Had to say goodbye to my oldest remaining Dobermann Tess (aged 14) last night. John came with me to the vets and she quietly slipped away to sleep - it never gets any easier does it?
Tess was always my special one - she was from my 2nd litter from my Champion Twinglo Love Apple. 1 of a litter of 8, she was the last born, and when she was born it was as though she was in a much thicker and darker sack than the rest of the pups. Had some trouble getting her to breath at first, but she eventually did, though she wouldnt feed, and held her head way over to the side. Vet came, decided she may have been starved of oxygen at birth, would probably be braindamaged, recommended we put her down. Rightly or wrongly we decided to give her a chance - so it was hand feeding every few hours. At the time we were living in the middle of nowhere in a farmhouse in Perthshire - my mum had to come up to stay with us to help with the rearing. Down to the vets every week, and every week she got a little stronger - though she couldnt walk by 3 weeks. Eventually by 4 weeks she was up and about, but she tilted her head way over to the side, and fell over a lot. Every week the vet kept giving us the option to put her to sleep, but for some reason i just couldnt - she was a real fighter. At 8 weeks i decided to keep my favourite bitch in the litter (megan, sadly died of cancer at age 6.5) and i just couldnt see Tess go, so she stayed too. I remember when Lynn Glass & John Hull (Gaindyke Dobermanns) came up to help me evaluate the litter, they were very impressed with Tess, it was a pity about her disability- as at 8 weeks her head was still well tilted.
By 6 months she was as big and strong as her sister- my vet could not believe it was the same pup. She was always a bit "slow" - a wee bit clumsy, she sometimes ran into the patio doors thinking they were open etc - but such a happy dog - her stumpy wee tail never stopped wagging.
She was actually a fantastic dobe - beautiful head, tremendous forechest - and i did show her a few times - but she was just so happy to be out and about with people that she threw her front all over the place, and moved like a disney character. So she stayed at home as a much loved pet and only ventured out to be used as a "stooge" at judging training seminars etc. Though she did win best veteran at a Scottish Dobermann Club open show a few years back, and proudly flew round the ring throwing her legs in all directions the the great amusement of the crowd.
I know she had a long and happy life and am just relieved that she is now at rest.