Wednesday 15th June Sands noticed that Teo’s glands were enlarged and that his collar was causing him discomfort. I was in the UK at the time on our June pet transport, but we both instinctively felt something was seriously wrong so she took him straight to the excellent Miguel at Animlafiso, who examined him and took some blood. His view at the time was that he had Lymphoma, and he took a biopsy to test.
As an aside this has been a crap year for receiving news while on the transports! It was February 5th while driving back from the UK that Sophie went in for her sterilisation, only to find that she had FIP, and it was March 9th, the morning that I was setting off to Portugal that she died.
One thing about the transports is that they give you a long time to think, and by the time I had got back I suggested to Sands that we should get a Galgo Puppy as soon as we knew what Teo’s results and prognosis was.
The rationale was that Tigra was no way going to be a happy dog on her own, so we wanted to give her time to get used to a new friend. We wanted a puppy so that neither Teo or Tigra would feel threatened, and that the energy of the puppy would distract Tigra and give Teo a rest from her attentions!
Also we didn’t want to wait until Teo was gone to ‘replace’ him. We wanted to feel that ‘life carried on’ with the remaining dogs.
At the same time we thought we would adopt Marti. Sands had been talking about him a lot as he was now in his third foster home in only a few months, and in each one he had been an only cat, but had lived with a dog, and loved dogs.
We had always wanted to have a strong cat & dog combination. Our cats all tolerate the dogs and we have no issues, but none are really buddies. Sophie had started to befriend Tigra so we thought Tigra would like a cat friend.
We got Teo’s results on 20th June and they confirmed that he had an extremely aggressive form of Lymphoma and realistically only had a few months to live. We went to see Miguel on the 21st to discuss options and as we were walking from the car to his clinic I heard a cat meow.
This is exactly what happened with Sophie. I heard her meow when we were walking along the beach, and tracked her down to a bush.
This time the meow came from inside a car engine and 90 minutes later, and with the under tray off the car I got hold of Tobi and rushed him into the clinic.
We agreed with Miguel that we would give Teo Chemo, as it would hopefully give us more time together, and in all honesty give us time to prepare to lose him, and of course give the new puppy and Tigra time to bond ….. and of course Tobi because we both felt an element of fate in so much as the circumstances were so similar to Sophie, he looked so similar to Sophie and one could say that it felt that Sophie had told him to meow at that moment and grab a home with us and use the space that she vacated when she died.
At this stage we decided that we just needed to give Teo as good a summer as possible, get a puppy (hello Tito) and settle Tobi (and Tito) into our lives. Marti unfortunately appeared to have lost out!
The plan was simple: 100% focus on Teo and the animals, to such an extent that from the day he was diagnosed until the day he died I didn’t go out socially at all. I just wanted to be with him as much as possible, as did Sands.
He was a star when it came to his chemo. He accepted it as he did everything in life: with a wide smile, and no complaints.
On the July transport with time yet again to think I came to the conclusion that we should adopt Marti as well. I felt bad that he had lost out because of Tobi, and I felt that two kittens at the same time would bond and be less disruptive on the others, and of course the desire to have a dog friendly cat remained. Sands had pretty much come to the same conclusion while I was away, so before I got back she picked up Marti. She then went to the UK and the day after she got back Tito came to live with us!
As far as plans go this has been one of our better ones: Tobi & Marti became best friends within hours and have settled in with no disruption to the other cats at all. Tito and Marti adore each other and cuddle and play, and as a result Tobi is very comfortable with Tito, and Tigra has become far more interested in both Marti and Tobi. If you haven’t seen it already here is a video of them all getting to know each other
As for Teo, the summer was all about him. Without making a fuss about it we just wanted to give him every chance, and for pretty much the whole summer the Chemo and Medication meant that we had ‘our Teo’ with us: Nature Reserve, Beach, Sunbathing, Watching TV and sleeping on the bed with us. He lacked his usual strength and stamina, but he was pretty much his old self for the majority of the summer.
About three weeks before he died it became obvious that he was getting worse. At no time was he in pain or suffering, but you could just see the life seeping out of his lovely body, and it was very hard to see. He remained proud and dignified throughout, but the end was close.
Again, without making a fuss, or letting people know, we made sure he got to do all his favourite things during the last weeks: a visit to his favourite bar, a run on the beach, walks on the nature reserve, visits to friends, and more than anything endless love and attention from us.
And now he has gone. Our lives are infinitely better for him having been in them, although at the moment they also feel so empty as he was the most attentive and loving dog you could ever wish for.
He had as good a last summer as was possible, and I know that he left us content that he had done a great job in leaving us with Tito, Tobi and Marti …….. and most importantly had handed over the reins to Tigra who will always be ‘his girl’, but has Tito to help her get into mischief.
The video below shows Teo during his last summer, accompanied by the song that I played so much while I was just sitting with him and enjoying the time we had left.