Mine is the easy nightmare. I had got to the airport, and killed time in departures. As the aircraft took off, I was waiting for a message indicating whether Nero had survived emergency surgery.
We had adopted Nero at 12 weeks old, and shared our lives with him for 11 years.
I lost signal before a message came.
That felt a long, long flight.
On landing, I learned that he had survived, but was on the critical list, kept in a medical coma.
Once home, Margaret relived her terrifying day. It was surreal. Hers was the real nightmare, one that she still relives regularly. Our dog lay dying in a country that suddenly felt entirely alien. Snatched from Margaret’s arms by a huge, snarling dog, at least part Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The attack was prolonged and ferocious. It had bitten and shaken Nero multiple times.
The vet had operated to rescue his ruptured intestine. He told us to expect the worst. Day by day, Nero improved. The operation had been a success, and a powerful cocktail of antibiotics kept infection at bay. I spoke about it on 1857.
Then, things got worse. The antibiotics were, in fact, masking the progress of a voracious infection that was eating Nero up. There are photos, but ones that I cannot bring myself to post here.
A second emergency operation was undertaken. Large chunks of infected flesh were cut away. Antibiotics were changed – it was decided that a simple protocol would be used – preventing any masking. Again, our boy was on the critical list. Again, each morning, he would stagger to his feet and wag his tail at the sound of our voices. The team at the vets marvelled at his strength and spirit.
Nevertheless, the infection was unstoppable. Nero was being consumed bit by bit.
On the tenth day after the attack, the team rolled the dice one last time. More flesh was going to be removed and an attempt made to graft muscle and flesh tissue around the dog. Nobody could give up while Nero fought on.
However – the grafts proved impossible. It was clear to the vet that Nero could not survive. So, the decision was made not to wake him from this third operation and he slipped away an hour later.
We had been crying for ten days, and we’re still crying now. Crying with grief. Crying with fury. A ten day nightmare.
“#Livingthedream” had become one of the worst times of our lives.