Brutus and Kevin were curled up on the sofa together. It was a particularly cold evening in August and although the gas heater was on, the boys still felt the need to snuggle up to each other.
Kevin had been particularly clingy with Brutus in recent weeks, choosing not to leave his side and curling up next to the old dog whenever he could. Brutus seemed to take some comfort in this contact and the two boys would much prefer to be next to each other rather than with myself or my husband.
“My leg is hurting me.” Brutus sighed one night. “The human is taking me to the vets tomorrow to get it looked at.”
Kevin looked up from washing his bum and frowned, “Are you OK Brutus?”
“Not sure yet, I hope so” Brutus shrugged.
Saturday 6th August 2022 – At the Vets
Brutus had always loved going to the vets as he gets to kiss the nurses and gets spoilt with treats and this visit was no different. The vet let him scoff the rest of the treats in the tub while she examined his hind leg. It was painful for Brutus but the dried roo snacks made it a pretty good trade off.
“There is a slight swelling on his right hock, it could be an infection or arthritis but we have to rule out more serious things so best we X-ray him.” said the vet and she then organised an X-ray for the following Wednesday.
Wednesday 10th August 2022
“See you later then?” Brutus grinned at Kevin. His handsome face now frosty with grey fur on his eye tufts and around his muzzle. But although he was nearly ten years old, he still behaved like a puppy and was obsessed with his toys.
“You bet you will. I’ll bite your legs if you sniff my bum!” Kevin taunted him.
“You don’t have any teeth Kevin but hey, who am I to shatter your plans.” Brutus smirked back at him.
“Are you scared?” Kevin asked him.
After a few seconds Brutus replied bluntly, “No, I am not.”
And with that, Brutus was led outside and helped into the car by his human Dad while Kev pressed his face against the window and watched the car reverse out of the garage.
I was working from home that week and later that day I received the call from the vet saying that the X-rays showed it was looking likely that Brutus had bone cancer. But they were going to obtain a sample to make sure because there was a slim chance that it could be an infection and that needed to be ruled out. At that point I was hoping by some miracle it was an infection but the awful sinking feeling in my stomach told me otherwise.
Several hours later, I collected a sleepy Brutus from the vets along with his bag of strong painkilling medication. The vet and the nurse lifted him into the car for me and I drove home with my precious cargo in the back while sporadically sobbing each time I stopped at any traffic lights. I wasn’t ready for this – none of us were. How dare cancer do this to our dog.
Thursday 11th August 2022
“How will the humans manage without you?” Kevin asked Brutus that evening once Brutus had filled him in on the news.
“They have you to help them Kevin.” He nudged him gently.
“How will I manage? I mean with my anger management issues, am I up to the job?” Kevin quizzed him.
“You are the ONLY man for the job and of course you will manage.” Brutus said firmly.
And with that, Kevin had to be content but inwardly he was terrified because being alone had never been his strong point. He had always enjoyed interacting with Brutus through the bedroom window watching him play in the garden and Brutus had always done a splendid job of keeping the stray cats out of the garden in return. (Kevin hates other cats)
The vet telephoned me the next day to say that there was no sign of infection and that it was indeed bone cancer – likely osteosarcoma. This is a fast spreading and aggressive cancer and quite often, by the time it is diagnosed, it has often spread. Suddenly, a few things fell in to place about Brutus and his behaviour in recent months – nothing specific, but things that could easily be put down to old age or arthritis but with further investigation, would show otherwise.
Brutus weighed 35kgs and already had a reduced range of movement in his hips from old age and we did not think it would be fair on him to amputate his leg and put him through chemotherapy. He was not the kind of dog that could manage on three legs at all and he was already looking unwell which probably meant that the cancer had spread.
After ending the call with the vet, I called my husband to give him the news. He too had been hanging on to the hope that it would be an infection or arthritis and it was awful to shatter that last bit of hope for him and I could hear the devastation in his voice.
Because we had been advised that he could have between one and three months left to live, we had decided to treat Brutus palliatively and make every single day for him count and create a bucket list of his favourite things to enjoy.
