My precious girls, where has the time gone?
Matilda, it was 11 years ago since you were a little puppy. You were my first puppy love. You had the most soft and silky ears that smelled like puppy milk. I finally had my own Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, a girl of course, so I could put pink bows in those gorgeous long ears. You were such a good puppy, full of energy to run and play with your toys and to chase me with. You soon earned the nickname Petal, after having your crazy puppy hour after I came home from work. You ran and chased and kept jumping up on me. I had to tell you to “settle petal”, and soon the name Petal stuck.
You loved to say hello to everybody, especially more so when you knew you were going to get pats. I could see your confusion, after you wagged that feathery tail of yours ferociously at an approaching person, only to have them walk straight past you, without as much as a glance your way.
Soon you were growing up, and we succeeded in toilet training, when neither of us were sure of what we were doing. Your first birthday was marked with a mini party, and a party hat you decided you would rather chew then keep on your head. I was so in love with you, I wanted more many Cavs.
I found Lucy, 9 years ago. Due to a change in circumstances, her potential new owners could no longer take her, and she became mine. It was meant to be. While you both came from the same breeder – but to different parents, you were soon Matilda’s sister. You were only 6 weeks old and so much smaller than chubby puppy Matilda ever was, when you arrived. At first you assumed this bigger Cavalier must have been your new mum, and tried ever so hard to suckle from her. Matilda had no idea what was happening and would run to me for comfort. None the less, Matilda was very interested in you. You soon realised Matilda wasn’t your mum and became best friends.
You were mesmerised by the camera when I took photos of you and would happily pose for photos, transfixed by the zoom lens. You had the most beautiful puppy smell, right behind your neck. Soon you too were growing so quickly, loving everyone and the cats. This time around, toilet training was a breeze. You relied on Matilda a lot, but Matilda was the perfect big sister, brave and caring for you.
You both soon became known as “the girls”. I had two girls to put pretty bows in their ears. You were both young and happy. Hearing things about arthritis, senior dogs and Mitral Valve Disease wasn’t given a second thought. I didn’t need to worry about that yet, we had plenty of time before there was even a chance of that happening. Yet time quickly passed and years later, here we are. A trip to the heart specialist last year, after the local vets found both girls to have heart murmurs, confirmed the worst. Both Matilda and Lucy had Mitral Valve Disease – the Cavalier Curse.
While Matilda’s heart wasn’t as bad, being given a life expectancy of at least 1 – 3 years, the shock was Lucy being given only 6 months. Lucy you were only 8 years old, far too young to leave me, still a young dog really. I could envision you quickly slipping away from me and Matilda in only a few short months. I suppose it made sense, you having the worst heart: you always did have the big heart, full of love for everyone. While we didn’t have much time left I had to try and make it special for you, and for Matilda. The pet pram soon became your royal carriage for both you girls. When you had walked far enough, you could enjoy being pushed further in your pram.
Nearly a year later, you are both still here with me. Medication has been wonderful for you, even if we have to follow Mary Poppins advice of “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”, and dip your tablet in honey to ensure you swallow it. While Lucy’s condition hasn’t really progressed any further, thank goodness, Matilda was diagnosed as being at the same stage as Lucy, at our recent appointment with the heart specialist. I don’t know how much longer we have together, before you both suffer from congestive heart failure, all due to a dodgy heart valve and bad breeding practices, many decades ago.
I don’t know how the next few months, hopefully years, will progress for both of you. I know that however much time we have left together, it’s not going to be long enough. I know I hate going to work each day and leaving the both of you at home, and also the cats. Time could be much better spent, at home with you. I hope we all enjoy the time we have left together. In two weeks time, we are taking you to the beach. I hope we will all be happy and free to enjoy our time, frolicking on the beach together. It would be great if you both were brave enough to go in the water a little bit this time, for my benefit. I would love to be able to see what you both look like when you swim and if you can swim.
In the mean time, let’s continue loving one another and enjoy our time together. When the time comes, on those terrible days, when you both will earn your angel wings, I take comfort in knowing that Angel Kitty Mickey is waiting for at the Rainbow Bridge, where one day we will all be reunited, with lots of love, hugs, kisses, pats and joy all shared between us, at last.
I love you girls,