My Beloved Dog - Benny Bordeaux
A tribute to Benny Bordeaux
Benny Bordeaux died today
I'm writing this hubpage as a tribute to our beloved dog Benny who died this morning from a congenital heart condition.
Benny was a 6 year old Dogue de Bordeaux who was/is dearly loved by his family, me (I'm his mam, his Dad R, doggy brother Rosco and human brothers J and D.
I must say, I've never done anything like this before, I don't communicate via email, I don't have a blog, I don't even have a facebook account but for some reason I felt the need to tell the whole world about Benny - it must be like therapy or something!
I guess this won't be very interesting for most people but the fact that i'm writing it is already making me feel a bit better. I've come to the end of a long sad day and it feels right to gather my thoughts and record something to remind me of Benny (as if I need it).
Unfortunately this is as far as I got before having to mop up the tears and pause for a tea break. The fact is, Benny's a dog and I know in the grand scheme of things I should get a grip and try to get some perspective to my dog dying and I might just do that tomorrow or the next day but for today I'm going to allow myself to be emotional and share my feelings with you.
My Dad said 'S it's just not worth having a dog considering the heartbreak you suffer when it dies' Is he right? I would suspect not as my parents have never been without a dog despite saying they'd never do it again after losing a beloved family pet. Thankfully we're left with Rosco who is Benny's brother, not his real brother but a real brother in every other sense of the word. Rosco's a wonderful dog and we got him a year after Benny. I'm not sure how he'll cope on his own, he's a typical little brother, bossy around the house but a bit of a softy amongst other dogs which is where Benny would step in to protect him. When I walked Rosco this afternoon he didn't race around the field as is his normal activity but just sat by my side looking at me. More tears - oh dear I hope I can get through this without ruining my computer by crying onto the keyboard.
Ok I've composed myself now. Like I said before, this probably doesn't make for very interesting reading, Benny led a great life, we got him as a puppy and have loved him to bits every day since then. Going right back to when he was a puppy I remember we took him to the beach one day and he collapsed and seemed to pass out. I sort of knew something was wrong from that time and in 2006 we took him to the vets for an x ray on his hips which were also troublesome and the vet gave us some terrible news.
We were told that he was suffering from dilated Cardiomyopathy which is a disease of the heart. I was literally reeling with shock and everything I felt then I seem to be going through again now. We were told that he'd be dead within 6 weeks and given courses of medication to prolong his life. Of course we got a second opinion and found that he'd been diagnosed incorrectly and after consulting a fantastic vet called Mr Lowe at Ashleigh Vets in Knaresborough we found that one of Benny's heart valves wasn't working properly. He didn't have Cardiomyopathy and the prognosis was that he could lead a normal, drug free life.
Mr Lowe was right, Benny did lead a normal life but suffered the occasional episode and lost consciousness after extreme physical exertion but to all intents and purposes he was fine up until last Monday. I have to say after reading this back that we did not encourage Benny to overexert himself and in fact such episodes were limited. On the last occasion he chased a deer (which is what a Bordeaux is meant to do) and ran full pelt resulting in collapse.
I have to quote my Dad again as he offered wise but maybe harsh words at the time 'S you just can't stop him being a dog and enjoying what a dog's meant to do. Let him run around at the beach and one day he'll drop down dead and you'll have to sling him over your shoulder and bring him home!' There are a few points worth mentioning here; firstly, you'll probably guess that my Dad is the most pragmatic, logical, sensible, black and white type of guy you could ever meet but that sort of attitude is easier said than done. Also, although I didn't want to spoil Benny's fun I didn't want to lose him at only 2 years old. Lastly - no-one could ever sling Benny over their shoulder and carry him anywhere - he weighed 16 stones!
So what did I do at that point? I bought the best organic dog food money could buy, subscribed to Dr Schulzes theory of organic/herbal medication and gave Benny water therapy treatment on his heart......................... I have to say, R thought I'd lost the plot!
The following 4 years were relatively trouble free. About a year ago Benny had some surgery on his gums due to a problem with his jaw alignment but other than that, no big deal. Then last Monday arrived.............
R took Benny and Rosco out for their evening walk and when they came back R said that Benny had had one of his episodes but this time hadn't recovered. Benny sat in his box looking forlorn and when I felt his heart it was pounding far too fast. At around midnight we called our vets who referred us to VetsNow at Middlesbrough. We drove him there where he was examined by a vet called Mr Stacey who was extremely kind and very professional. He was so concerned about Benny that he advised us to leave him there overnight. I had a really bad feeling about it but knew it was the right thing to do. R and I left the clinic during the early hours of the morning and as we stood in the deserted car park R hugged me as I sobbed my heart out.
As you can imagine, we didn't sleep at all that night and the next morning the emergency vet called to say that Benny was very sick and had been transferred by animal ambulance to our own vets. When we arrived at our vets they'd already located a heart specialist and within no time we were on our way to Moor View Vets in Backworth.