Saturday 13th August 2022 – Bucket List
“What’s a bucket list?” Kevin demanded to Brutus, “And why have you got one and I haven’t?”
“Because I am the goodest boy!” Brutus said smugly and nudged Kevin so hard that he fell off the sofa and said “Bollocks!”.
Brutus then patiently explained to Kevin what a bucket list was and how it is a nice thing to do in order to fill the time that you have left in life with the things that would please you the most and make you happy.
Kevin frowned, “I have a question?”
“Go on, what is it?” Brutus asked him.
“Why do we have to wait until our time is running out before doing nice things? Why doesn’t everyone do the stuff that they dream of doing now?”
Brutus didn’t reply because he didn’t know the answer to that and quite frankly, neither do I.
But I will say that his bucket list consisted of lots of nice things including a trip to Petstock to choose a toy, have all of his favourite food, go to his favourite cafe, have his favourite humans come round to see him, go to Bunnings and have a hotdog from the sausage sizzle and finally, take him on a final holiday to our favourite AirBnB in Prevelly, Western Australia.
Bucket List Item Number 1. – Favourite Cafe and Beach Trip
The first item on the bucket list was to take Brutus to ours and his favourite cafe and feed him whatever we were having and that day. He enjoyed both savoury and sweet muffins. In fact, he had most of ours as we didn’t have much of an appetite to be honest.
“Mum?” Brutus asked me.
“Have I got crumbs on my face?” Brutus stuffed his smushy face up close to mine.
“No you haven’t Brutus.” I told him.
“Well, don’t you think it’s about time that I did have some crumbs on my face – and in my mouth?” He eyed up the last piece of savoury muffin on my husband’s plate.
I laughed at him and gave him the piece of muffin and watched him eat it in exaggerated fashion as though it was a three course meal. Brutus was never a quick eater and would make a big deal out of the smallest of morsels.
After that we went for a gentle walk on the beach by the riverside. It’s a gorgeous place and Brutus’s often used to swim there.
Bucket List Item Number 2. – Petstock
The next stop was Petstock in South Fremantle – our local pet shop, this was on the same day as bucket list item number 1. Brutus loves it there as the girls always make such a fuss of him and give him treats. Let me add that Brutus’s tantrums in this store were legendary and he was famous for them. Each time I took him to the store, if he found a toy that he wanted and I wouldn’t buy it, you could bet your sweet life that he would throw himself on the ground, shadow box with his front paws and refuse to get up.
The wonderful staff there would usually have to tempt him out of the store with food/treats to get him to my car.
On one occasion he spotted a blue plush unicorn head toy and decided that he wanted it. We managed to get him out of the store to the car with treats. But then he threw himself onto the bitumen in the carpark and kicked his legs like a baby horse.
The only time he moved was when I took him back into the shop to purchase the said unicorn toy. While I was waiting to pay, my husband called and asked where I was (I was due home). Explaining to him about the tantrum over the toy, my husband sighed, ‘You are not going to buy it for him are you, he has more than enough toys!’
“I can’t exactly make any promises I am afraid” I replied. And much to the delight of Brutus, we left the store with him clutching his new plush unicorn head. We even got a photo of one of the store assistants posing with Brutus and his unicorn. What a day that was for a dog to be alive – he had a captive audience, treats from the store, lots of cuddles, told what a good boy he was AND he got the toy of his dreams.
Anyway, as part of his bucket list, we let him choose some toys and treats and got the staff to keep them behind the counter for us and I would pay for them the next day (Monday).
“Can I really have whatever I want?” Brutus barked happily.
“Whatever you want.” I hugged him. He looked so happy to be there, his tail wagging in circles so fast that he knocked some of the toys off the shelves. Unable to believe his luck, he noisily snuffled into some fluffy toy rabbits and then searched along the shelves until he found some Kong toys. We made our selection and the girls put them aside for us.
