There were two faithful servants in my life – my Mac and my dog. Both got sick recently but only one recovered.
Me and my laptop. I carry it everywhere, even to work where I use a Windows PC. But every lunch time out comes my Mac and it’s welcoming chimes, just for fun. Two days a week I work from home and I carry the puny PC with me.
And that’s where my faithful mutt, Zoltan, always greets me. Every day – morning, noon and night. I settle down to work or watch TV, he settles down close to my feet. Cosy. Overnight, my aging bladder asks to use the bathroom. Zoltan wants to pee too and he politely asks by scratching at the door. When we go for walks in the Somerset countryside I don’t need to bring a pooper scooper – like me he prefers to crap at home but unlike me, he does it on the lawn.
They can’t tell you when they’re sick
First my Mac started playing up. Going slow, freezing and taking an age to shut down. Eventually it wouldn’t start at all. Dr Genius Bar at the Apple store tells me I need a new logic board that sets me back £500 as I’m two months out of warranty. Then I fork out another £80 to upgrade the RAM. I suffer a hellish three weeks without my Mac, it’s back now but still in recovery.
About the same time Zoltan begins to behave strangely. He won’t settle, he starts chewing cables and plastic flowerpots around the house. When he destroys our internet connections he gets a right royal telling off.
Eventually we notice he seems to be having trouble with his back legs. I take him to the vet but a physical examination doesn’t indicate anything untoward. We order a blood test and the results a few days later indicate a possible problem with his liver. Or kidneys. I take him back to the vet (by now I’m having to carry him) where they sedate him, taking more tissue samples and conducting an ultrasound examination.
The vet tells me as he has spotted what he thinks is a serious infection around his kidneys and they are worried about his liver and gall bladder. They start him on antibiotics but he doesn’t fully recover from the anaesthetic in time for me to take him home so they keep him overnight for observation.
Saturday morning there’s an early phone call from the vet. Zoltan starting having convulsions overnight so they sedated him again, it looks like he’s suffering multiple organ failure. What to do? It seems we have no choice, the vet thinks he might not last the day.
We go and say goodbye and hold him while he’s put to sleep. Permanently. The vet’s bill calls it euthanasia but we can’t stop feeling as though we’ve killed him. We keep telling ourselves that we had to put him out of his misery; it was an act of kindness. But we can’t convince ourselves; we miss him desperately and we were responsible for ending his life prematurely. He was just seven years old.
They can’t tell you when they’re sick. But the Mac does – only I’d rather have Zoltan back and throw the machine away.