Sunday, May 20, 2012

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

You can’t make this stuff up.

We are instructed on our creative writing courses and workshops, to capture feelings and emotions at the time we feel them, no matter how hard it is. “Write it all down,” they tell us. “It will be so useful later. After all, you can’t make this stuff up.”

But I couldn’t do it. Not on Saturday, not on Sunday, and not yesterday. I’m not sure if I can do it now. Feelings of loss are nigh impossible to impart to paper and I’m not sure I’m that dedicated a writer to be cold and collected about it.

This is about Bentley. And about Bentley’s family: Tilly, ten months old; Nelly ten years old and us (my husband and me). We are close. There is so much love that I can’t put that down on paper either.

Bentley had his third birthday on March 24th. We wore paper hats and shared cake and sang. But two weeks ago Bentley wasn’t feeling too well, so we took him to our local vet. Over the course of four days and extensive blood tests we found that he had the onset of kidney failure. Armed with all the necessary clinical solutions available from our local vet, we brought him home and nursed him ourselves (there is no overnight care at the local animal hospital). We soon became adept at changing I.V. drips and giving subcutaneous fluids into his back by needle.  He stopped eating and I tried everything under the sun to tempt him to no avail.

By the time the weekend was over we decided to take control and made arrangements for him to be seen by the Atlantic Veterinarian College in Prince Edward Island. It is a teaching hospital of international repute. The Mayo Clinic for animals, if you like.

We left home at 3 am and arrived, via The Confederation Bridge, on Prince Edward Island, the birthplace of Canada, by 9.30 am. They were expecting us. They welcomed us all (yes, we took Tilly and Nelly with us) and we spent the remainder of the morning in consultation with a team of experts. Ultrasound showed that his kidneys appeared normal and so a course of treatment was agreed and we left him in their good care and came home arriving around midnight (a round trip of 900 kms).

Many phone calls ensued over the days that followed and as the hours and minutes ticked by it became apparent that Bentley was just not responding to treatment. And so on Saturday we returned to The Island, all of us, to see our boy and face the inevitable.

He walked into the family room and the three dogs had a sniff and a lick in acknowledgment. I looked the little fellow in the eyes (oh how the eyes can speak so many words) and I knew he wanted to stop the fight.  And so we made our decision and Bentley died in my arms at 12.30 pm on Saturday 5th May.

My husband walked ‘the girls’ while this was happening, as it was too much for him to bear. Bentley was his boy you see, his friend, his buddy.

Bentley’s team at the AVC consisted of internal medicine experts and final year vet college students. They were all present on Saturday. Some affected deeply, as they had bonded with him very quickly while he was in their care. He was such a lovable little chap.

They wrapped him in a velvet blanket and carefully placed him in a box for us to bring him home. We did the return five and a half hour journey with heavy hearts. The girls were absolutely wonderful: well behaved and not at all needy, but subdued and respectful.

Bentley is now under the apple tree with his grandfather, Boogie, and his two sisters, Molly and Yazmin.

And we still grieve.

And so, as you see, I am still unable to write about how I feel. All I have done is unburdened myself to this blog.  But I didn’t make any of this stuff up either.

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