Lost My Best Friend

  • Farmgirl
  • 12/3/2014 12:00:00 AM
  • View Count 2591
Lost My Best Friend

It's been 3 weeks since I lost my best friend. He has been my loyal companion for the past 8 years. He often slept by my bedside waiting for me to wake up to check on lambs in the middle of the night. His affectionate personality was capable of charming almost anyone he met and he would become your best friend briefly if you threw his Frisbee for him. He could communicate his needs in a subtle whimper or often boisterous way when he was ready for me to let him inside. 

Let me clarify...I'm talking about my first Border Collie, Wink. 

I was once told that the difference in choosing a male dog over a female dog is that the female will grow to love you but the male will be in love with you. I have no idea if this is true or not. What I do know with complete certainty was that Wink was in love with me. 

It was quite apparent if you ask anyone in my family. He came to me when called but would not always come when someone else called him. He wanted to be by my side wherever we went. He was a terrific traveling companion. Wink was my co-pilot. 

When I first brought him home, the kids thought he was the most amazing dog ever! He knew at least a dozen commands AND he loved to fetch objects and could play all day long. He seemed like the smartest dog on earth and the children were truly enamored with him. 

He showed interest in herding sheep so we worked for years on moving sheep together. It was often frustrating as I did not have a clue what I was doing and he took up chasing rather than herding.  These ewes hated any dog and would stomp if one came near. Our sheep were often shown which made them more like pets and harder for Wink to herd too.  

Three trainers and five herding clinics later led me to believe we were as good as we were ever going to get. In our annual Christmas letter my husband wrote, he suggested the clinics were more for training me than the dog. After much contemplation, I decided Wink needed some help with his sheep so we brought in a second dog this spring. 

The adjustment was hard for Wink as he didn't like sharing me with another dog. These two dogs were polar opposites and I mean that in every way possible. Meg was quiet, shy, submissive and lived to herd sheep.  Whereas Wink lived for me and anyone to throw any object he could find whether it be a stick, a shoe or a piece of fluff. 

Last Tuesday morning was like any other day, we were moving about 40 ewes out of the barnyard so I could put out the grain.  This was a big job to convince these sheep to move and Meg had been rolled by a ewe a few months earlier so she had become much more cautious.  Meg alone had trouble convincing them so I brought Wink in who was completely fearless, tail up, of course. This was like a game to him and herding was not his first priority.

Some ewes tried to sneak back behind me, Meg headed them off, then I heard a whimper from Wink. I quickly turned to see one of the old show ewes walk away from him and disappear into the larger group. She had head butted him into the gate. Usually he would tear after her and try to grip her with his dull teeth. But he didn't. I called him over after Meg and I convinced the sheep to move out and closed the gate. He seemed a bit startled by the encounter but resumed his usual sniffing around. 

We finished up our chores and I left to help prepare food for our next event at The Juniper Spoon. Due to the colder than usual weather, I left Wink inside. When I arrived home, we went out to do evening chores and then I drove into town for a meeting with Wink and left Meg at home. On the way in, Wink sat co-pilot until he nervously moved to the back of the car. He proceeded to urinate at the back of the car so I turned the light on to see blood splattered over the seat covering. He laid back down.

A few minutes later I met my husband at his work where we tried to discussed what to do. By this time the vet's office was closed. We contacted the Purdue Small Animal Hospital just a 30 minutes drive away. I also spoke with a local vet we use for our sheep. He suggested giving him some aspirin and giving us a call in the morning if he continued to have trouble.

I decided to go with my gut feeling and drive up for immediate treatment. Upon arrival I pulled up to the curb and carried him inside. He had lied on his side the whole way up and that made me even more concerned. I scooped him up in my arms and walked up to the front desk. As I started to explain, he urinated another pint of blood in the lobby. 

A vet was quickly summoned. They called for a gurney and he was whisked away. I signed a limited treatment form so they could do some initial testing. Then time passed s-l-o-w-l-y. The intern came out to ask for more history. Another vet came out to let me know what they were still trying to stabilize him and taking him I for an x-Ray. A short time later I was called into a room and the news was worse than I had imagined.

As the vet delivered the diagnosis and showed me the x-Ray, I came to understand it was either a hematoma on his kidney from the impact of the sheep or a cancerous tumor on the kidney which was the size of a small melon. They could do an ultrasound tomorrow to clarify. He could have the kidney removed. All this additional treatment was dependent on getting him stabilized. He had lost at least a quart of blood so he needed PAC cells. This road was becoming more and more uncertain. And all I could think of is what's best for him? I cannot stand to see any animal suffer.  I understood they could do more testing and surgery but was it really what he needed? 

I could not do this all on my own so I called to let my husband know. He agreed with me. I was ushered to a small room to spend my last moments with my best friend. I looked into his deep brown eyes and I could see he knew too. My friend Tracy who lived nearby came to wait with me. She had been I love with Wink too. When Scott arrived, the vet came in the give him the sleepy medicine followed by the medicine that stopped his heart. I knew it was best for him but this decision was made with a heavy heart.  He was finally resting peacefully and I knew he was no longer suffering. My heart just has the biggest hole in it from my dearly beloved Wink who has left this world. 

May he find some kinder sheep to herd up in heaven...


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