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Loss of a pet

Our experience of losing Tarmac.
We got Tarmac in 1995 and then Guinness in 1996.
From speaking to others, we were quite aware that Cavaliers have a life expectancy of 12 years and that they can have heart problems. We knew that Tarmac had a heart murmer.
October 12th 2005.
Took out dogs for evening walk, Tarmac a little sluggish. Nothing eventful otherwise.
October 13th 2005 - 2:45am
I woke up hearing Tarmac panting a lot. As he had had fits in the past, we thought that this was the cause, and that he was getting over an attack.
He wouldn't stop panting, so as we were worried, arranged with the vet to meet him in surgery.
His initial check identified some fluid on his lungs, probably caused by his heart murmer. Took him for x-rays. Thought that some treatment for fluid and possibly heart tablet would be best.
Vet looked a bit worried when he looked at the x-ray, due to the size of his heart.
He gave Tarmac an injection and a tablet. We put him on the floor while waiting for the vet to finish.
Tarmac just collapsed, and the vet could not revive him.
(A year and a half on, and I find myself tearful just trying to write this.)
I got a blanket from the car, and wrapped his body up to take home.
We had him in his bed, on our bed for the night. So we could all say goodbye. Took him back to the vets for arranging his cremation.


We were not prepared for the loss of Tarmac at all. He had been fit and well with no indication of illness.
I didn't go in to work for the next week - neither of us stopped crying for long. Expected work to understand. Sorry that didn't happen. they probably think that it's just a dog, get another one ( like when the washing machine broke down ).
I even had to get a doctors note saying that I was unfit for work - even though I had the right to self certify for 7 days.
Well I have lost other family members but have never had grief like this. I suppose that it is more like having a baby for 10 years - and just losing him.
For us, having Guinness was a real help. We still had a dog to look after, and take on walks - although now only one of us had a dog on a lead.
Others who we know have lost their only dog, may have found it worse than us; as it has also changed their lifestyle - i.e. the walks, and the ice breaking feature of having a dog.
I remember doing a lot of surfing on the internet, to look into what I should be expecting. There are several phases that you go through emotionally - and it just takes you time to go through them. You have no control over this. It was helpful for Shirl and I, that we went through it at a similar rate. This means that we need the same sort of support at the same time.


I wrote a little poem about Tarmac - last time I wrote any poetry was at school!. Not sharing that with you though. But it is something to consider. Yes it made me really sad to do, but it helped me through the denial phase of grief. I knew he had gone and it made me think how I felt. And it was bad.
We have his box of ashes in the cabinet with his last collar and tag. He came on holiday to our cottage for quite a few visits. And was always the first thing to be unpacked.
We also took the opportunity to take some fur from him to save in a box.
Back in 2000, my parents gave us a footprint mould. It was a bit like modeling clay, that you pushed their paws into. We then wrote their names on it. Very pleased we did this when we could.

A special photo (Last with Tarmac on it)
Blackpool 2005

One of last photos of Tarmac
Eating a treat

In loving memory of a very special, furry friend.
1995 - 13th October 2005