Years moved on, I was now a single parent as my relationship with AJ ended. I had also returned to work, trying to give my children the future they deserved.
Within this time, we had a few pets come and go, but I wanted to dedicate this entry to my beloved boy Keltic, who had been by my side since I first moved out of home so many years before.
He was still my big black wolf, but the years where starting to show and his gait was showing the weathers of time.
One day, it was a blustery afternoon as I recall, I went out the back to fill up water bowls and feed Cleo and Keltic, when I noticed he didn’t great me at the door as per usual.
I walked towards the lawn, thinking he must be rummaging around in the compost heap as per usual and didn’t hear me call.
But he was resting on the lawn, under the shade of the jackerander tree.
I called him, tapped my legs, and expected him to come running as he usually did. But he lay there, looking at me, wagging his tail, but not getting to his feet.
This is where I became aware something wasn’t right. I tried to coax him to his feet but he let out a yelp of pain and again sat down.
It took me quite a lot of effort to drag him inside, I had a perforated disc myself at this time and this made it all the more difficult.
After a visit from the mobile vet, I was told he had done his cruciate ligament.
And in a dog of his size and age, there wasn’t much they could do. Keltic was rocking on 17 at this time, and his health was deteriorating. She gave me drugs and pain killers, and slowly after months of lying around and being assisted in movement he began to slowly improve.
This was however the beginning of the end for my wolf.
He never recovered completely, his walk now was labored, and although not in pain, a walk around the block was enough now to keep him happy. A far cry from the hour long treks we used to do when he was younger.
I became aware one day that there was a little lump under the corner of his eye, it looked like a wart or mole, but it was not there before. Over a few weeks it went away, but he began to snort and sneeze. Again I called for the vet, and after x-rays they said there was a growth in his nose. The tests were expensive, but the vet said it didn’t look good and I should consider my options. Them being put him down now, and end it while he was in the early stages. Or hold off and see how the disease progressed and take it day by day. I thought long and hard about this decision, but as he wasn’t really in pain, and still seemed happy in his existence, I decided on the latter.
It was a year and a half later, his weight started to drop and he started to look like I was mistreating him. We tried everything, feeding 3 times a day, weight and fat gaining formulas. But although skinny and gaunt, he was still as happy and according to the vet, pain free.
Around this time, we got Miloh, she was my tax return impulse buy. A golden Cocker Spaniel Pup who was absolutely adorable. ( I’ll talk more about her story in my next entry)
Keltic was slowing down rapidly now, and I had got used to him sleeping under the kitchen table. I knew his time was marked when the left side of his head started to swell and his eye rolled back and could no longer be seen.
He couldn’t walk now, he just laid there and it became habit every morning to clean up after him. I placed Miloh next to him, as he lay there, showing him this little pup and hoping he would respond. Amazingly enough, even though he was sick and hurting, and unable to stand, he wagged his tale ever so gently and raised his nose to nuzzle her. I placed her next to him and she snuggled up next to him between his front feet.
The next morning I called the vet and as I sat on the floor with his body draped across my legs his head in my hands, she helped him move on. Unlike Nizmos passing, Keltics was peaceful and although I cried for several days afterwards. I knew it was his time and that I had had 18 years of the best companionship any dog owner could have asked for. When he took his final breath, shaky and hollow, Cleo, our Jack Russel , his compardre, howled from the window. It was a haunting farewell to her companion and friend.
Keltic was a special dog, he was proud, enthusiastic, cheeky, intelligent, fiercely loyal and protective.
He loved playing ball, going for long walks and socializing at the beach. He enjoyed smackos, could unscrew a 2ltr coke bottle in a few seconds and loved fetching a ball from the bottom of a basin of water.
He was my boy, who walked at my side, protected me when I was alone and defended my children with a low growl and a raised lip from under their bassinet.
We buried him along side Nizmo, in the back garden , and even now when I’m in that corner, I feel like I can hear his panting.
That corner in the garden , where the tree and the fence meet. Will forever be known as Keltics Corner.