Tess aka 'Klonky'
by Rebecca J
A morning snooze... gaining energy for my main afternoon snooze
Tess is a 15.5 year old Border Collie, and shows no signs of giving up life on this mortal coil as yet!
She's been my family dog since I was 16. The first year of her life was... well... tumultuous. My poor mother watched her flooring and table legs get chewed and destroyed, and we all lost many a worn sock to the terror that was Tess. However, despite the chaos, we all loved her and her crazy nature, so she stayed.
It is fair to say that she has always been a stubborn creature, with moods that could rival any average teenager. Sometimes her behaviour would be impeccable leaving onlookers astounded by her abilities and obvious intelligence. At other times, however, she would not seem to even recognise her name... or more likely ignored the calling of her name in favour of the football being kicked around the park by adolescent boys. I remember clearly the embarrassment in having to ask footy shirt wearing 14 year olds, "Can I have my dog back please?"
Tess lives with me now and my family. In September 2009 she suffered from a bad case of Ideosyncratic Vestibular Disease (an immune system attack on the part of the brain responsible for balance and orientation). I thought I was going to lose her. Thankfully the Vet explained that it was not a fatal condition and there was no reason why she could not recover from it. It took three full weeks of intensive home care before she was able to walk again without my help. Those were three very tough weeks of rescuing her from random rolling about the floor, carrying her outside to toilet (in a self made sling) and hand feeding her.
The disease has left her with a head tilt, balance issues, reduced mobility and she has never been able to climb stairs again. It was difficult leaving her downstairs because she used to sleep by my side of the bed and I missed her. I wasn't able to walk her for some time so her fitness levels decreased and have never returned. However, I'm so thankful to still have her around. She has been an immense comfort to me through a difficult time in my life.
Now, she is definitely showing signs of doggy dementia (always picks the wrong side of the door, and asks to be let in and out of a room constantly). Her walking is quite heavy due to joint issues, hence her affectionate nickname 'Klonky'. I'm sad that we can no longer walk for miles together and that we share less of our lives. However, she is happy in this world with what she has, and I love her dearly.
Tess has been a joy as well as a pain, sometimes calming, sometimes stressful. I love her for the fact she has a strong character (even now). In retrospect the more challenging times with Tess make me smile and often cause me to giggle, and so I am thankful for them. My Mum now treasures the chewed table legs, because they were designed by Tess - one of many memories we can keep when she is no longer with us.