Extremely long entry, but I need it!!

I think my son is struggling with his teething and maybe that’s why he is not eating very well, and feeding more off me because he needs more comfort at the moment. I’m not sure how the featured image thing at the top of this page works, whether you can have a featured image for every new entry you write…I hope so! I have loads of beautiful pictures of Harry! Anyway he was only 3 and a half months old in the featured picture of this entry 🙂 I think he’s a happy baby, I hope I’m actually right. I actually got two super nice comments for my first entry which was really great, I didn’t think anyone would really read 🙂

Unfortunately I’m really disappointed in myself today, despite getting a decent nights sleep last night, my annoyance levels are still quite high. Harry seemed happy this morning and was keen to eat his cereal, but then suddenly didn’t want it and kept pushing away the spoon. I went for things he could eat with his fingers; grapes (cut in half AND skinned!!) and a banana (which I cut up into slices.) He did eat the majority of these things, but rather than seeing it like that I got annoyed when he decided to eat the slices of banana whilst clinging to me and got banana all over my trousers and top! There was more banana on me than on him! But looking back that’s actually quite funny.

I then got annoyed when he fed from me and fell asleep but suddenly woke up crying when I moved him to his cot…but that’s not his fault. I know he finds it difficult to settle on his own when his teeth are pushing through. I was in a really bad mood so my mum suggested we go out for a walk. I almost didn’t go but my mum was willing to go on her own with Harry so I changed my mind. I’m glad I went because it was lovely and sunny. The temperatures have been dropping quite quickly, in the space of two days I’ve gone from wearing just a T-shirt to a jumper! I live near a lovely wooded area with a path that stretches a considerable way! It goes through several towns and is shrouded in woods. My favourite bit is that there’s a little castle also surrounded in woodland and trees. It’s on a steep hill so it can be seen from the motorway and the surrounding roads- it literally looks like a fairy-tale castle poking out of a dense woodland. There’s also a little cafĂ© on the path near our house that my mother and I stopped in with Harry. Eventually he wanted to walk around so I let him, but its a small cafĂ© and it also sells lots of handmade jewellery, pillows and cards and things so I had to spend all my time making sure Harry didn’t pull any of these things down and break them! Anyway Harry is having his nap now, I guess going out tired him out!

I guess I’m just feeling quite fed up today. I think my mum is too. Last week was extremely unpleasant; my mum and I had to return our rescue dog, Saskia, back to the dogs trust centre she came from where she was checked over by their vets and put to sleep, as they could do nothing else for her and keeping her alive would mean she’d have a really poor quality of life. She would have been 17 in the January coming. We rehomed her in 2003 when I was 15 years old, but my dad insisted all the paperwork be put in my name. We’ve had a good time with Saskia, nearly 14 years! My dad has struggled with severe mental health difficulties since I was quite young and he was told in the year 2000 that he’d never really have improved mental health and was forced to retire completely. He was stabilised on medication and has basically been left to his own devices. The only contact he has with any medical care are the blood tests he has to have every three months to check his lithium levels. Since I became pregnant he has actually become a lot worse (it wasn’t anything to do with me being pregnant, he was very excited about the baby, it was just a bad coincidence) and has seemed to have stopped taking care of himself properly and not really doing anything around the house, he mainly just sleeps.

The picture at the top was taken in September last year, a whole year ago! But that month my mum, who is my fathers named carer and also my named carer, was diagnosed with cancer of the womb. She had a hysterectomy which took a fair while for her to recover from. When she was in hospital it was awful, because my father wouldn’t do any housework, I had to take care of the whole house, the dog and my three month old son!! My mum then had to have a ‘sandwich’ course treatment; three six hour chemotherapy sessions, five weeks of radiotherapy, then three more shorter chemotherapy sessions. In all of the chaos, the poor dog was just there getting old and ill and none of us really had the time to look after her properly. Looking back on it all I feel absolutely horrible about it. I wish I’d done something about her much sooner. Saskia became incontinent and would make mess in the house nearly every day and my father wouldn’t clean up properly. I would always do what I could and so would my mum. My mum always fed her and gave her her medication for her arthritis despite her own cancer and I would always give her water and feed her when my mum felt too ill to. By the end I was picking up all Saskia’s mess as soon as I saw it and cleaning the floors and her towels religiously. I was constantly terrified that her incontinence in the house would harm my son.

My mum rang the dogs trust back in February when she was still very ill, to try return Saskia. She stated the truth, that both her owners were ill and her daughter (me) had a baby and none of us could give Saskia the attention she desperately needed. The dogs trust accepted her back and gave us a time to bring her back but…my dad wouldn’t let us. He said if any of us tried to take her he’d just put her on the lead and refuse to let go. He didn’t speak to us for days on end. So mum had to call the dogs trust and say we had decided to keep her. My dad promised to take her for walks and feed her. That lasted maybe a week or two at most. He stopped cleaning her mess too. As Harry started to crawl, Saskia was kept outside in the driveway. She’d be surrounded by her own mess for days because dad wouldn’t pick it up. As her arthritis worsened she lost the ability to stand properly, her back legs would just collapse. She’d often collapse on her mess and slip in it. It was awful. Neighbours would come to the gate and look at her. Every single postman and Amazon delivery man would ALWAYS comment on poor Saskia. “She’s old isn’t she?!” “Every time I see your dog I just want to give her a hug” ” You’ve got a very sad looking dog there…” “Can she manage a short walk down the hill? Can’t anything more be done for her?” “Is your dog OK out here?” Just walking to our front door you’d be overwhelmed by the smell of dog mess. Dad would often leave Saskia without water. I always gave her fresh water, but I’d be so busy with Harry I wouldn’t notice till the end of the day and I’d find Saskia licking at an empty bowl. In the end I found a number of a dog grooming place and my mum booked Saskia a bath. Dad didn’t want to take her. She stank of mess from always falling in it. Eventually we got her bathed and I decided I’d had enough and picked up the mess every time I came across it. But as Saskia was getting more unwell the mess was more difficult to pick up. I cleaned all our downstairs floors every single night without fail, often at 12:30am out of fear of Harry catching something. Saskia would still have accidents all the time in the house and I noticed dad would pick it up with kitchen towel and not clean the floor, he wouldn’t even put the mess in a bag.

