and everything while looking after his pack. Even on his last morning walk he was wagging his tail and full of beans, woofing at cyclists, joggers, other dogs, birds, and hot air balloons. It seemed like a normal day but by the evening he was looking a bit flat and then during the night started having seizures. So in the early morning of Friday last week we had to rush to the animal emergency and say goodbye.
Willy lived happily and well for one year and two months following his diagnosis and every one of those days was a joy. Our home is so quiet and sad with Willy not around to look after us.
Go well, little friend. xx