(Duncan, B.C., Canada)
Winston originally came into my life as a gift to my Alzheimer stricken husband. I heard of how zootherapy can be beneficial to A.D. victims. The timing was perfect as I found a good breeder near my home. With my dear hubby's Birthday coming up, it was a perfect gift for the occasion.
The dog was a 4 month old Yorkshire Terrier. As soon as I introduced the puppy to George, he was delighted. Winston seemed to sense the need in him and kissed his nose, which made him laugh. They were inseparable ever since. Winston did his "job" well becoming very close to George. I loved him too...so cute, cuddly and loving. I had to train the dog as it was too much for George to handle. It was amazing how quickly Winston learned and being so eager to please by his new accomplishments. The exceptional intelligent little dog had was apparent.
As Winston grew,he endeared himself steadily with us...but,to all our family and friends and nieghbours.
George was into an advanced stage of Alzheimer's. It became time to arrange for the care he required in a
care facility. It was sad, after caring for him at home for 16 years, but, the reality that it took more than l person to look after him, was true. I visited him every
day. Every 2nd week they had a Pet Day, where families could bring their pets for a visit. Of course, Winston went. They were so impressed by his interactions, not only towards his Dad...but, also to other patients. The head of the care facility asked if Winston could come daily when I did, to visit as a care/companion dog for the patients. He loved it and would ride on their laps in wheelchairs, or visit them on their bed, etc. He was so popular and he was rewarded by a healthy treat by the facility cook at the end of his "shift".
Sadly, Geoge passed on after 2 years there. Winston seemed out of place and missed his Dad. George had a life sized stuffed dog which he loved and had with him constanly. I gave Winston this dog and he loved it, using it for a pillow and laying beside it to sleep.
Winston suddenly became very ill at the age of 6 yrs.
After 2 days, I knew he was in trouble and took him to
a special emergency clinic vet hospital. He was in pain, crying and wriggling around. They took him in to stay for diagnosis, needing tests to reach a conclusion. I checked on him 2 times a day, for 2 days. They had their answer..he had kidney failure to the point of not producing any urine, he was badly dehydrated and also had pancreatitis. The pain worsened. After trying several meds to control the discomfort, none worked. They ended up anesthitising him and he was put into a deep sleep.
They finally came to the conclusion that no more could be
done for him after his kidneys did not function. I said,
it breaks my heart to see him in such pain to the point of having to be put into a coma for relief. I submitted to uthanasia as the only sensible thing to do. I now feel lost and very sad, losing my little "man of the house". He took a piece of my heart with him. One thing is certain...after a month or so, I will get another Yorkie pup because I don't want to be without one of these lovable, loyal, funny, smart dogs in my life.