It had definitely been a good day for Brutus. He was limping a little and we were careful not to walk him far – literally just the bare minimum for him.
Monday 15th August 2022
But despite our best efforts and much to my shock, I couldn’t believe how much Brutus deteriorated overnight. When I woke up on Monday morning to take him for his morning pee, he got off the sofa and his leg gave way. It broke my heart to see my darling boy scrabbling along the floor and I had to use a towel under his belly to help him to the garden. Hoping it was just morning stiffness, I asked my husband to keep an eye on him while I was at work.
Later that morning my husband called me to say that Brutus couldn’t stand properly on his own and could now no longer walk unaided. Not only that, he was visibly looking tired and unwell.
The vet had in fact warned us that his leg would not be strong – sometimes the leg can even just break/snap with osteosarcoma and it would be excruciating. We didn’t want that happening to Brutus so when my husband called me, I knew it was decision time.
“What do you think?” I asked him, my heart was pounding in my chest, I felt physically sick. Did I want to know the answer?
“I think he’s done.” My husband said sadly.
Taking a deep breath, I telephoned the vets to organise the final trip to Rainbow Bridge for my sweet dog who wouldn’t even get to complete his bucket list of a sausage sizzle at Bunnings or go down to Prevelly, to the cottage that he loved so much.
We really wanted the vet to come to our house so that Brutus could be comfortable in his home with his family. The vet agreed with our decision and arrangements were made to come to our house at 11am the next day (Tuesday 16th August).
Brutus and Kevin remained close that night, it was a private connection that we were not privy to and could only watch. “Brutus, who is going to run around the Mitzi when you are gone?” Kevin meowed, he looked quite upset. “Because it can’t be me, I am an indoor cat.”
The old brown dog frowned, “There may not be anyone that can run around the Mitzi for some time I’m afraid.”
“How did that all start – running around the Mitzi?” Kevin asked him, “Tell me the story again…”
Brutus patiently started to tell Kevin the story of how running around his human Dad’s Mitzi car, became something of a national sport within his garden.
And speaking of the Mitzi, allow me to tell you the story so that you will know what I am talking about.
Run Around the Mitzi
One of Brutus’s habits was that when my husband came home from work in the evenings, he liked to do a lap around my husbands car – a Mitsubishi SUV. We don’t know why he enjoyed it but we do know that it was important for him to greet my husband in this way.
It didn’t matter how cold/wet/windy it was, on his way back into the house after saying hello to my husband, he had to run around the ‘Mitzi’. He would then run inside at speed, skidding across the floor while looking absurdly proud of himself. We even got to the stage where we could say to him ‘Brutus, run around the Mitzi!’ and he would do so on command, running as fast as his long legs could carry him with a big grin on his face.
I would hear the garage door go up – sometimes early, sometimes late – even midnight and Brutus would go outside, wait for my husband to park the car, greet him and then do his laps around the car. It was adorable and became part of our evening routine. Kevin would watch out of the living room window looking somewhat bemused at Brutus clumsily doing zoomies around the Mitzi.
We tried to confuse him one night as we both drive SUVs and I put my Kia where my husband would normally park his Mitzi and then let Brutus out. Brutus was about to start running when he skidded to a halt, looked at both cars and then immediately went to my husbands car to start running. There was no tricking him let me tell you that.
My husband did say though, he enjoyed Brutus going outside to meet him every night, wagging his tail, wiping his snout on his jeans and then doing laps around the car. It was a lovely welcoming home routine and we loved it.
We left the bedroom door open that night and in the early hours of the morning, we could hear Brutus scrabbling across the floor to come into the bedroom.
He went to see my husband first and then I helped him up on to the bed. I was squished up at the end of the bed with nothing but a sheet to barely cover me and felt as stiff as a board. Yet I couldn’t disturb him.
I occasionally felt a gentle lick on my face but other than that, he slept soundly between his two humans.
The garbage truck came and went without event and without Brutus barking at it and starting off the local dog choir that usually did the obligatory barking every Tuesday. I guess another dog would have to take over that role.
