Almost two weeks after Mr Big died. The raw pain of losing him has gone as has the shock of his sudden death. I have stopped looking for someone to blame and now see his death as the culmination of lots of little mistakes that started the evening before.

If I had only had one glass of wine with dinner on Saturday night I would have woken up and gone running on Sunday morning. As it was a slight hangover from the half bottle I consumed was enough to keep me in bed for a bit longer. By late afternoon I was ready for a run. Had I left the dogs at home Big would still be thumping his tail on the study floor as I write and it would not be this blog I was writing. I took both dogs with me and they ran two kilometers to my one. We ran up country lanes, me enjoying the  freedom of them running off lead and them enjoying the rabbits and new smells.

At home Big had a huge drink of water followed closely by dinner. He ate different food to the food I normally feed him. Had I packed food instead of relying on what was there he may still be here.

Bloat is common in dogs like Big and as soon as I saw his swollen belly later that night, I knew he was in trouble. I remembered the rule about exercise and eating and bloat. The vet stuck a tube into his stomach and released the gas and sent me home with a bunch of pills for tomorrow, a warning that it could happen again, and a joke about Big taking his pills with butter and the gorgeous sleep he would have in the aftermath of the Valium he was given to calm him down and allow the tube to be fed down his throat. The warning got lost in the relief of taking him home and going to bed after a big day and a long run.

At 2.00 am Pippy scratched desperately on the bedroom door. I got up and went looking for Big. I couldn’t find any of the light switches but he staggered up to me in the half light. This time his stomach was twice as bloated as before. We got him to the vet just in time but carried him in. This time the tube was inserted without the calming Valium. The gas splurted out. This time it stunk. Mr Big gasped three times and died.

We tried to to revive him. I blamed the vet. He should never have sent me home. He should have stressed the possibility of Big bloating up again. He should have told me not to go to sleep, to watch Big closely. Had he told me to take him to Werribee I would have done so. But I can no longer lay the blame on him. Big died, he did his best, I made mistakes. He is gone.

Yesterday I made a book for him. My Dog Mr Big It is a celebration of Mr Big’s life and our relationship with him.IMG_2187