Rescue pets: Saved from certain death

Last updated 05:00 08/06/2013
BEST BUDDIES: Emma Pender and Bazil.

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It was February 2006 and my partner Lee and I had just purchased our first home. Lee didn't know it, but my main motivation for buying was so I could get a dog. Renting with a dog was impossible.

Lee's dad Garth saw me with my dog breed books and said "Why don't you take Bazil?". I asked him who Bazil was. Turns out it was one of his old pig dogs. I cringed, picturing a mangy, malnourished, smelly and untrained animal. Not wanting to be rude, I politely enquired about Bazil.

"He's a border collie, he's somewhere between two and six years, he used to be a pet dog until his previous owner moved out of town".

Bazil sounded OK, so I asked to see him. A few minutes later, a big furry black ad white and red border collie came bounding up from the back yard. He was gorgeous. He had a furry black puppy face, a big fluffy tail and I didn't mind that his white socks were covered in old pig blood and that he smelled a like a mix of blue cheese and wet innersoles. He was the one.

I took him for a walk straight away to the nearest park. He didn't leave my side. I picked up a stick to throw for him. He yelped and ran away. Turns out poor Bazil had been beaten and abused by someone in his past. That night I took him home and bathed him. Three times. He still smelled like blue cheese but a lot less intense. He slept on my bed that night. He'd been sleeping in a outside cage for the past two years.

Bazil and I had made an instant connection. Garth explained to me that if I didn't adopt Bazil he would be shot, as apparently that's what hunters do with their unwanted animals. I went off hunters that day.

Bazil was my furry best friend and I took it upon myself to be his best friend. We walked all over town, we swam, we went in the car and generally spent as much time together as work and other non-dog commitments would allow. Bazil became my shadow and had to know where in the house I was at all times. He would camp outside the toilet, shower, laundry just to be near me. In 2011 I got a job where Bazil could come with me all day. I was forever falling over him. Bazil and I enjoyed five good years before he was to become ill.

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In July 2011 he suffered a partial prolapse. Some of his insides had moved whilst he was straining to pass motions. He came screaming up to me and jumped on my lap in pain. It was nearly midnight. I called the vet and we had to wait until 9am the next morning for Bazil to be operated on. We sat up together all night in the lounge. The vet told me to expect the worst. Several hours later I got a call. Bazil was OK.

Between that night and February 2013 we made many trips to the vet. Bladder infections, another prolapse, back and arthritis problems, a car vs dog accident at work, dog attack, a $1200 operation to fix another prolapse, the list goes on. We were regulars at the Springlands vet.

Bazil never objected to going, he knew he always felt better after he'd been. He was very wise. I'd ask the vet each time if Bazil could cope with his health. I didn't want him to suffer. They assured me they would recommend only the best for him. Bazil had definitely slowed down and didn't often venture far from his couch. But his eyes still twinkled and his tail still wagged.

In February this year I noticed Bazil had another prolapse. I made the usual vet appointment and expected to pick him up that afternoon after a minor operation. I wasn't prepared for the phone call that came. "I'm sorry, we've x-rayed Bazil and it's worse than it looks. We think his little body has had enough this time. What would you like to do?".

Through tears, I told the vet to do what he thinks is best. At 3pm, we went down and said goodbye to Bazil. He was still partially under anaesthetic. I called out to him loudly and he lifted his head and opened his eyes. I told him how much I loved him, how much of a better person I had become because of him, and how I admired him for being so gentle and peaceful and wise and loving.

He passed away with the help of the vet, on the exam room floor on a stretcher, with a towel over his body and me holding his paw.

Bazil was my best friend for seven years. One day I will get another dog, and it will be an adult dog who needs a loving home. I will tell it about Bazil and how he is the reason I would never buy a brand new puppy.

Bazil was a wise old gentleman of a dog, dignified and refined, appreciative, content, respectful and full of love. Every day, I try to be more like Bazil.

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