But for Brutus, his time with us was almost done and he had earned his rest.
We have never had any of our animals sent to Rainbow Bridge from home before – but it just seemed to be the right thing for Brutus. Rocky our kelpie went to the vet as an emergency so it was different for him.
The waiting part was the hardest. My chest was aching with grief, we knew it was the kindest decision and we owed Brutus a dignified and pain free ending. But still, it didn’t make it any easier.
At 09.54am I received a text from the vet saying that they would be arriving at around 11.30am. That was fine by us as our good friend Greet – a lady that Brutus loved so very much and had always bought him birthday and Christmas presents, was going to come round to see him to say goodbye.
When she arrived, Brutus was lying on his bed, wagging his tail and made heroic efforts to try and stand up so that he could wash her neck and show her what a good boy he was.
“Ive bought you some toys!” Greet said to him while holding a stuffed cow and a stuffed bright pink pig (Brutus loved his squeaky plus piggy toys that Greet used to buy him).
‘Is that mine?” Brutus asked happily and before Greet could answer, he took the pink plush pig and tried to hobble to the living room to play.
“Damn it, my legs won’t work!” Brutus looked frustrated as his hind leg gave way from under him. Greet coaxed him back on to his bed so she could pet him without him falling over.
“You’re such a good boy, you really are!” Greet told him. Then she gave a delighted Brutus all the cuddles he wanted while he frantically tried to wash the tears from her face.
A bit later after Greet had gone, we saw the car pull up outside the driveway and we opened the garage door so the vet and the nurse could drive into our garden. We quickly had to put Kevin in his room as we did not want him to see any of this and he isn’t always good with visitors anyway.
The sofa was ready with Brutus’s favourite toys – including his beloved unicorn and favourite bears. Brutus’s blanket had been carefully laid on there for him – all the things that he loved were there.
The vet and the nurse came armed with a soft blanket for Brutus to lay on. Brutus was so happy to see them, “Hi ladies, how is it going?” Then as he tried to get up to greet them, he collapsed to the floor and we helped him up so he was sitting on the blankets on the sofa.
We chatted for a bit, we laughed and we cried – they had known him for his entire 9.5 years and had watched him grow into the magnificent dog he was. Then the vet put a cannula in to his hind leg – he barely noticed it. (Brutus hated his front legs being touched).
Now the next part of the story will be seen from Brutus’s point of view
Brutus was on the blankets on the sofa when he heard a little cough. Ignoring it, he rested his head on his paws while the humans fussed him.
“Excuse me, it’s rude to ignore visitors!” A well spoken voice said in the background.
Forcing himself to sit up, Brutus blinked a few times, cocked his head to the side and gasped.
“Hello my friend!” The voice piped up. And there; standing right in front of Brutus was his old kelpie brother Rocky who crossed over to Rainbow Bridge in 2018.
Brutus looked at the humans who were busy talking. How could they not see the little black kelpie dog in the living room? “OMG Rocky! You came for me – but I don’t understand, how come the humans cant see you?”
“They can’t see me, only you can. I am here to escort you on to the next part of your journey to Rainbow Bridge.”
“What do I do? I don’t know what to do?” Brutus looked a bit frightened.
“Let your humans cuddle you and enjoy it – make the most of it and make the most of them. Don’t worry, I’ve got you and everything is going to be OK I promise.” Rocky comforted him.
Brutus settled back in the sofa and he noticed that his Mum was sitting right next to him and his Dad was leaning above him and stroking him. Rocky was right, how jolly nice to have so much affection and the fluffy blanket felt so nice and soft as well.
“Kangaroo meat Brutus?” He heard his Mum’s voice ask him. That was nice, he never got roo meat in the mornings. He took it gently, ate it and continued talking to Rocky.
“You are looking good Rocky, how are your hips? Do you still have cancer?” Brutus asked him.
“Some raw steak Brutus?” His Mum offered him.
“Don’t mind if I do!” Brutus laughed and gobbled down the steak.
