In September 2012, one of our Animal Welfare Officers asked if I could foster a dog. Although I had just lost my dog to cancer and was grief-stricken, I saw an animal in need and of course I had to say yes. So, eight-year-old Cassie came into my care. She had epilepsy, but having fostered epileptic dogs before, I knew how to deal with her fits. I didn’t expect to become so attached so quickly. You see, I’d always liked medium to large black dogs with calm and laid-back temperaments, and here was a small, white Staffordshire bull terrier crossed with a Jack Russell – calm was unlikely to be one of her key character traits!
Cassie was in Mayhew’s care under our Pet Refuge programme (where we look after the pets of people in crisis for a short period of time) and, as the end of her stay approached, her owner made the hard decision that they could not look after her long-term, so they signed her over to Mayhew. I was then able to adopt her, and I jumped at the chance!
Cassie soon became a firm favourite at Mayhew and was great with other dogs, lending a helpful paw by walking alongside very nervous pups, who appreciated having a calm friend to reassure them. She was also a part-time model, featuring on Mayhew leaflets and promotions, and she enjoyed meeting many of our famous supporters, such as Ricky Gervais and Neil Morrissey.
The years sped past, with both Cassie and I getting older, but she still enjoyed zooming around the park chasing squirrels. Then, one day in 2018, she struggled to stand, and the vet diagnosed an inflamed spinal disc. She was prescribed very restricted walks and anti-inflammatories and she steadily improved. Another year passed and I noticed she was slowing down much more. She celebrated her 15th birthday with a picnic in the park, but I was having to limit her exercise to stop her tiring too much.
At the beginning of November last year, her mobility was deteriorating rapidly, and I had to start thinking about how long it would be before I had to make the necessary but painful decision to let her go. She did not appear to be in any pain, and I was determined that she never would be. When it was time, she had one last weekend of spoiling, with visits to her favourite parks in a borrowed dog buggy. The sun shone and she relished her doggy picnic of sausages. A few days later, the vet came to our house and Cassie slipped away peacefully in my arms.
The years with Cassie will stay forever in my memory; we packed a lot in with so much love, companionship and happy times.
Cassie, I will never forget you.
Cassie, 17 August 2004 – 11 November 2019
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