Chapter 26 Our Bichon Family

The journey of amazing Muntz Bichon Puppies.

One hot summer’s day when we lived in Dunedin, our Friend Kathleen Macdonald came to visit and asked if she brings the puppies inside – she had in her car.  Bonita was home that day and I said … puppies…. what puppies….  and in came two tiny Bichon Puppies.  When she left .. she left with one!!    Bonita and I talked Neville into adding to the family! We named him Jasper.

We had such special times together with Jasper and he travelled all over the country with us, where ever we went so did he!  Jasper had a wonderful nature, so placid and made friends with everyone.

In 2006, another friend contacted us asking if we would take a little Bichon Female Puppy they had.  They had a young child and the puppy was not getting the care it needed.  We invited him to bring her to visit and once again, left and we had another puppy!!   We called her Bella.

We decided to let her have one litter of puppies (what a learning experience that was!)   Jasper stayed close to her all during her pregnancy.

When Bella was having her puppies, Jasper just waited patiently beside her bed like he was the dad (which he wasn’t) Jasper helped Bella care for the puppies, so for a short period of time, we had 6 puppies, Jasper and Bella – what fun!!

Bella gave birth to 6 puppies in 2009, 3 boys and 3 girls.  We had decided to keep one of the puppies – so hard to choose, so Neville said “the first one to climb out of the pen that is the one! ”  So Cindy became a permanent member of the family.

Jasper had both Bella and Cindy as mates until he passed in 2010 with kidney issues.

We are now very sad to have now lost both of our beautiful female puppies in the space of 3 months.

Cindy aged 13 years has been ill for about 18 months.  She suddenly started to go deaf and followed by going blind with a complaint called Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) a condition that causes rapid and irreversible blindness.  She managed to adjust to her new reality and eventually found her way around the house and outside as long as we did not move anything.

When she went deaf and blind she would not walk anymore even on the lead, except for going outside and straight back in.

Cindy was Neville’s walking companion.  She could walk for hours with him and come in the gate still running.

So we came up with the idea of getting a mountain buggy so Neville could take them both for walks. Bella had slowed down and wasn’t that keen on walking any great distances so was also very happy to go for a ride.

They both loved the buggy rides out in the country fresh air and would sit up and enjoy every moment of the outing, Neville was stopped by lots of people fascinated by two beautiful Bichon Puppies out for a buggy ride, so lots of chats along the way.

Then she got a bad infection,  which resulted in having an operation and the infection affected her Kidneys.    We had been caring for her all this time, with lots of visits to the wonderful people Kate and the Team at North Canterbury Vets.  Hydration every day taking her back and forth for drips and then Neville feeding her through a tube in her neck a full-time job.  Then she objected to this and we managed to get her to eat and drink on her own.

We were feeling upbeat about this after all we had been through with her in the past 18 months.

Then she went downhill again and had kidney failure.  She had an uncomfortable night and then started crying loudly and then howling, she was in such pain, so we took her to the vet in the morning to put her to sleep.  That was on the 21 May 2022.  Such a loss of such a sweet little girl, we feel her loss every day.

Bella (the mother) was so lost without her, in fact, her personality changed somewhat and she became more cuddly, wouldn’t let me out of her sight and had anxiety issues.

We had always kept up with getting their blood checked from time to time and Bella’s blood showed sight problems with her Kidney’s also, she had days of vomiting so straight to the vet, bloods etc to find her kidneys were failing also.  So back to doing drop-offs and pickups to be hydrated daily we did this for 4 days and then they decided to put a tube in her neck as well so we could feed and medicate her at home.

This only lasted for 2 days, when Neville was feeding her she had a massive vomit, after that, all calmed down and we put her back in her bed, she had been having lots of little twitches over the past few days.  Then after a couple of hours, she had a violent seizure, which went on for quite some time, we held her until it stopped.  Then just rugged her up and cuddled her then she started to cry, then that turned to massive howls – oh my goodness she was obviously in so much pain.  As it was Sunday night the vets weren’t open.  Our Special Vet, Kate – phoned the Rangoria Vet Hospital to say we were on the way.  When we got there they gave her an injection to calm her and give us some time with her before putting her to sleep on the 21 May 2022.

We rugged her up and took her straight away to “Give me Wings” to be cremated.  Robb, the owner had cremated Cindy 3 months previously – he has a special antique van where he places the pet complete with flowers and treats the whole sad situation with the most caring and respect.

Robb had hand-made a wooden casket for Cindy, so we asked him if he could put Bella in the same Casket, which he did so they are together again.

They have pride of place on the sideboard, along with Jasper our boy Bichon who passed in 2010, who also got very ill at the end he was 14 years.

After this painful experience, one thing we are sure of – having two Puppies to keep each other company is an excellent idea. They bring so much joy into your life and we know they had an awesome home with so much love with us.

SCROLL DOWN FOR CHAPTER 27 more puppies…

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