“No cancer, no bad hips – life is fantastic if I say so myself!” Rocky replied and then added. “Oh yes, you have a few people waiting for you at Rainbow Bridge, I think you are going to be in for a nice surprise!”
“Schmackos Brutus?” His Mum handed him some treats. She was crying. Why was she crying?
“Hmmm, Oh yes – go on then!” Brutus nodded. “I am a bit tired but I’ve always got room for some Schmackos but no more after that, I am too full to eat another thing.”
“Who is there, is Vader the boxer there?” Brutus yawned.
“Might be, only one way to find out!” Rocky barked softly.
“Rocky, I feel a bit funny, Oh no, I’m scared, what is happening? what do I do?” Brutus panicked.
“You’re Mum is right in front of you, give her a kiss.” Rocky instructed him.
Brutus had started to lose focus but managed to look at his Mum’s face – it was so close to his, close enough to kiss her. And that is exactly what he did just before he fell asleep.
Time to go….
Brutus and Rocky remained for a few minutes, watching the humans and Kevin – who had been let out of his room to acknowledge what had happened and to say his own goodbyes.
“Will they be OK?” Brutus asked Rocky.
“Yes, in time they will. They will soon come to realise that it was for the best. Your Mum and Kevin are going to need a bit of looking after though – it’s going to be hard on them in coming months.
The two dogs watched on for a few minutes more as Brutus adapted to how he was feeling and his new self.
“Ready to go my friend?” Rocky gestured to Brutus.
Taking one last look at his family, the vet, the nurse, the sofa, the toys – everything he loved, he nodded, “Yes, I think so!”
Then in the blink of an eye, they were gone.
Breezy – Brutus’s sister
Breezy is Brutus’s sister and her human and I, are friends on FB – I have known her more or less since we adopted the dogs.
Our dogs have had playdates in the past and were so very alike in mannerisms and behaviours, I would refer to them as ‘two halves of a whole dog’ because they were that identical.
Breezy’s human told me that around the time that Brutus died, Breezy had gone out into the garden. She suddenly went a bit wobbly on her legs, vomited, looked confused for a bit and then after a few minutes, she calmly walked away.
Breezy I must add, is just as kind and gentle as Brutus was – I still maintain that they were two halves of the same dog and we got so lucky when we adopted them.
Bowie the white greyhound and Gatekeeper of Rainbow Bridge had been up since 5am making sure everything was ready for that day.
He had instructed some of the Rainbow Bridge residents to line up on either side to greet the new arrival.
Vader the boxer, Madam Gigi, Fat Harry, Augie and Dash – the Italian greyhounds were lined up and ready.
“Oh darling, I cannot believe he is coming to us at last!’ Madam Gigi said dramatically as she fanned herself with a large leaf. “I truly might faint with excitement!”
“I know what you mean, this is bloody unexpected isn’t it!” Fat Harry puffed his cheeks out and shook his head. “Still, it’s good that the gang are slowly reuniting again I must admit!”
As the Italian greyhounds spoke loudly in their high pitched voices, all trying to shout at once in order to be heard. Dash was asking if there were any snacks as he was hungry and Fat Harry was pointing to his mouth and doing gestures of hunger. Madam Gigi was still fanning herself with the leaf and while occasionally glancing at Vader the boxer trying to waft his farts in her direction.
It was so noisy that Bowie the greyhound had to cough a few times to get their silence.
“Excuse me everyone! Can we have silence please!” Bowie barked to shut them up.
“Shhhhh, he’s coming!” Madam Gigi hissed at the other Iggies.
Suddenly you could hear an unmistakable deep voice saying, “Are you sure I am going to like it here?”
“Absolutely.” A voice replied.
As the clouds parted, Brutus and Rocky slowly walked up towards Bowie who was several metres from the gates of Rainbow Bridge. Bowie had greeted millions of animals entering The Bridge and now he had to greet the gentle giant that stood before him – the dog that he had heard so much about from the Iggies.
“Hello Brutus, welcome to Rainbow Bridge. My name is Bowie and I am the gatekeeper.”
