On the 23rd of June 2022, a homeless person took his very, very old dog to a refuge because he couldn’t care for her anymore. It must have
been such a hard decision, and he saved her life. The dog, Kim, was in such a state that the refuge contacted Les Amis des Animaux to see if
they had a foster family for her, as she would obviously not survive in the refuge. Les Amis then contacted us and we said Yes, she is welcome. A dear friend, Melissa, drove all the way to Toulouse to pick her up and brought her to us. We’ll never forget her arrival; so incredibly weak, emaciated and ancient she seemed. She was completely disorientated, couldn’t walk or stand without falling over and had the most horrible injury to her skull and eye. We sat with her, and tried to get her to lie down, which she finally did, exhausted. To be honest, we seriously considered calling out our vet to have her put to sleep straight away. But then again, once we got her onto a big soft bed, in safety, it couldn’t hurt to wait a day or so, we thought.
We gave her strong painkillers, the best food we could find, every couple of hours, her water bowl right next to her, and rest, lots of rest. She was so tired,.
The days passed and Kim surprised us with an incredible will to live. She couldn’t get up, but ate the food, drank the water and slowly, very slowly gained some force. She started getting up and walking a little bit, very wobbly, and always in circles. We wondered if she had brain
damage from her skull injury, but she didn’t seem to suffer much, so we continued caring for her the best we could. She wouldn’t let us touch
her, which we understood and respected, as she must have been in so much pain after being hit by a car several times, according to her former
owner. The holes in her skull and the damaged, sunk-in eye were probably not her only sore spots. After a few days, our vet came out, sedate and examined her. Her heart still seemed strong and a blood test revealed a few problems, slight pancreatitis, but nothing too serious, apart from being very, very old. She estimated Kim to be around 16, which we thought also.
Kim continued to improve and even started walking in straight lines and responding to us, coming to see us (but still no touching, please!). Then, another setback; a grand mal seizure. leaving her disorientated again. This time, the recovery was quick, she found her bearings again and continued to surprise everyone by getting stronger and happier every day. A big moment was the first time team member Elsa got her to play with a tennis ball! I admit we cried, tears of joy.
3 months passed and Kim was our Queen; some of our wonderful volunteers cooked soft tasty food for her because eating was difficult with her damaged head/jaw and she was admired and respected by everybody that met her. She chose the space underneath the cabin as her safe space, but also very much enjoyed the space around her; the grass to roll in, the smell of the countryside and the company of the two old boys that joined her in the big field. Mitch and Primus were incredibly respectful towards her, she ruled just by mental strength.
At the end of September, Kim started to get weaker again, got very thin and it had become nearly impossible to get any food into her. She didn’t want it anymore. She started turning in circles again, not all the time, but she was having trouble peeing and was constipated. We tried medication, but it wasn’t possible to give her anything without her eating. She still had lots of good moments, but we realised the end was near and we didn’t want the bad moments to take over.
On the 10th of October, we gave her as many calming tablets as we could get her to swallow in 1 piece of sausage and sat down in the field with her.
The sun was shining, the boys were calm, and after an hour or so, Kim fell asleep. Once we were sure she wouldn’t notice anything anymore, we wrapped her in a blanket and drove her to the vet’s clinic. In the car, with her head on my lap, she took her last breath.
We took her body back home, put her in the field, in her favourite spot, for the boys to know and buried her later that day.
Kim, you were magnificent; the strongest, most incredible dog I’ve ever seen. I hope you felt some happiness, freedom and love during your short time with us.
We’ll never forget you.