Time for a little break from the beauty of western USA—more soon.
We’re back in Australia and have been on an emotional roller coaster over the last few weeks. I was overjoyed to have our daughters, Libby and Petra, home for a landmark birthday. More importantly, I was happy Petra was home to spend two weeks with her amazing rescue dog, Jake.
Petra moved to Vietnam last year for the Australian government. She thought about taking Jake but, once there, realised it wouldn’t be at all fun for him to live in an apartment with no garden, so he stayed with us.
Jake and Indi (our dog) are great mates, and it was so easy to have him.
Earlier this year, when we were touring the wonderful national parks in the USA, we had a collection of wonderful people looking after the house and dogs. Back in June, Jake had his first major nose bleed.
Carers jumped on the issue. Jake was examined by the vet, got antibiotics and seemed fine. But another nose bleed happened…and another. More trips to the vet and things seemed to calm down.
We got home and another bleed happened. There was a surgery. Two masses were removed from his nostrils, a biopsy was done and the result was benign. That said, the diagnosis was nasal angiofibroma. This is a rare disease. What to do next?
To cut a long story short (feel free to ask questions if we can help your situation), we needed to do a CT scan. In Australia that costs about $3000, including specialist consultations.
We waited. Petra was coming home soon. Jake seemed happy enough and not in pain. He still bounced around and loved his food, walks and treats, but one look in his eyes and you knew something was wrong.
There were intermittent small bleeds that I could bring under control within a few minutes using a cold compress (namely, a bag of peas wrapped in a tea towel). Just before Petra got home, Jake’s breathing became laboured and he had another major bleed. I scheduled the CT scan for the day after she got home.
The news was terrible—the growths were not benign after all. An invasive cancer had consumed Jake’s right nasal passage and was invading the left. Nothing could be done, except to love him as much as we could for the next 12 days and have him put down the day before Petra went home. That way he wouldn’t have to watch her pack and see her leave.
Instead there were extra walks, extra treats, extra bones, no furniture was off limits and the hugs were abundant. He even got a few stuffed toys to dismember. Mostly his breathing was quite good. Over those last days, many people stopped by to farewell Jake. He had a huge following.
Last Friday, the vet came to the house and Poor John took Indi for a walk. Jake slipped away peacefully and you can imagine the floods of tears that saw him off.
He’s over the Rainbow Bridge now and I hope he’s running with the dogs we’ve had to let go before him. Jake was a gorgeous, big-hearted, loveable dog. He will be hugely missed.
Many people have sent condolences to Petra. One included a link to some of the most beautiful prose, written in the 1940s by playwright Eugene O’Neill. It’s a farewell message from his dog. I hope you love it as much as I do.
P.S. All the pics here have been taken since August 2017. Jake loved the beach at Rosedale.