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I love big dogs - preferably huge. So I got my family a St.Bernhard, not a huge one, just 75 kg. (The winner of most prizes in Norway that year was a St.B of 130 kg.) The breeder warned me: Those big dogs do not live very long. You can't expect more than 7 years for a male, 8 years for a female.
When he turned seven, he was visibly getting old. To make sure we wouldn't suddenly be without someone to drag us out on a walk (no matter the weather), we bought a little puppy (for half a year going by the name Micro-soft). So how did that turn out?
You have probably seen grown men becoming granddaddies. You know which effect it can have on them. He loved the little one more than he loved himself, and the puppy adored his Big Hero. So the oldie didn't die - he lived on and on; the two of them being best buddies for well above three years.
The oldie was getting close to eleven years of age, which is quite a lot for a male St.B, but still he enjoyed 3-4 km long walk in the woods. Until one day, coming down from the woods, he started staggering, and had to lay down in the shadow of the grocery store while I filled my backpack with foodstuff. He wouldn't raise again; I had to walk home to get my car for bringing him home. He had fresh water in his bowl, he drank and wagged his tail without getting onto his feet, and said goodbye.
Well, that didn't come unexpected to me. The next morning I was going to take the youngster, three and a half years old, in his prime, on that same 4 km walk. He simply refused to walk past the spot where the oldie had been laying when he died. I had to use the choke collar and drag him by force past that spot. When we had made our walk, on our way home passed the grocery store, the youngster started staggering just like the old one the previous day. Again I had to go to get the car, and drag him into it. Again, I brought fresh water, he slurped some, bumped his tail on the floor while I was petting him, before he went to wherever his Big Hero had gone.
By that time, I no longer had a family, but was alone with the dogs. That set me thinking: Even before the youngster came into the family, there was lots of activity in the house: Several to pet the dog, people preparing meals, eating with the dog next to the table (even if he knew he wouldn't get any of our food!), chatting and all sorts of social life. When the youngster arrived, for three and a half years, the two had had each other 24/7, never alone, always someone to play with.
It is not realistic to actively spend more than 3-4 hours a day with your dog - walking him, petting, feeding. If there are 6-8 additional hours of social activity, the dog is happy. Being alone, I do not talk that much to myself; it is quiet. There is no reading books with the kids. No discussions. Meals are simplified; they are not social events as they used to be with a family. Essentially the youngster would go from 24/7 together with his best buddy, to at least 20 hours daily of total loneliness. He knew that. He didn't want it.
So I made a firm decision: As long as I do not get myself a new family (and the chances of that are epsilon squared), I will not get myself a new dog to be left to twenty daily hours of complete loneliness. If you have a family, or a rich social life with more or less daily visitors to your home, then the dog won't be alone; he will be one of the pack, even if noone is petting him at the moment. That is fine. I very rarely have visitors, my social activities is outside the home. So I do my walks without a dog nowadays.
I am always pushing my view on someone dying: Don't be sad because they are dead. Be happy that they have lived! I will not focus on "missing the dogs", but on all the nice stories I can tell about them. All the pleasures I had with them. I am happy to have been a dog owner for eleven years.
That's quite a beautiful story with a depressing end.
Especially the young dog, literally dying of grief
It's different with cats though, especially Nika loves to be alone.
I am happy I've had Nika in my life, that won't change the hurt when she's gone though.
It is told in some ancient Indian scriptures that each human being has to feed at least one animal everyday. So, it becomes a duty to feed an animal on a daily basis.
We have a cat (Cat 1) at home; it came home nearly five years ago, and is a favourite of my children. It has free access to all the rooms in our house, and is well fed and looked after.
There was another neighbourhood cat (Cat 2) which used to come, which we used to feed sometimes. One day, my younger daughter decided pat this Cat 2, and it bit her severely, for which she had to take 10 injections, and suffered some pain, in addition to the expenses. However, I continued to feed this Cat 2, simply because it was old and emaciated. Last week, this Cat 2 was lying unconscious in our compound; my watchman and I gave it drops of milk and water, and wanted to see whether it can recover. I also chanted God's name in its ears; the belief is that it gets a better afterlife if it listens to God's name in the end. In a few minutes, Cat 2 breathed its last. I have the satisfaction that I could, at least for some months, take care of a lonely animal on this planet, Cat 2.
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I'm sorry your friend is having such a rough time, Sander .
We went through this with a cat we inherited from my wife's aunt. Guccina was a sweet little thing. She developed a small tumor which we had removed. Six months later it came back and grew very quickly. Another surgery. A few months later it returned again. This time we looked into chemotherapy and other treatments. Over and above the outrageous cost, the poor cat would have been miserable and the treatments would only have extended her life a few months. We chose palliative care for her (mild pain medication). A little while later when she wasn't enjoying life, we let her go.
She developed a small tumor which we had removed. Six months later it came back and grew very quickly. Another surgery. A few months later it returned again. This time we looked into chemotherapy and other treatments. Over and above the outrageous cost, the poor cat would have been miserable and the treatments would only have extended her life a few months.
That's what I'm afraid of.
It's usually very aggressive in cats and it almost always comes back.
Perhaps it's best to not make her go through all that
After a quick view I can see nothing wrong with the article.
I think it's the subject, statistics just isn't for everyone.
It's also fairly advanced, which sorts away quite a few more readers.
Compare with CodeWitch's articles, she's mass producing advanced articles that needs commitment to read and understand, but gets the article of the month for a fairly simple straightforward article on adding list functionality for collections.
If it's points you're after you need to write articles for the broad mass of readers.
<edit> That said, I have put your article on my reading list</edit>