Megan was one of twin pups we adopted from the SPCA in 1999. Megan and her sister, Morag were sold to us as Scottish Terriers x Maltese poodles.
Megan and Morag were lively little pups and
They were also very mischievous and ultra-lively. If anyone visited the house, they'd bounce around the person's feet until I shooed them away. On one occasion a municipal employee, Fanie, arrived at my house to check my meter. When he'd taken the reading, he walked out onto top of my wide kitchen steps which led down to the garden. The pups were sitting on the lowest step, quivering with excitement, but afraid of being chastised if they bothered this man! I'd had problems with bees in my roof and a small swarm of bees zoomed in on Fanie's head. He frantically slapped at his face to shoo them away and next minute an object hit the step and bounced down to where the dogs were. As one of them, grabbed it and raced off into the garden with her sister in tow, Fanie shouted: "Your dogs have my glass eye". I gave chase, thinking, if I don't catch these dogs, I'd be following them around for the next two days with a tin plate under them when they did their business! Luckily the pup dropped the eye, I dive-bombed it, and clutching it in my hand, gave it to Fanie. He wiped it on his trouser leg and popped it back into his eye socket.
In 2004, Morag - who had the habit of digging under the fence - got into the street and was hit by a passing car. She wasn't too badly injured, but Angus took her to the vet in a neighboring town, who kept her under observation, for a couple of days. Unbeknownst too Angus (we were in West Africa at the time), this particular vet - not our family vet - had had a case of Parvo in his surgery the week before. Morag was returned home and for the first few days, Angus didn't notice anything untoward. Then she refused to eat her breakfast, and that evening turned away from her bone treat. Angus loaded her into the car and took her to our regular vet in the same town. He took one look at Morag and diagnosed Parvovirus. Angus explained that he'd had her at the other vet and our vet was furious that this man hadn't disinfected his cages properly after being aware of the contagiousness of Parvo. He sent Angus and Morag home with no hope at all.
Morag, before her death in 2004, with one of my old cats in the garden
We flew in from West Africa the next day and as we drove down our driveway, I was horrified to see the skeletal state of my poor little dog. I made Morag comfortable on a blanket in our entertainment area; I whipped up an egg with a little brandy and tried to tempt her with it, but she was too weak to even lick at it. That night as Grant and I sat with her, Morag died. Grant buried her in our garden while I destroyed the blankets she'd used. Poor little girl.
That left Megan who had always been the more obedient, quieter dog of the two. Megan loved to go in the car on "long" trips with me. We'd always kept both dogs clipped and groomed and Megan knew, if I opened the front door of Grant's SLK (two-door Mercedes sports), she'd jump up onto the front mat and then onto the passenger seat. She'd watch the world go by as we rode, and on the way back from the pet's parlor, she'd really preen and show off her soft clipped pelt and the pretty bow in her hair. One such time when we got back to town, I stopped off at the Co-op first. Leaving Megan on the front seat, I got out and locked the car with the remote. While I was shopping, one of the farmers - who always had a joke - said: "Who's pretty car is that out there?" I looked up to see the headlights flashing; I said it was mine. So he said: "Well, it's calling you!" It turned out that Megan had jumped from the passenger - to the driver seat and set off the alarm!
At the beginning of this year, we discovered Megan couldn't hear very well anymore. So when a vehicle drove in or out of the yard, any person nearby (John the gardener was very alert to this) would hold Megan quietly where she stood until all danger was past. As the winter progressed, I also noticed that Megan would be a while emerging from the garage every morning. When she eventually did she did so with a stiff-legged gait. She and Eddy slept in special tires lined with carpet-covered Masonite (bought at veterinary outlets); a thick grey blanket is folded in this well and a fleecy throw serves as their blankets. These tire beds are on a raised pallet against the inside wall of the garage, with a panel heater above.
Megan, also in 2004. She was the plumper and more alert of the two dogs
Every night the dogs have a treat: a few cookies in a bowl with a bone. As I walk towards the garage, Megan struggles to her feet from where she's lying on the patio and follows me; Eddy is already in her tire. Once the dogs have tucked into their snack, I press the garage door remote and walk out while it slides down onto the concrete. The dogs are warmly bedded down for the night. Several months now, every second or third night, Megan chomps her bone and cookies and then comes to the front of the garage, stands in the corner and yowls like a jackal. (I know this as I watched her through the window) Most times she got tired and would settle down. We discussed this behavior and realized that unfortunately dementia was setting in on our poor old Megan.
With Skabenga's arrival in our family six weeks ago, I couldn't bear to think of Megan's demise. There's nothing worse than when people acquire a pup and the oldest most faithful dog on the yard is then discarded. Not that Skabenga was a replacement for Megan; losing our beautiful Labrador, Angie in November last year, we needed to get another big dog on the property.
Wednesday night Megan just would not settle so I decided to let the dogs out of the garage for an hour or so. I took them back into the garage later, gave them another bone each and walked out. As I left the garage, I pressed the switch to close the door. I heard the door roll down but about six inches from the ground, Rina, standing at the door watching, shouted: "Jo, Megan is coming out!" I turned around as she was jammed to the floor. I held onto the door (it only helped a little) while Rina quickly opened the door with the remote.
Megan got up painfully; as I tried to help her to bed, she snapped at me. She'd definitely been badly bruised - but nothing seemed to be broken. We got her back into her tire next to Eddy and this time, as I closed the door, she stayed put . I spent a restless night worrying about whether she'd be alive in the morning.
As I opened the door on Thursday morning, Eddy bounded out as usual. Rina, Grant and I waited with bated breath to see if Megan would emerge. She did, but she looked so sore that I went to her, picked her up and put her near her food bowl. She groaned with pain and only ate a little of her food, then lay down on the blanket I'd placed indoors for her.
Megan at 16 1/2 years; a very tired old lady
Meanwhile Grant and I had made the difficult decision.
I phoned the vet in Ladybrand and made an appointment for 12 on Thursday. Megan was very tired and in pain from her ordeal with the garage door. Although she seemed to perk up a little when she realized she was going for a ride in the car, she actually slept at my feet all the way there.
When I explained to Anne, the vet what had happened, she said that even before being squashed under the door, Megan's organs had begun to shut down. She also said that Megan had had almost 17 years of pampered life with us and been loved and cared for in no uncertain manner; we were to remember this.
Rina and I stood in the vets surgery. The vet's assistant, a great big Sotho man with a gentle touch, held Megan's legs. Anne said I could hold her head. While Anne inserted the stent, I stroked Megan's head and whispered that we'd meet again at the Rainbow Bridge. I told her to say hi to Mandu, Magnus, Morag and Shasa who'd gone before her. When Rina - tears coursing down her cheeks - said "and Angie" I bent down and kissed Megan's brow with the tears spilling over onto her dear old face.
Rest in Peace, dearest Megan
I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here