Somehow I have to find the words to tell you this story, his story.
In truth, I have been sitting on this post for over two months now just completely at a loss. We had to say goodbye to our beautiful brown bear, MrK as you know him, Karhu to us. (Although not just Karhu… Moomoo Bear, Karhu-san, Baby Bear, Lazy, Rugaroo, Pooh Bear, Karhu Marhu, Monsieur Po Po and probably more that slip my mind right now because he was our best boy after all and concocting a thousand absurd nicknames is every pet owner’s right).
After various illnesses and, most frighteningly, a routine dental operation that went horribly wrong at the end of 2020 when his big heart stopped and he wound up in intensive care overnight, he fought back with the dignity and courage with which he faced everything. Yet, somehow, it would turn out to be the seemingly insignificant lump on his tail that would defeat him in the end. I remember joking with the husband many months ago that ‘it could be this stupid tiny thing that will be the end of him’ and the moment I said it my eyes welled and we dismissed the notion as it seemed absurd. But that tumour grew and grew in the most inoperable of places until eventually it broke the skin and an infection took hold and, almost overnight, we were left with no good options.
We were faced with the impossible decision that you always know will come and never want to make. The operation came with so many possible (and probable) problems that chances of a safe recovery seemed remote, let alone survival of the anaesthetic. The future was bleak. He was terribly unwell but none the wiser. We were heartbroken but somehow had to find the strength to let him go out on a high.
Imagine a world where you could be spared from pain and suffering and live every day like it was your last doing all your very favourite things – that was his world for those final days. To be honest, that had always been his world, living his best life his whole life, and we were lucky enough to be along for the ride… There was ice-cream and steak dinner and beach paddles and a fifteenth birthday celebration (allbeit a month early) and barbecued sausages and more love than this independent old man ever really wanted. We made a video of that last week and if you can watch it without tears streaming down your face then you are a lot stronger than me.
He left us with dignity, at home in his favourite spot (right in the middle of the floor taking up all the space and never shifting – you could step over him), eating his favourite biscuits, not quite sure what he had done to deserve all these treats, having a few big ol’ dog snores and he was away. And we were heartbroken.
My best friend of nearly fifteen years, our first family dog, my co-worker since the very beginning of Thankfifi, your online fur-friend… there are dogs in this world with truly special souls and he was one in a million – obliging, gentle, handsome, stoic, beach loving, clever, independent and excellent at time-keeping (never did it pass 10pm without a purposeful nod to the bedtime biscuit tin).
The house feels empty and countless moments throughout the day remind me of him, even now, all these weeks later. For some time even working without him felt strange and I took a lot of long walks with Tux, just the two of us, tears streaming down my face for most of them. There is no way to describe the hole in your heart that a pet leaves – many of you will have been here too. I know from past experience that time is the only healer and one day I will be able to think of him with smiles and not sadness.
Goodbye baby bear.x