At this point I'd like to say how thankful I am that we were referred to Moor View Vets. I can only hope that if I'm ever sick I'm able to find a place where the staff are as friendly and caring and as knowledgeable and professional as the vets and nurses at Moor View. Sophie examined Benny initially and even went to the trouble of talking directly to Mr Lowe who we'd consulted 4 years ago. I immediately felt confident that they had Benny's best interests at heart. After that Jonathan looked after Benny on a day to day basis and he is honestly the nicest vet I've ever come across! What a fantastic example of a person who is perfectly suited to his profession and is in it for the right reason - to treat sick animals. We also saw Antonio who is a specialist in that area and he was also brilliant. His examination of Benny was thorough and he explained the situation in terms which were easy to understand.
I spent some time with Benny during his hospital stay and that's where most of the attached photos came from (thank heaven for the iphone I got for Christmas). I know you're going to think this is sad but I took tons of photos of Benny in the hospital, I took video clips of him and even recorded his snoring. These are all the actions of a crazy person I know...........
Over the next few days Antonio adjusted Benny's medication and although the prognosis was grave he allowed us to take Benny home considering that his appetite had improved and his heart rate was more regular due to the medication. I was absolutely elated and I knew that we were getting our hopes up to think that he might get through this. We weren't to walk him over the next few days or allow him to do anything that might excite him too much.
Last night, (oh no more tears). Last night Benny lay in front of the fire with his brother while D and I built a Lego sky-scraper. I kept checking up on him but he seemed quite content snoring his head off in chorus with Rosco. R came home from work at around 2am and we stayed up with him a while longer.
We finally went to bed and I'm almost ashamed to say that as we lay in bed I confided in R that I felt overwhelmed with responsibility - why did I feel like that? I'm a woman with a partner, 2 kids, 2 dogs and a full time job - loads of responsibilities. I guess I was scared that Benny might need someone while we were all out at work - I don't know.
I got up bright and early this morning as D had to go to Rugby, (more tears) I gave Benny his medication and some dog treats and left with my usual parting comment 'Won't be long boys'
After rugby we went straight to my Mams for lunch and R called to say he'd meet me there. I actually asked if he'd walked Rosco and if Rosco was ok which seems weird now, I mean I didn't ask if Benny was ok.
R arrived at my Mam's and the really stupid thing was that I didn't pick up that anything was wrong. I actually asked R to rinse my wellies under the tap outside which he did. I watched him from the kitchen door until he came back inside. R gripped me really tight and I knew something was wrong. I noticed all of a sudden that his eyes were red and he said 'S, Benny's dead' (ok now I'm really crying). I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed until my parents came into the kitchen. My mam with a box of tissues and a hug and my Dad with some practical advice on pet bereavement......
R told me everything he knew I'd want to know and it turned out that he'd got up to walk Rosco and found Benny lying in his box, on his homemade crochet blanket (which was kindly donated by Laura who knows how it feels to lose a beloved dog). He was in the same position as always with his paw tucked under his body. He looked like he'd gone to sleep but never woken up. Rosco way lying beside him.
A while later we contacted forgetmenot pet crematorium who agreed to come and collect Benny. We drove the short journey home with D and my parents and I felt sick at the thought of seeing my wonderful, beautiful dog dead in his box. R had moved Benny still in his box into the kitchen and covered him with a towel. I cried and stroked him and kissed him on the brow then the guy from Forgetmenot arrived to take him away. D (who's only 11) took Benny's collar from his neck which I thought was brave and very touching as he said he didn't want me to be any more upset. My Mam and me took Rosco outside and when we got to the end of the street we turned and watched my Dad help carry Benny in his box to the Forgetmenot van.
It's been a really crap day and poor R couldn't get the day off work so I'm sitting here waiting for him so we can talk about it and console each other. I know things will be back to normal soon and I'm a pretty practical person with a positive attitude (must take after my Dad) but at this moment in time I feel very sad. I also had the added trauma of phoning J who is away at boarding school and had to tell him that his dog had died. Thankfully he called me back to say that he was surrounded by friends. I also received a very touching text from K and F from work and I know that K has been there before and knows how if feels to lose a dog and I appreciated the kind words.
I'm glad I committed my feelings to paper although I'm not sure if anyone will read it, it has helped simply to write it. If anyone else reads this they might feel better to know that there are others who feel as passionately about their pets.
A few things worth mentioning:
WE LOVED/LOVE BENNY BORDEAUX
WE MISS HIM LIKE YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE
I'M NOT THE CRYING TYPE - HONESTLY
HE LOVED SWIMMING AND CHASING RABBITS
HE COULD SLOBBER LIKE NO OTHER DOG
I USED TO SING SONGS FROM WEST SIDE STORY TO HIM (ok - that's weird I know)
Benny Bordeaux - 02/02/2004 - 07/02/2010