Our German Shepherd, Piper 'Bunny Dog' Collins, RIP
by Juliet Collins
Piper enjoying her first Christmas.
On Friday 11th May 2012 I had to say goodbye to my beloved Piper. She came into our lives on 25th Feb 2002 about six months after we lost our Sally - a lovely mixed breed that we had adopted from the Blue Cross (and swore blind we would not get another dog after the pain of losing her).
My husband however had wanted a German shepherd. She was amazing - all anyone could ever want in a dog - faithful, protective, and loving beyond belief - not only to her immediate family but to grand parents and aunties and friends - they all became part of her pack.
Piper from the start was a nervous puppy - scared of everything it seemed and just would not settle at night - we tried it all - hot water bottle in the bed, a clock to simulate another heart beat, light on, radio on, staying until she had fallen asleep - in the end the vet said just take her upstairs with you and let her settle for a couple of weeks and see how she goes. Of course once in the bedroom she never left!
Then came the teething - as the puppy teeth came out and the adult ones came in nothing in the house was safe - she ate (are you ready) a mobile phone, an electric razor, the knobs off the toilet roll holder, the wardrobe handle, the drawer handles, the mattress on our bed, the carpet, the cushions, countless cuddly toys and chewed the sofas back to the bare wood frame. And that's just what I can remember. Slowly she grew into an amazing dog - always ready for a game and it didn't matter with what - she would chase leaves, sticks, birds, squirrels, cats, other dogs - kids - always with nothing but play in mind.
She got away from me at six months and got hit by a car, sustaining a broken right leg, and the amount of times we had to go back to the vet because hubby fell asleep without putting her collar on and she chewed the cast right off - but it healed and she never suffered again from it. I never quite got over the guilt of that but she did not let it hold her back - trips to the vet were
frequent and expensive - but she put up with it all with nothing more than a heavy sigh when it was over.
Then at five we had so many problems with her gut - it turned out she had an auto-immuhe problem and it took us a year to get everything calmed down again. And then two years ago she seemed to be tired and dragging her heels after a walk - but as time went on the dragging got worse and we realised that this was the dreaded CDRM.
We have watched as she battled on - still always ready for a game but now her body was betraying her - running became slower and then impossible, her legs starting to twist and give way. The vet assured us there was no pain and nor did there seem to be - and she was always pleased to see us and our friends and family and still followed me everywhere - up and down stairs, but slowly finding this more and more difficult.
The last three months we have not walked her out but played with her in the house and garden and she seemed to accept this as she accepted averything else - with enthusiasm and a joyful bark. But the last two weeks she suddenly did not want to go up the garden and playing became a chore - and then she started to drink and drink and not pee and I knew it was time - any longer and she would start to suffer as her kidneys failed.
So Friday we said goodbye. Right up to the end she was loving and kind - never in her whole life did she show any anger or aggression to the vet no matter what he had to do - and when they said they had to hold her head I said no, I will hold her - but I didnt - except to cuddle - she let him put the needle in and went to sleep forever in my arms.
I have lost more than a pet - she was a friend and confidant - who followed me everywhere. The family are heartbroken and I am bereft. Adrift. I have never felt so alone. But I know life will go on - and we have sworn never to get another dog. Until the next one.