Chapter 47 
(November 16th, 2014):

The Final Chapter

Well, this is Gráinne’s Dad having to write the final chapter as had to be expected. I have to do so, however, sooner than I thought. It only took 6 more weeks for Gráinne to follow her stepbrother Diarmuid over the rainbow bridge.

Gráinne’s age had caught up with her, as her vet, Dr. Oetjen, put it on the occasion of one of her last visits. For the last two years she seemed to be younger than she really was. A Wheaten’s life span normally is about 13 years. Gráinne died just 6 days short of her 15th birthday.

She had gone downhill particularly from early September when she started taking the stairs one by one that she used to run up. And a few weeks later Roberta had to carry her up and down: she had developed arthritis in her hind legs.

We took her to another vet for physiotherapy, which worked for a while, but in the beginning of November she seemed to have had a stroke due to her age after which she lost most of the necessary control over her hind legs, started stumbling around in circles and fell over frequently. She could not walk over the floor tiles any longer but slid constantly as she was not strong enough to keep her legs in line. We spread out mats and rugs.

At night, between 2:00 and 4:00, she then needed to go out into the garden, be it to relieve herself or because she needed to move the stiff legs around a little bit. We never really found out. A few days ago she started moaning and grunting from time to time, but Sunday night she never stopped it. She was not able to stand anymore - not even with our help.  

So the bitter question arose: Should we wait whether it would get better overnight or not? We decided that we must not subject her to further suffering with no better condition to be expected, carried her to the car and drove to the vet’s. She cried all the way, likely in pain. When the sedation started to work and we knew she was finally free of pain we all felt relief and were sure we had made the right decision.

It is not easy to write a eulogy for a dog like Gráinne because of the many, many impressions she has made on our lives and on our friends.

She was the most intelligent and also the smartest dog we ever knew and she was a wonderful partner. She was cuddly and demanding. She impressed other people with her personality. I loved to play the game with her “Who can outsmart the other one sooner or better?” and in 50% of the cases she won. At least! We’ll never forget how she stole my glove in the middle of winter and placed it down in the snow, probably singing
“Nanana na nana – come and get it!”. The story has been told many times how she stole three pieces of pork filet from the counter and when being asked, pretended it was not her, until I finally caught her when she stopped munching on it a teeny little second too late. When we were in Copenhagen with Tanya and Sarabeth, even on the end of a leash, Gráinne kept track of all of us by nosing our legs one after another.  If one of us left to go into a store, she wasn't happy until we were all back together again and she had done another nose count!

We have a whole table full of trophies and cups from the agility tournaments she won or was runner-up in.  She helped develop the new dog sport called “Rally Obedience” in northern Germany and was the first dog to reach the highest class. She taught Diarmuid the basics when he came as a puppy. And dozens of other stories are to be found in the previous 46 chapters of this website.

Thank you, Gráinne, you were simply great. You enriched our lives so very much. Have a good time on the other side of the rainbow bridge where you don’t need your old body with its failures. You will not be forgotten as long as we live.

Mummy and Daddy


                                                                                             The last picture



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