Our good mate posing for his last ever photo
For anyone out there who is a fellow animal lover, you will know that our pets are just like our children and the grief I now feel over losing what was a well-loved member of our family is overwhelming. For anyone who isn't an animal lover you will most likely find this post ridiculous but I really don't care.
Poor Barney suffered from epilepsy which started in January last year when he was just 2 1/2 years old. We'd rescued Barney through the Beagle Club of NSW's Beagle Rescue when he was 16 months old In December 2009 so we had no idea of his background or heritage. Unfortunately, knowing any of this information most likely would not have helped us know of Barney's future condition anyway.
Epilepsy is quite common in beagles and it's usual pattern it to raise its ugly head anywhere from 2 1/2 years of age up to 5 years old. Barney was spot on at the 2 1/2 point when he scared the living hell out of us by having his first seizure last year. This rough start to 2011, coupled with the fact that we were having our first baby in March, meant a very full-on time was had by all.
At first Barney's seizures were very infrequent with only one or two occurring every few weeks or so but over time, even with increased medication, they became much more frequent to the point where he was having what is called 'Cluster' seizures where several occur over a 24-36 hour period until they are stopped in their tracks by heavy sedation or the body of the dog just gives up. Barney got to the point where he was having one every 2-3 hours over a day or two and last month there just didn't seem an end to them one day which meant he needed to stay overnight at our local vet on a drip dispensing his medication on a slow release basis just to stop his seizures from occurring. This didn't turn out too well and he was very anxious and upset and not a shadow of himself the next day due to the toll this experience took on him.
So, when he started another one of his 'Clusters' at 6:30am Saturday morning the 7th January I wasn't expecting it to turn out well. I was hoping with everything crossed that this time they might not keep coming and he might only have 2 or 3 and then be back to his normal self but when he had what was to be his final seizure at 6:30 last night the 8th January and it lasted for more than 6 minutes and took him over 10 minutes just to be able to get himself up walking again I knew it was time to be fair to him and make the horrible decision to end his suffering.
I watched him for the next hour and a half walking into walls, tripping over his own feet and just being completely unresponsive to anything or anyone and I knew that the Barney we knew and loved was no longer in that shell of a body.
Luckily our family vet is wonderful and allowed us to bring him in at 8:30 last night after we'd prepared ourselves, given him a final treat and bowl of food (in case he got hungry on his trip to wherever he may now be) and took some final photos.
Then it was what felt like the longest drive ever to our vet where Barney got farewelled by my husband and I, our bub who was his best human friend and our other beagle Evie who was his best canine friend. It was all over very quick and I think I'm still a little in shock that he's not coming home to us ever again.
I don't think I'll ever forgive myself for the decision I had to make and it will never feel like the right decision as I'll always wonder if there was something else we possibly could have done for him but at least I know he's in peace now and can be forever seizure free and eat as much food as he will ever want.
Here are a few pictures of the life and times of Barney Boy. May he forever rest in peace. He wasn't even 3 1/2 years old yet.......
(His first road trip - coming home with us from his foster home at Kurrajong, NSW. Barney is the one on the left)
(Enjoying some cuddle time with dad)
(He loved running at the beach)
(Meeting our duck Peking for the first time)
(Getting his head stuck in a Lucky Dog biscuit box. He completely refused to move until it was taken off)
(Comforting me when I was 3 months pregnant and not feeling so well. Excuse the awful flannelette pj's)
(First bath with his big sister Evie. Barney is on the right)
(His favourite sleeping position)
(Beach cuddles. He never wanted to be too far away from either one of us)
(Chilling with his best friend)
(On babysitting duty)
(More babysitting duty)
If you have read through the whole of Barney's story I thank you. May the big fella always be remembered.