Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thank-you for sharing your life with us.

One of the last photos of Babette, wheezing on her bed, surrounded by her old, favourite toys and her human family.
Yesterday marked one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make - collectively, 3 of us had to make. After a brave fight with terminal cancer, we had to put Babette to sleep yesterday. She deteriorated rapidly this week culminating in being almost totally debilitated yesterday morning.

She was taken to the vet where she was put on a drip. Her right eyelid was drooping, her legs all skew and she would not walk. Sanel, her vet informed us that her kidneys were failing and the lameness and eyelid were due to the nervous system shutting down. She could be made more comfortable with the drip but the inevitable was imminent.

After sitting with her at the vet, my mom-in-law took Babette to her house at mid day. Elsa is Babette's third parent as Babette and Mia were together almost every day for the past six years or so (Mia is Elsa's baby poodle girl). We got there around 13:00. Babette managed to get up and greet us at the front door, tail wagging and one eye sparkling. I'll never forget this final greeting.

The fact she seemed to be as 'well' as she was a week ago made the decision that much harder but based on what the vet and Elsa had told us about her condition earlier - as well as the cancer symptoms that had become noticeably worse, it was clear what should be done - just a matter of when. Of course, I wanted to have another night with her. Heck, I wanted another 6-7 years more at least, but purely for selfish reasons. I know we all wanted the same - who wouldn't?

Jacques with his girl. The last picture of our baby.

Sanel, from Bergzicht Dierekliniek Big Bay, was called and arrived at the house around 14:15. She was also visibly upset and the four of us sat with Babette on her bed. We confirmed to her what we had decided and, after telling Babette how much we loved her and with all of us kissing and stroking her, Babette's coarse breathing slowed down as she rested her head on Jacques lap. And then she was gone.

Of course, the pain and upset for anyone that has experience death is heart wrenching and really, purely selfish. It's the unleashing of raw emotion - love, regret, happiness, sadness, 'what if?' - all the memories the living have but ultimately and regardless of what one believes does or does not happen after death, Babette no longer suffers from cancer and her little body needs not try and fight it any more. She let us care for her and put up with the daily ozone baths - all in an attempt to make her comfortable and in the small hope of a miracle. But none of that matters any more.

She is was always part of our family and nothing has changed. She is only absent in form. And tragic  and unwanted as it was, the cancer was also part of her. That was her life, time with us and her body.

Being able to say goodbye at home, surrounded by toys, her bed and her family was the best thing - certainly for us and hopefully, less stressful for Babette.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to let her know how much I loved her. Some people don't get this chance. She may not have understood the words but all the anecdotal evidence points to the fact that she knew what we were conveying. We love you Babette.

23 January 2007 - 08 May 2013

We have to convey our thanks to Sanel at Bergzicht in particular. She has shown compassion, understanding and love - to Babette (who loved seeing her) and to the three of us. Also, everyone else we dealt with at Bergzicht, who went over and above what was necessary to help us find out what was wrong and to deal with the care.

Also to the various specialists and practices - the Animal hospital in Kenilworth and the one in Panorama and to Craig (Babette's homeopath) and Dr Landman (Babette's ozoze therapist) and Sanel's parents for allowing us to steal the special water drops!

The support, love and well wishes from all around the world via the various blogs and social media has been amazing. Our friends and family here in South Africa too, my mother in the UK (who sadly never got to meet Babette). Thank you everyone.

The biggest thank you and love to Elsa and Mia, Babette's human Grandma and poodle sister. The two of you have been as big a part of Babette's life over the six years. Your home was also her home and the past few months would have been impossible without you. Babette was also your girl and I know she loved you very much.

Burgess and Jacques

Bunny, Babette's first and cherished toy.


  1. This is a beautiful farewell to Babette for us, her devoted followers. Thank you for sharing this last day of her earthly life.

    Comfort and love to you all in your grieving. Go well darling Babette, baby girl.