NECHUNG DE KOEMPFER WITH TANTRA (IMPORTED FRANCE)
Nechung came to live with us in December of 2003. She had been used to living in kennels but she settled into living in our house from the first day. She did pee on the floor and I yelled no at her which she clearly did not like, and she ran outside into the garden. She never did anything in the house again.
She produced me to puppies that I kept to show, Tantra’s Moonlight Serenade and her brother Tantra’s Micah. Both did very well in the show ring although neither were quite up to the champion mark. Micah was the father of Shameless who in turn is the mother of Carly and Mary Grace. Carly may be pregnant. She produced champions on the continent, at least one of which is a multi-best in show champion male.
Nechung spent each night sleeping on our bed. I had to start wearing earplugs because she snored very loudly. In typical Apso fashion she was highly independent and although she was pleased to see me when I came home from being out she was not a very demonstrative dog. Except with John. She decided that he was hers and when he wasn’t at home she slept on his armchair until it was time to go up to bed where she slept on his side of the bed. If she knew that I was going to groom her or bathe her and John was home she would immediately go and lay behind his legs or jump on his lap!
Last December I took her to the vet because I was concerned about her health. Firstly she had a lump on her shoulder and secondly I wondered if dogs got Alzheimer’s disease because she certainly had started to behave as if she wasn’t quite all there. I knew that she was not blind or deaf.
She also got it into her head that we ought to go to bed at 10 o’clock every night. When 10 o’clock came she would go to the foot of the stairs and do a sort of more moaning sound. She would then come back into the lounge look at us and moan again and then she would go back to the foot of the stairs. She would do this until we went to bed. If we opened the stair gate she would go off up to bed on her own but if we didn’t follow soon afterwards she would come back down and moan. I kept telling her I did not need another mother!
My vet confirmed that indeed dogs do go senile and that the lump on her shoulder was a tumour and that she could feel smaller ones in her mammaries. The ones in her mammaries never did grow but the tumour on her shoulder did. Recently it got very much bigger.
Yesterday I decided was the day that I needed to bathe her and clip her coat off again. I was not looking forward to doing this as the last time I had done it she was not very cooperative. This time it was a pretty awful experience for us both. She clearly was distressed by it but I had no choice but continue what she was wet. It was one she was wet that I noticed that not only was her tumour very much bigger but that it was now black and purple with some scabbing and as I bathed her I noticed some fresh blood.
I spoke with our vets last evening and I took so long this morning knowing that I would not be bringing home. My vet confirmed my fear that the tumour, a vascular tumour, was likely to burst and this would be extremely painful for Nechung and she would likely bleed to death. I could not allow this to happen and so we did what I knew we would do.
I found it a difficult decision to make not because I wanted to keep her with me but because of wondering whether I was doing the right thing or not. I was very worried that I might be acting too soon and that she still had a good life left in her. However, I do know that I have made the right decision now. I could not have borne her suffering had the tumour burst.
Right up until this weekend she seemed a perfectly happy dog and certainly never appeared to be in pain. She got very excited at mealtimes when she would run to her bed and if I hadn’t followed her with her food she run back and bark at me. She even did this last night. True, she often behaved as if she’d had a joint or two and a lot of the time appeared not to be with us at all. Over this weekend she was very quiet and really didn’t seem to be bothered.
Lhasa Apso the are highly individual dogs. Over the last 40 years none of those that I have kept have been like each other. They have all been their own characters. Rumour has it that they house the souls of departed humans who are waiting to be reincarnated. Having lived with them for this length of time this would not surprise me.
Nechung passed away at 11:25 this morning painlessly and at ease as I stroked her and spoke soothingly to her. I wish we could all pass the same way and that the law did not insist that we must suffer.