“Pleased to meet you Bowie.” Brutus puffed up his chest and smoothed his ears to make himself look smart.
“Fancy a run through the gate?” Rocky poked Brutus’s neck with his snout.
“I don’t think I can do that, my leg has been awful lately.” Brutus shook his head.
“Try it, you might surprise yourself.” Rocky said to him.
The two dogs slowly began to walk towards the gate. Then Rocky started to trot ahead of Brutus, occasionally looking back to encourage him. “Come on, speed up!” He barked.
Brutus looked hesitant, he always needed lots of encouragement to do things he wasn’t sure about. He watched Rocky who had stopped trotting but was gesturing him to move towards him. He had to step over the gate in order to be accepted into Rainbow Bridge, there really was no other way.
Meanwhile, the Italian greyhounds and Vader the boxer were lined up just on the other side of the gate, watching and willing him to start trotting.
“I want my Mum…” Brutus started to cry, his entire body trembling.
Madam Gigi knew that Brutus thrived on encouragement and applause and she also knew that from the old days of lure coursing, even when Brutus took a wrong turn and crashed through the barriers, that the love and praise from his human Mum was enough to make him think that he had ‘won’.
“Come on Brutus! You can do it! You entered the fastest dog in Australia competition – you did so well. Come on lad, you can do it!” Madam Gigi started barking at the top of her voice.
And it didn’t take long before the others started to catch on and shout out encouragement at Brutus who was still mumbling to himself ‘I want my Mum!’
“You can do it Brutus! Come on the Goodest Boy!” Fat Harry shouted in his high pitched Italian greyhound voice.
“Come on Brutus, it won’t hurt we promise, try and run through the gates!’ Augie cried through cupped paws to try and make himself sound louder. Just for the record, if you want to know how an Italian greyhound talks, just imagine breathing in some helium and then talking. That’s exactly how they sound.
“OMG, is that Madam Gigi, Fat Harry, Augie, Dash and the gang!” Brutus beamed at Rocky.
Rocky said nothing but nodded in the direction of the gate and Brutus not only recognised his Iggy friends, but could also a solid tan and white boxer dog who was standing right at the front of them.
“Vader, that’s Vader!” Brutus howled. Vader was Brutus’s best friend and had crossed to Rainbow Bridge a couple of years ago leaving Brutus utterly lost without his flappy jowled mate.
Taking a deep breath, Brutus started to trot towards the gate of Rainbow Bridge. As he got closer to Bowie the greyhound, Bowie gave him a wink and a salute as he passed him.
He was nervous at first, of course he was but with each stride he got faster, more athletic and very quickly he realised that there was no more pain to hold him back.
Once Brutus was over the other side of the gates, he was greeted by his best friend Vader the boxer and his Italian greyhound friends that had passed years before him and it were as though they had never been apart.
Bowie the greyhound smiled at the emotional scenes from behind the gate. Then picking up his special mobile phone, he made the final important call before he could close out on this job.
“Hello, is that Pippin? – It’s Bowie…..”
Pippin the Italian greyhound was sitting in his living room. Wearing a red and gold velvet smoking jacket, he was sipping on a glass of whippet whiskey (that’s a special whiskey for pointy snouted dogs) while reading a dog magazine. Now an older, more distinguished gentlemen, he was once a good friend of Brutus and they had gone through many escapades together and visited each others homes on several occasions.
Pippin jumped as his phone rang. Being head of the Iggy club, he had a direct line to Rainbow Bridge and was always the first to be told when dogs had crossed over.
“Hello, Pippin speaking.” He answered in his posh clipped English accent – I always said that he could announce the war with his voice. He dabbed his pointy snout with his handkerchief and was about to take a sip of his drink.
“I see, Yes I shall let the others know….” Pippin said quietly and then ended the call. Then wiping his eyes, he started to compose a text message to the Iggy gang which simply read, ‘The Goodest Boy has landed’.
