The fam­ily pets are show­ing their age

EDP Norfolk - - News -

A fa­mil­iar face on our TV screens, Susie and fam­ily are pre­par­ing for tough times ahead...

AS A par­ent, there is al­ways some­thing to worry about, but so far this year it hasn’t been the chil­dren caus­ing us angst, it’s been the an­i­mals.

With the out­door lot – chick­ens and ducks – there’s been the threat of bird flu, mean­ing they all had to forgo their daily for­age in the woods. In­stead they are cooped up to­gether in our back gar­den – per­plexed and put out by their sud­den con­fine­ment.

It’s made it eas­ier for the driv­ers go­ing past our house – no longer do they have to ne­go­ti­ate the chick­ens cross­ing the road, and the ducks risk­ing their lives by sit­ting in pud­dles - but it’s made our back gar­den a bomb site.

While I was away re­cently, I know my hus­band al­lowed the ducks in­side the house. This rev­e­la­tion will split read­ers (like our friends) ve­he­mently either way: half will think that is touch­ing, or even nor­mal. The other half will side with me in think­ing it’s en­tirely weird. My over­rid­ing thought is “But they poo ev­ery­where!!”

Talk­ing of the p-word (apolo­gies if you are read­ing this over break­fast), our main worry is ac­tu­ally with the in­door an­i­mals. Our beloved dog and cat are now very el­derly, and are show­ing their age. It’s a bit like run­ning an old peo­ple’s home.

Our sil­ver tabby, Katya, is nearly 17, and has gone blind. She can’t go out any more, and so uses a lit­ter tray. But be­cause she can’t see, she of­ten misses her tar­get.

Our golden retriever, Tiggy, is 13 this month. We thought we were los­ing her a few weeks back when she started swerv­ing all over the place and knock­ing into things. It was as if she’d had a stroke. It turned out to be some­thing called vestibu­lar syn­drome. She has im­proved a bit, but her mo­bil­ity is poor and I think she is lit­er­ally on her last legs.

I find this hard to write, as it means I have to ac­knowl­edge that we will prob­a­bly lose both pets be­fore too long. An un­bear­able thought. They have both played such a huge role in our lives as a cou­ple, and then a fam­ily. They were our ba­bies, be­fore the lit­tle hu­mans came along.

I can’t imag­ine a house with­out them. It may smell bet­ter, and have less golden fluff ev­ery­where, but it will be heart­break­ingly empty. I hope, as they strug­gle with their var­i­ous geri­atric dis­abil­i­ties, Tiggy and Katya can tell just how much we love them.

Susie Fowler-Watt at home with Katya

Susie Fowler-Watt with hus­band Alex Dun­lop, Tiggy the dog and Katya the cat

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