Gus was 8 years old when he arrived at my door, he was supposed to meet a new owner but they refused to let him in when they discovered he was a Staffie. The lady from the South Coast Staffie Rescue had gone to a lot of trouble so I invited them in for a cup of tea, this dog sat up on his back legs and begged with his front paws and never left.
I hadn’t lived alone since I was 18, when he came into my life I was so lonely, but his gentle playfulness brought me out of myself. Working from home I rarely left my flat until he came along, he was so good at getting me out every day. They don’t deserve the reputation – as the vet told me this week – Staffies are very low down the list of incidents with Golden Retrievers being the highest. Gus was the gentlest dog I had ever known and if you are considering a dog please give them a chance.
He had a passion for football, and would enjoy playing with the ball unfortunately the balls would not last long. Once he heard the noise of a ball he would be off like a rocket. I once had to apologise to two very lovely rugby players when Gus took their ball and ripped it to shreds in front of them, thinking he was playing the game. He loved Christmas or Birthdays, helping people unwrap presents gave him enormous pleasure.
He had a lot of strength, and would often try and pick up the longest heaviest log he could find! He really liked to play fetch – we kept our local Pet Shop in business because frisbees and balls did not have a long life.
Gus began to struggle to go to the loo recently, I took him to the vets, they gave him some antibiotics and probotic fibre to help him. However things did not improve so he had X-rays and ultrasound under anasthetic on Thursday. Unfortunately the results showed his prostrate was misshapen and huge and the neck of the bladder was also affected – there wasn’t anything they could do to improve things. The vet said he was incredibly heathy apart from this one area.
I took him home and we spent the evening and the night together, I told him how grateful I was for him being in my life. I knew things weren’t right when he wasn’t interested in playing fetch – which was his favourite game.
As much as I wanted him around I had to do what was right for him. The next day I took him back to the vets, it was a beautiful sunny day so we drove with the roof of the car down, he sat up straight with a big grin enjoying the sunshine on his face and the wind blowing through the car. I stayed with him to the end, cradling his head and looking into his eyes telling him how much I loved him. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.
I am beside myself with grief – I have lost a loyal, gentle soul and life won’t be the same without him.