It was a few days after that Brutus had gone to Rainbow Bridge and Kevin had been showing signs of distress.His veterinary behaviourist had advised to let Kevin see Brutus’s body afterwards which is what we did.
Initially he didn’t show any interest but after about ten minutes, he cuddled up to his brother and remained there until the vet took him away.
We were also advised to leave the blanket, collar and toys for Kevin. Unfortunately in hindsight, we removed them too soon and Kev got so upset that he attacked myself and my husband so they were quickly reinstated on the sofa.
One particular evening, Kevin was in the living room watching out of the window. The Mitzi was parked in its usual place in the carport. The kennel and bed outside had been turned round to face the wall and the box of toys placed next to it. The garden had an eerie silence about it and it was hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, Brutus would be joyously running around the car to greet his human Dad.
“There is no-one to run around the Mitzi anymore. I would love to see one last run around the Mitzi” Kevin said to nobody in particular. He was lonely, so very lonely and wasn’t doing so well as an only pet.
“Wanna bet?” A voice sounded from outside.
“Who said that?” Kevin startled. Then he heard the sounds of nails scraping outside in the garden and noises of panting from exertion.
Straining his eyes to look through the door, he saw Brutus running around the Mitzi while Rocky the kelpie chased him.
“What’s that noise I can hear?” His Mum asked him as she placed a cup of tea down on the table. Pulling the blinds aside, she looked out of the window and unable to see anything, she sat down on the sofa.
“Just another run around the Mitzi.” Kevin laughed to himself then as he turned round to look out of the window again, he saw that Brutus and Rocky were no longer there.
The Latest on Kevin
Kevin is slowly getting better. He initially retreated to his room, his aggression ramped up and his separation anxiety was and still is pretty severe. We have seen him on the security camera pacing around the living room, meowing and showing signs of distress. My neighbour brings her little dog to the house to play with him which is doing wonders for his confidence.
As for the humans Brutus left behind
There is a huge Brutus sized gap in our lives and home where he once was and if I thought that I cried heaps over Rocky, well my grief at losing Brutus was on another level.
I guess I just didn’t see it coming really. He was 9.5 years old, a fit and athletic dog and we just thought it was the start of arthritis and certainly not bone cancer.
I do take comfort in the fact that we didn’t let him suffer and he had a pain free and dignified ending with his family at home and being fed up until he was sedated (sedation given before his final injection). I am even more grateful for the way that he looked at me before he went to sleep and gave my face a good lick – that is a precious memory I will keep forever.
I have often asked myself why we put ourselves through this when the loss of a pet is so painful. Would I have changed anything if I could turn the clock back? Well the answer is no, absolutely not.
Because Brutus led me to meet some fantastic people and their Iggies at the Italian Greyhound Club. If it wasn’t for Brutus, I would not have met Cathy from CJ Animal Rescue – who is one of the most incredible women I have met. I would not have moved to my current house and met my neighbour and friend Lexie and her dog Vader the boxer who was Brutus’s best friend. And if I hadn’t have met Vader, I would never have written and published my book ‘Planet Iggy’.
Brutus took me on the most wonderful journey of pet ownership. He was such a kind, gentle and funny dog and he didn’t have a mean bone in his body and I was so lucky to have been his owner. My husband and I were pretty grateful that we were the last people that Brutus saw, heard, smelt and felt as he left us, surrounded by his favourite toys and veterinary staff.
Dedicated to Brutus – the Goodest Boy in the Land – thank you for being our dog.
Samantha Rose (C) Copyright February 2023
I would like to thank Dr Lucy and Nurse Christine and the staff from Spearwood Veterinary Hospital for their professionalism and kindness that they have consistently shown to us and our pets. I would also like to thank Cath from CJ Animal Rescue – just for everything really.
And everyone else that supported us during that time including our Facebook and Insta supporters – too many to mention really but they know who they are.
Finally – I would like to acknowledge the fantastic work that Beyond Blue Australia do. The 20 minute telephone counselling sessions can make a huge difference when you are feeling overwhelmed with grief.