Following months of illness Jay was not responding to treatment. After finding him in his bed asleep in his own urine and stools this morning I knew it was time …..I made the dreaded phone call to the vets and requested a home visit. There was no way I would consider putting Jay in the car and carting him over to the surgery again. Jay had refused to eat anything, even pilchards, and had flopped on the floor before returning back to his cleaned bed. After an examination the vet said that on top of everything else his heart was now struggling too. We all felt due to his deteriorating condition that it was kinder to let him go with some dignity. Our lives have been shattered once more.
It was February 2002 when along with Harry Wright I collected two German Shepherd pups for re-homing from their totally unsuitable homes. Jet was 6 months old, a victim of a broken marriage and was going to be fostered by Harry and Gill; nine month old Jay came here to stay with us. Up to this point the idea was that both pups would be rehabilitated and re-homed. On collecting Jay we where given his paperwork and I was gobsmacked to discover that he was the grandson of my lovely Dexi. (Blanik Alliance.)
Jay was a non-socialised hooligan who had been fed on weetabix, chips, chicken soup and all sorts of unsuitable rubbish. They hadn’t served him well and he was lean as well as having poor muscle development for his age. After the death of Blade the previous year there was room for another dog in our home, and in my heart. Jay became a permanent member of the “Blanik” family.
Back in April of this year, following a routine wormer, Jay had started to loose weight, had re-occurring diarrhoea and a ravenous appetite. By the beginning of May I was starting to feel concerned and tests revealed that “For idiopathic reasons the balance of his bowel had been disrupted and campylobacter was thriving in his bowel." How did it get there? I guess I'll never know as its main sources are from raw or badly cooked chicken. Other identified food vehicles include unpasteurised milk, undercooked meats, mushrooms, hamburger, cheese, pork, shellfish, and eggs. (and of course the dreaded Tripe) The organism is also occasionally isolated from streams, lakes and ponds. I don't give my dogs any raw meats and any cooked meats they may get are our left-overs. I guess it will always be a mystery as to where and when. My Vet was concerned that a seemingly health 6year old dog had not been able to fight this condition. Still with antibiotics Jay’s diarrhoea cleared quickly and over the next couple of weeks he showed signs of improvement.
Sadly it wasn’t long before Jay started to go down-hill again. He started to refuse food and developed a taste for stones, slate, coal and concrete. (even lifting the carpet to try and eat the stone floor) He was lethargic and more tests revealed he had protein losing enteropathy and chronic anaemia, which by the time the results came through was even obvious to the untrained eye. He was given weekly B12 injections, as well as antibiotics and later steroids. We tried several herbal pills and lots of “health” products but nothing seemed to help. Some days Jay flatly refused to eat anything, except a small slice of liver to try and help with the anaemia, and to be honest most of what he did eat came straight through him anyway.
An honest 65cm at the withers Jay was never a heavy dog, his average weight being 34-36kg. To see him down to 24kg was heartbreaking, but still he was a young dog, so I always hoped for the miracle that never came.
For a while at the beginning of August Jay seemed to improve; he put on 2kg, his colour improved slightly, his appetite increased and his stools became reasonably normal. But over one week, and by last Friday he had again lost the weight he had earlier gained, he refused to eat and slept all day. I think I knew then that we were now living on borrowed time, but as I said earlier I just prayed for a miracle.
Some day I hope I can forget the sad shadow of the dog that I have lived with these last few months. I would like to remember Jay as the clown, the idiot, the handfull that until this illness he truly was. I often said, “if he’d been my first German Shepherd I’d have never had another.” But seriously I blamed his poor upbringing for his rather loutish behaviour and really our “Captain Chaos” was quite a character. The Jay I loved was a loud-mouthed hooligan, but predictably safe in all situations. He never showed aggression or nervousness; he was just a lovable fool.
I remember walking Jay with Dexi when he hadn’t been here that long. He kept irritating Dexi with a silly high-pitched non-stop bark; bark, bark, bark in his ear. Finally Dex lost his cool and pinned him down, the only problem was they were in the lake at the time. I really thought he was going to drown him. I screamed and Dexi let go of him. Jay pulled his head out of the water, his ears hanging down with the weight of the water; he quickly composed himself, ran behind Dexi and gave one loud high- pitched bark….there was just no telling that young lad!
His partner in crime was Krizzie, (Blanik Deeanna) though typically the young female ran rings around him, proving time and time again that she was far more devious and cunning than he could ever be. In June 2003 Jay and Krizzie produced the lovely Blanik “E” litter of 7 dogs and 1 bitch. Blanik Excentric (My “Amazing” Louis) has charmed most people he meets and his show wins are too numerous to mention.
Jay’s own show wins were not to be frowned upon; he went to Crufts twice and got a 4th in SYD on the first occasion and a 1st in the K.C.G.C.D the following year. He was placed in the first 4 at all his Champ shows and was BPD at his only Champ show as a puppy. (Birmingham National, judge- Frank Sanderson in 2002.)
To loose a loved companion is heartbreaking, to loose 2 so close together is devastating. (But still Seffe and Dexi where reasonably old.) To loose 3, in just over 2 months, and one a young lad who should have been in the prime of his life is plain soul destroying.
God Bless you baby Jay; now you will feel no more pain. You have given us so much in such a short time. Rest in peace my darling boy. You Have Been Loved
Steve and I would like to thank Ness at Arden Grange for her support and our Vet Caroline for her hard work and dedication in the treatment of Jay. Also we’d like to thank our lovely friends who contributed in many different ways to making these last few weeks/months easier for us, and more importantly Jay. I hate to think where we would be now without our friends. God Bless you all.