Man’s Best Friend – by Michael Lagan


The weekend past was a rough one for my family.  My fiancée’s brother’s dog, Lola took ill on Saturday morning, frothing at the mouth and taking what can only be described as a tic in her face.  While I was working my fiancée took both her brother and Lola to the out-of-hours vets in Belfast to find out what was wrong with what had become a much-loved family pet: even though we lived in separate houses, she was never far away.  Over Saturday and Sunday in the out-of-hours vets in Belfast and our own vet here at home on Monday it was found that Lola had epilepsy brought on by God knows what.  The vets certainly didn’t know.  What we did know was that our Lola wasn’t ‘right’ when we got her home each time from the vet.  On Sunday night, after being released from the out-of-hours vet that morning we had to race her back to the vets in Belfast where it was touch and go whether she would survive or not, having been intubated to keep her airways open.

On Monday night she took a massive fit, leapt off the couch, hit the floor and raced around like a dog possessed banging her head on chairs, walls and doors, eventually falling to the floor frothing at the mouth and fitting.  After it was over she got up and walked about as if nothing had happened.  We made the decision, after a weekend of stress and misery and numerous tests for her, to have her put to sleep.  Even on the way up to the out-of-hours vets on Monday night, she was fitting.  We arrived with a pet we had all grown to love and left empty with a piece of our hearts left at the vets and tears in our eyes having said our goodbyes.

The reason I’m writing this is because I was surprised at just how much heartache and pain losing a pet causes, even if one tries to remember the good times as so many have suggested.  I’ve always been an animal lover and have a great affinity with dogs in particular, they just like me and I like them… it’s really that simple.  Our pets are that little shadow following you about the house or around the backyard.  They come racing to welcome you home at the door, always happy to see you and never have a bad word to say about you (or so we think).  My fiancée’s brother saw Lola as his companion, his wee friend who was always there when times got dark.  He suffered awfully from depression and she literally stopped that in its tracks the day he got Lola and ever since she’s been a much-loved and much-spoiled member of our family.

The call always went out – “Close the door in case Lola gets out” when we were calling in for one of our regular visits, but Lola never tried to get out because she loved seeing us and we loved seeing her and she always followed us into the living room.  She was the centre of attention, always stealing the limelight as French bulldogs regularly do.  She was the most loving, playful dog I’ve ever had the pleasure to know and all that disappeared in the space of 3 short days.  3 short days which seemed like an entire week.

The sense of loss felt from losing a pet is incredible, it’s something felt by those who truly grow to love their animals and pets and you can never replace that one pet.  Some people may say ‘it’s just a dog’ but it’s not just a dog, it’s a family member, a valued friend and at times an unknowing but willing confidant to people like my fiancée’s brother who relied on her attentiveness and charm to pull him out of depression time after time in ways that medication and counselling couldn’t.  Needless to say, he was distraught.

Value your pets, love them like family and treat them with respect because if there is a heaven, it’s certain our pets go there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog” – M.K Clinton

4 Responses to Man’s Best Friend – by Michael Lagan

  1. Michael Keating April 25, 2023 at 8:12 pm #

    hi Michael,i want to commiserate and concur with everything you say,our pets are our family not just animals,my best buddy rex is 14yrs old and was diagnosed a month ago with tumors,he is on anti inflamatories and pain free so far,the best part is he dosent know he has them,im devestated over it,as and when his condition worsens i will do the right thing,until then i will pet and spoil him,he has been with me through dark days and dark times,i love him to bits as does my partner,thanks for the article ☘

  2. Michael April 26, 2023 at 3:07 pm #

    It’s hard mate but one of the responsibilities of having a pet is to do the right thing by them, not you. The hardest part was watching her look back at me as she slipped over to sleep.

  3. Brian Finnegan April 27, 2023 at 5:37 pm #

    I understand this Michael. I’ve had to do this more than once. The last time we swore we would never own another dog.
    We’ve had Rosie the border collie seven months now and don’t regret a minute of it. A dog can be life enhancing.

  4. SmegHead April 28, 2023 at 10:04 pm #

    This is sentimental codswallop. These parasite ridden diseased mutant wolves have invaded every facet of human society causing death, environmental destruction, disease, mauling children to death and adults yet when questioned everyone is silent.

    The dog lobby is very powerful and constantly projects its stranglehold of pets that complete the “family unit” in all kinds of media.

    The sooner we cull these turd eaters the better.

    I’m sorry for your loss as a human being and can empathise but a turd eater like that cannot show love or other higher human emotions like we can. Anything else’s that you perceive it can is mental illness on your part.

    People killed every day by these predators as society as been mollycoddling these vicious predators as “members of the family” feck that.

    Concentrate on the human race instead of lining the pockets of vets, pet food companies and other associated industries.

    All the best 🙂