This week has been the longest on record in such a long while. Monday really feels like a lifetime ago.
It hit rock bottom this week with the loss of Queenie (above) and Moragh (below).
Some of you may remember Queenie came into us 3-4 weeks ago in a starved and ailing state.
Queenie hated the kennel experience and barely coped - not even a walk or a play in the paddock eased her anxiety. It seemed to us that she was very unfamiliar with the outdoors, so it led us to speculate that she had likely spent her life incarcerated in a room, used for breeding.
Much to our sadness further health complications arose with Queenie and I felt that it was time to end her suffering. Her health problems were insurmountable with our resources and so we gave her the peace she needed. Whilst she marked another battle lost against animal cruelty we took heart in the fact that she was not enduring a miserable existence any more.
But the next day, Tuesday, was incredibly cruel and we received the most painful, devastating news, which still brings me to tears.
Our beautiful girl Moragh, who had spent 4 months with us being brought back to health was to undergo one final treatment on before leaving us to live with her new family, except she didn't, because she couldn't.
Moragh had gone in to have what we all thought was a simple polyp removed, only it turned out to be far more sinister and hiding even more worrying problems. The blow was devastating. Both Catherine and I broke down in an instant as the vet told us we had to let her go. Sheer disbelief at what was going on and Catherine and I just sobbed.
I called Mel so she could join us in saying goodbye to Moragh and we all cuddled and fussed her until we felt able to let her go.
The vets were absolutely amazing with us and left us to spend all the time we needed with her and their sensitive handling of our grief made it all the more tolerable.
But it felt such a cruel, bitter blow after all she had been through and having found her a home to spend the rest of life in. We all really loved that cheeky little girl and she brought so much joy to our lives. We all shared very fond memories of our time with her and as I let everyone know of her departure they too shared their favourite memories; long walks around the water park, endless throw and fetch games, being smothered in kisses and leaping into our laps for cuddles. She was our Moragh.
I learnt a lot this week, specifically about the meaning of some of my feelings. You see, most of the time when I have to make the decision on euthanizing an animal I feel deeply despairing, frustrated at having failed another furry, but at the same time I feel I am able, to some degree, spare everyone else from that responsibility of the decision making. But with Moragh it was different. With her I wasn't shouldering any 'blame', so I couldn't spare anyone from grief. I couldn't make it any better for anyone. It was sheer grief. Painful, harsh, grief. This time I couldn't make anyone feel better about her loss, there was no 'at least she wasn't....', it was simply horrible, gut wrenching grief for us all.
But what I did see (and not for the first time I might add) the most amazing tenacity of my staff Mel and Catherine, who commit to their work and carry on for the animals. They come back to work the next day with ever more gritted determination and unfaltering belief in what we are trying to achieve. I admire them so greatly, cos let's face it, how many people would stick at and contend with the heartache and trauma that we deal with on an almost weekly basis. I think they are both amazing.
This week's blog is in memory of Moragh and Queenie but also in celebration of the staff and volunteers around me who come back to do this troublesome work week in, week out and all because they care so much. I'm very lucky indeed.