Kim K. lost her eleven year-old Pembroke Sir Darbert Westley Spencer less than a month ago. Although she is understandably still numb, shocked and saddened by his passing, Kim says Darby’s story must be told.
Because she speaks bravely and honestly, I’ve done very little editing on Kim’s piece. There is a lot of sorrow in losing any beloved animal, but Darby’s life — and his passing — hold some important lessons.
His story really does speak for itself.
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“Darby was five months old when we first saw him at the pet shop at our local mall. I didn’t know then that pet shops were bad, and I fell instantly in love with him. We mulled over the idea of buying him, and when we finally decided to do it, we couldn’t get to that store fast enough.”
“I fell instantly in love with him. He rode home in my lap in the back seat of our car. Darby was my first Corgi, and so cute. When we got him home and I put him down in the grass, he looked puzzled. He had never felt grass beneath his paws before.”
“I was stunned and saddened and loved him even more.”
“Darby was a great puppy, was easily housebroken. He was perfect, until one day out of the blue, he viciously bit my ear for getting too close to his food.”
“He got more and more aggressive as he got older. My husband got bit, then my oldest son. My vet said he should be put down. She moved to another location, and the vet who replaced her was too scared to treat him. She encouraged me to put him down too. I said “It ain’t gonna happen, lady.”
“I took him to obedience school and they could not cure the biting. We lived with it the best we could. He was a challenge, but still liked attention and only tried to bite out of fear or to protect his food. We got better at reading his moods and life went on. We loved Darby unconditionally, even though he couldn’t be around other dogs or strangers, so we rarely had company and I only walked him in secluded areas.”
“He bonded with me more than anyone. I was his “mom-girl” and before long he allowed only me me to pet him. He followed me everywhere. We were like peas and carrots.”
“Before he turned 11, Darby showed signs of DM (degenerative myelopathy). My friend’s Corgi had the exact same issues, except his dog let him put a cart on him. Darby wanted no part of it, so he was forced to drag himself by his one good hind leg there at the end.”
“He was cranky, his quality of life had declined, but he still greeted me with elation and loved suppertime.”
“I knew Darby was weary. He started hanging around in the living room, not following me everywhere anymore. I honestly think he was preparing me for life without him.”
“The Wednesday before his death, he couldn’t urinate. He laid around and didn’t want to do anything but sleep. He got sicker and sicker, then he seemed to be doing better. Of course, he was the sickest when the weekend came. I had kept vigil next to him all those days and I didn’t think he’d make it through Sunday night. I prayed for God to take Darby in the night, but he clung to life, and I know in my heart he couldn’t bear to leave me, so he fought death with all he had.”
“By Monday morning, he could no longer even drink any water. I called my vet and begged them to come to my house to put him down. They told me it was against their policy to come out, and I should wrap Darby in a blanket and drive him to their office. I told them I was afraid he would be fearful and still bite me. They told me I should wrap one of my husband’s ties around his mouth to keep him from biting.”
“I sat there dumbfounded. I looked back at his life and imagined his horrible beginning in a puppy mill. I thought of how fearful he could be and how much he trusted me. I knew the last moments of his life were not going to be spent in fear with a necktie around his mouth. Again, I uttered the same line I had told the other vet, “It ain’t gonna happen, lady.” She finally gave me the number of a vet who made house calls, and he was able to come out that same morning.”
“Darby died with grace and dignity. No whimpering or crying. No horrible restraints around his mouth. Just my voice, the one person he trusted in this world whispering in his precious velvety ears that I loved him and I’d see him in Heaven.”
“DM is a horrific disease and pet shops and puppy mills need to be put out of business. Darby’s life is a prime example of that.”
“I never knew how much my life revolved around Darby. My heart is broken and I will never forget him.”
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Kim, thank you for sharing your memories, your grief and your hope with The Daily Corgi community.
Darby was clearly very deeply loved!
For some reason we often find it easy to love and endlessly forgive the "bad boys."
Darby was very lucky to find such a devoted family.
A touching story of love and perseverance. Darby was a very lucky boy.
All animals should be so lucky and be so loved.
Princess of Everything (and then some) says
He was so lucky to have you. Most would have given up on him. Thank you so much for loving him.
And really hope that you get a new vet. Really. My vet has no problem as all coming to the home to help an animal go over the rainbow.