One week ago today, our special friend Bergie passed away. I say ‘our’ because Bergie was special to Izzy and any dog that captured her heart would have always been special.
Bergie and Izzy were adopted from Greyhounds as Pets around the same time and we often met at greyhound walks.
Izzy loved the water at the beach; Bergie didn’t at first. He would bark at her whenever she played in the waves. Eventually, though, Bergie came to enjoy his beach walks and didn’t mind getting wet. I’d like to think that Izzy taught him the joy of the beach, since the beach was her happy place.
Bergie was a regular at Izzy’s birthday party each year, including the year that we hired the Dog Swim Spa and invited her friends to come for a swim. He enjoyed the car ride out of town for that one, too.
Bergie even came along and had a swim session with Izzy once, where they rugged up afterwards and enjoyed the ride home together.
Bergie lived on the east side of town, within walking distance of some of the ‘red zone’ which is land that was cleared after the earthquakes and no one is allowed to re-build there. It’s a great place for dogs, though. Bergie would meet Izzy at his special park for off-lead exercise. On one day in particular, he showed off for her by digging her a hole.
In 2018, Bergie strutted the catwalk at our Greyt Fashions fundraiser, looking handsome in his Dr Seuss collar and other outfits, too.
As with Izzy, age and arthritis started to catch up with him. Unlike a lot of his black greyhound friends, though, Bergie hardly had any grey hairs right up to the time that he passed. He was a very handsome boy, as seen in this photo in February of this year, relaxing after his massage (this photo is my favourite):
What is it about the turning 12 and hoping your dog will make 13? Bergie was a year younger than Izzy and we celebrated his 12th birthday in early May. Looking back on it, though, he was withdrawn and didn’t engage much. By early June, he was in a lot of pain which the vet initially diagnosed as severe arthritic pain; a week later and with an x-ray, we had the news that it was the dreaded osteosarcoma and that his shoulder had been broken.
I gave Bergie his last massage on Saturday, 11th June. He was waiting for his Mum to arrive back from overseas that night so she could be there when it was his time to fly. It was a privilege to be able to make him more comfortable and, as I kissed him on his cheek, I told him to say hello to Izzy for me.
Rest in peace, Bergie. Another special dog that will not be forgotten.
Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand