Whenever I hear myself saying that I have suffered the loss of our dogs in antecipation for a few years, I am only too aware that I sound morbid and pessimistic, because nobody really knows how long their pets will live. But the reality is that their lives are extremely short, compared to ours. And their mortality becomes even more apparent when they are diagnosed with conditions for life. Then, you are faced with factors even more outside of your control than just age.

Every now and then you get to meet someone who knows exactly how you feel and appreciates every day with their dog as a gift. Thomas Smith is one such person. He only joined our Facebook group recently but has already contributed immensely to our dog-loving community…

Here is his story and that of his springer spaniel – Roger.

Welcome to our October DogBlog!



Thomas Smith – Counting blessings and celebrating milestones


So, here we are, celebrating our twelfth ‘gotcha day’ and feeling blessed to have had such an amazing dog/pooch/baby come into our lives… A bit like in that Jerry Maguire film, Roger (our dog/pooch/baby) had us at that first little yelp! He’s actually from a breeder, I’d have loved to have adopted from a shelter but with a partner that was a serving police officer at the time, we had loads of ‘insider knowledge’ on what to get and what to look for… I did barter down that we’d donate an equal amount to a dog charity, which we did, and continue donating to to this day (we’re on our fourth dog as sponsors).

Roger is actually the runt of the litter and because of that he’d never have been chosen for any sort of work because of that funny little title… he was also promised to another family so we were on the waitlist for the next litter. I’m a huge believer in fate, the universe, mother earth getting involved; we got a call out of the blue to say a family wasn’t suitable for the last puppy and were we still interested… we couldn’t have got in the car any quicker to hot foot it across to the deepest depths of Oxfordshire!

There we met mum, dad, eight equally gorgeous (but ‘allocated’) puppies and of course, Roger… each puppy was ‘collared’ with a different colour ribbon and Roger was in baby blue – from the minute he puppy waddled towards me (I mean us) my heart melted… and has been melting ever since!

Baby Roger on “gotcha day”

We seem to have hit the jackpot with him (I know everyone can wax lyrical about their fur baby but…), for a springer spaniel he is the most chilled, relaxed dog you could ever meet and thanks to my partner putting in hours of work with training, he is pretty much tip top on all the things you’d want from a dog (I put in the hours cuddling him)… as long as there’s a tennis ball in sight, you can pretty much get him to do anything.

With his favourite toy: tennis balls

We’ve been blessed that over the years, though we’ve both worked away from home, we’ve each had the opportunity of spending a huge amount of much rewarded time with him – to the extent that we kinda believe the reason he’s NEVER been interested in other people or dogs is because we have an amazing bond (or he may just be REALLY aloof)… we are more than a family unit, we are a pack.

So, why do we (or any of us) count blessings and celebrate milestones? You can’t get away from the fact that our beloved fur babies are only with us for a short amount of time, and though they make the biggest impact (I’m pretty sure I love Roger more than my partner… although let’s not tell him that) we have to keep an eye on that ticking clock.

Almost a year ago, Roger snapped his Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) and the first thing our vet suggested was very invasive surgery… we’d do anything to help make him better and we have a really good relationship with our vet but something didn’t sit right with putting him through such a big operation at this late stage in life (11 & 1/2). Luckily I’m friends with another Let My Dog In member who provides Hydrotherapy Care for dogs and she very kindly (over the Christmas break) gave me lots of advice, ideas on other options and general ‘get yourself together’ wisdom so we made the decision (which worked for us) to go down the non-surgery route and found an amazing physical therapist, Ellis at

Shoutout to Michelle Sharp, LMDI member and blogger embarassed

We did some intensive laser therapy, massage and muscle building exercises and over time he has bounced back to the point you wouldn’t know anything was wrong with him. He’d already developed arthritis so we were at the stage where our walks were not quite the country romps we were used to but he still happily trotted along with said tennis ball clamped in his jaws and will now happily sit at a bench and watch the world go by.

Then, just as we were getting on top of everything Roger was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Whereas we had a gung-ho approach to his CCL tear, we completely fell apart when the vet gave us the full run down of what this was and where it was heading… he was put on a heavy cocktail of tablets, which was added to pain relief for arthritis, and he responded far better than we expected – to the point where we sometimes forget (apart from when checking the medicine schedule) that there is anything wrong with him.

Happy dog

Following our ‘get yourself together’ attitude we gave ourselves a bit of a talking to and decided we’d move forward counting our blessings, for we are truly blessed, and whilst we know we have to watch out for any signs of deterioration we rest easy in the knowledge that the word ‘snuggles’ sets Roger off upstairs for cuddles on the bed and he’ll happily plant himself in front of the oven if you’re cooking sausages, and with that, we are happy, we are blessed, we are grateful!

Both his birthday this year and his Gotcha Day were bigger ‘milestone’ celebrations than usual but I’m pretty sure you’ll all agree with me… very much deserved!

Roger wishes everyone a Happy Halloween!

In the last 30 days…

954 posts, comments and reactions

21 new members

Top contributors in the last month:

1 – Thomas Smith
2 – Teresa Garcia
3 – Raquel Tasca
4 – Custódia Barreiros
5 – Dee Locker


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