He’s a mixed breed Labrador who had never stopped acting like a puppy despite being 11 years old. It sounds cliché and extremely pathetic to say that Spike is my best friend, but I can’t think of a title that would describe our bond any better. I’ve known him since the day he was born in the cupboard under my stairs when I was 7 years old. We’ve watched movies together, cheered each other up when we’re sad, ran around in the woods and even played hide and seek together. Unlike most dogs, he loves and takes care of all his teddy bears.
I’ve always said that Spike is not an appropriate name for my dog. He should have been called ‘Lucky’ because he has been dodging death ever since the day he was born. It began when he nearly suffocated after being born, and his mum was too tired to save him. Luckily we were there and he pulled through. Then there are the countless times where his mischievous side would surface and he would run away when the door gets left open, and not get hit by a car. Even the time just last year where he ran away for 3 days, did get hit by a car and lived.
I had started to believe that we had found the luckiest dog on the planet, one who would surpass his life expectancy with no health issues.
Unfortunately I was wrong.
A few weeks ago, I was hit with the news that my best friend has cancer. I knew that the odds of a dog of his age getting cancer is very high, working out that 50% of dogs over the age of 10 contract the disease; in his breed it was even higher. Still, the diagnosis was heart breaking, as Spike is more than my dog, he is another member of the family. I already knew that even if chemotherapy was affordable, we would not be treating Spike with it. The thought of him being sick everyday was unbearable, and we knew that a Spike who isn’t constantly wagging his tail, or playing tug of war with his dog blanket is not truly ‘Spike’. So instead I’m faced with the morbid reality that I will never see him open another Christmas present, or eat another dog friendly birthday cake again.
Just a week ago, you wouldn’t know anything was even wrong with him. He was still running around like a puppy, and keeping us awake at night begging for food. But now he has taken a turn for the worst. I’ve tried to turn Spike’s prognosis into a positive. I’ve made him his very own bucket list, filled with things we probably never would have done without Spike’s diagnosis. Number 1 was go to the beach, which he loved.
If time is on our side, the next thing is to give him a whole steak to eat! This post wasn’t meant to make you sad, and I’m sorry if it has! I’m very aware that those without pets won’t understand why this is a big deal, and it’s not a feeling I can ever explain to you. It’s awful to be away from him at university, knowing that the rest of our time together is so limited, but it makes the moments we do spend together extra special. I’m hoping to tick as many things off the list before Spike’s spark leaves us. I try not to get upset, and feel happy knowing that I’ll still be left with photo’s and memories of my best friend Spike.