Saskia was struggling to stand. She fell over all the time. She couldn’t reach the grass at the bottom of our garden because if she did she’d fall and get stuck in a hole that has developed to be quite deep where the neighbours fence meets our grass (the ground slopes down.) One day I went to hang out Harrys washing and I saw Saskia staring at me unable to get herself out of the hole. She often couldn’t stand up to eat her food or drink her water. She’d sit in her food and her water. This had all gone far enough. I rang the dogs trust again and said Saskia was my dog and I couldn’t look after her anymore. I said I still lived at home and my parents were ill and that my dad would often leave her without water or food or medication. I exaggerated there I know, because even if my dad left her without my mum and I would never leave her without but it sounded like maybe this time the dogs trust wouldn’t take her back. The person on the phone said someone else would ring me back. They did and said they were concerned about her age. They said she’d have to be seen by a vet who would most likely put her to sleep. I had to agree. They wanted me to take her on a Monday but were so concerned by my exaggerations that I had to agree to Saturday (last Saturday.) They wanted it to be that same day I rang which was a Friday but I knew my dad would notice if suddenly my mum and I were all like “we have to take Saskia to see a vet right now,” he’d know we were ‘up to something again’ as he’d probably see it.

Taking Saskia on Saturday was awful. I couldn’t believe what I was doing. It was all wrong and not the end I wanted to the dog I have loved for nearly 14 years. Things happen to a family but it’s never the animals’ fault, they just have to cope with it and put up with it and they cannot complain. Harrys arrival was hard on Saskia as she has always been terrified of young children, we never knew why. My mum and I were up early Saturday morning and had long since forgotten where the rescue centre was. We had to take poor Harry too as my dad cannot look after him alone. I put Harry in the car and told my dad we were going to the park. I just picked up the dog who was struggling to stand and keep herself steady and bungled her in the front passenger seat with me. I couldn’t even put her at the back because she’s so terrified of Harry. I found the address of the rescue centre on the internet on my phone and typed the postcode into the Google Maps app which directed us there. When we were unsure of the way I myself got out of the car and asked a stranger. I NEVER do that because I don’t have the confidence. When we got to the place, the staff looked so angry and upset at us, some couldn’t even look at us. I signed the papers and left Saskia with the dogs trust. The vets obviously checked her over and I got a call at 6:20pm saying Saskia had been put to sleep. They were like “just letting you know Saskia was put to sleep, in case you were worried.” 🙁 Of course I was but my dad was not going to let her go any other way. He refused to see he couldn’t look after her like she needed and neither could my mum or me. He refused to see how poor her quality of life was becoming and that everyone was noticing it. I had to take advantage of the fact the paperwork was in my name despite only being a child when my parents rehomed her just so I could sign for her to be taken back by the dogs trust. I looked like the cruellest person of all time at the dogs trust saying she’d go without water and things and I couldn’t look after her anymore, then just signing her off to die alone. My mum and I had to sneak her away to do it all, just because my dad would never let her go even if she was suffering.

That was the worst thing though. That she had to be put to sleep alone, without any of us there. It was all wrong. The lady on the phone said I’d done the right thing to let her be put to sleep. I asked her what time it had been done and they said early afternoon… but I wanted an exact time. I said to please give my thanks to the vets who evaluated her and did what was best for her. My voice cracked saying this. This was not the ending I wanted for Saskia. My dad didn’t notice she was missing till 3 or 4pm maybe, we’d sneaked her away at 11am. That should tell you a lot about the care Saskia received. Then we had to tell him and he didn’t speak to us. He’s taken it really badly.

So yeah last week was just…not good. It was trying for my mum and I and we’re all still upset. Well I certainly am! It was all just horrible. but at least Saskia isn’t suffering anymore. RIP Saskia. I’m so sorry its unreal.

2 thoughts on “Extremely long entry, but I need it!!”

  1. You did what you had to do—and the most loving thing to do, considering Saskia’s age and condition. I know it was terribly hard for you to let them put her down,but she is all right now, not suffering anymore ever. There is a small verse in the Bible that says, “Both man and beast, Lord, thou savest.” So I can tell you your Saskia is in Heaven and young again and healthy. You will see her again. It’ll be all right. Let God comfort you. It’s really all right, dear.

  2. Thank you so much for that reply and for taking the time to read this long entry, I guess it was more for myself to get things out, but your reply really has helped as I feel so bad about Saskia. I definitely know Saskia is in a much much better place now where she can no longer suffer. Thank you again for being super nice, I appreciate it 🙂

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