Mister Djinn as has been established had always been a pretty hardy animal Rarely sick and always full-on.
However, one day and of course it was a Friday the Muslim weekend I woke up and couldnt find him I called and called, and called
Eventually, I discovered him in the garden looking very down and hiding behind a bush, half dug into the flower-bed
He was barely moving only his eyes looked at me.
I didnt know what was wrong but dragged him out of the dirt and gave him a bowl of milk.
He drank and then, looking very sheepish, headed back outside with his tail between his legs.
He again headed for a different bush and lay back down in the dirt.
This was worrying: I had never seen thisbehaviour.
So I called a friend who had had lots of dogs and asked her what she thought.
She told me to monitor him for an hour and if he didnt get better to give her a ring back.
The next sixty-odd minutes I kept going out and looking at him whilst calling him over: Mister Djinn didnt move.
So I called Radwa back and told her there was no change.
She had, during that time, phoned the emergency number of my usual vet and by lucky happenstance the vet on duty that day was a Polish Doctor who immediately suspected what the problem might be: some kind of parasite.
I took Mister Djinnin straight away.
Blood tests followed and these confirmed the presence of a particularly nasty and pernicious parasite that had entered his blood and was sapping his vitality.
Not every medicine is available in the UAE: again, for the same cultural reasons that place animals on a very much lower scale ofconcernthan any human, only certain drugs could be imported legally.
By the same happy chance, this Dr. had brought some of the specific anti-parasitical medicine into the country with him when he came back from vacation and gave it astreatmentto Mister Djinn
I left him overnight with the Doctor who stayed in the clinic to monitor his progress.
By midday the next day, I returned to see what was happening and Mister Djinn was ready to leave with me
I felt so happily relieved and grateful to the European training of this Doctor whose experience and love of animals had allowed him to see beyond the local limitations of the obvious.
Mister Djinnsfavouritedish was chicken.
However, he wasnt fed this all the time.
What we would do was to prepare some rice with carrots and then mix into that some canned food.
This would be topped-off by more than a few chicken bits sauced by a broth made from the boiled-up bones of the last bird to have been consumed.
Towards the end during his last week or so all that Mister Djinn would eat would be the chicken bits and the broth: he had an amazing facility to separate out the rice and the canned meat!
There were always doggie biscuits available for when he became a little hungry and needed a snack.
However, there must be something different about French dog biscuits because in his last year whilst in France and Monaco after eating the locally produced biscuits, he would start licking his front paws and the smell of the saliva was rancid.
Mister Djinn had many baths during his last year..!
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL DOG...
The first big flight andoverseastrip to a new life in a new environment... EMIRATES Airlines looked after Mister Djinn really well..
However, some sleight-of-hand needed to be undertaken as from some time before, many airlines were refusing to carry some breeds of dogs: namely those which were considered "Dangerous" such asPitBullsand various Mastiffs as well as other dogs which had "compressed" noses such as French Bulldogs and even Boxers.
Apparently, there had been some cases of animals dying due to "lack of oxygen" caused by their compressed nasal passages.
Anyway, it didn't prove TOO much of an issue for Mister Djinn as I had made sure he was a declared BOXER/LABRADOR cross (see above) and so even though there were a few scary moments when being checked-over by the Airport Vet for EMIRATES, as I had engaged a very reputable Agent, he went through without too many other questions being asked.
In all including the 14-hour flight from Dubai to Dallas Mister Djinn spent close on 20 hours from entering his cage to finally being able to leave it in Dallas and take the most massive "dump": poor old stick he really needed to, despite having been fed very little prior to the trip and simply hadn't wanted to dirty his travel box...
Eventually, Mister Djinn actually grew to love his travel Box so much that he would go and lie in it of his own volition: a kind-of Comfort Space, I presume
WELCOME TO AMERICA!
Mister Djinn took to the States like a duck to water.
Especially in Austin, the capital city of Texas, which is a VERY dog-friendly place.
So unlike the Emirates: here everyone made a fuss of him especially when he was wearing his Rebel Scarf! (Though whentravellingNorth of the Mason-Dixon line, I usually changed this to a Federal Stars Bars.
People can be funny over there about such things and are often led to attribute the wrong intentions or misinterpret.
Its simply that from my perspective, Mister Djinns independence of character was DEFINITELY more Southern than Federal
Lets face it, Mister Djinn was an unusualcolourfor a PitBull Caf Crme and apart from that he was also a very handsome animal: this made him naturally popular .
Whenever I took him to any of the cafs or restaurants along South Congress (Austin) on a weekend such as Jos Caf, or La Perlas outside Terrace there would automatically be a bowl of water brought out and a general fuss made of him with a genuine acceptance of his presence.
There would even sometimes be pictures of him on the La Perla Wall of Doggie fame
Or people stopping us in the street to either say Hello or to take a pic.
At Jos Caf, an open-air street-side affair much frequented by visitors to the City, we would spend a good couple of hours almost every day: just sitting at the communal tables and talking to other people and dogs.
There was rarely any aggro from either People were just so generically friendly.
Jos always had a container filled with Doggie Biscuits that could be dispensed to the visiting pets by their clients: so it really was an outing for everyone.
It was such a relief to be in places where Dogs are appreciated as opposed to the compressed and tolerated estate felt when in the UAE where the only real freedom a dog could have was within the home.
Being able to actually walk ones dog along ANY street and even into some shops or shopping malls, was SUCH a freedom and I started taking Mister Djinn with me almost everywhere I could: even sometimes sitting him in a shopping cart when going to places like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target, or Frys Electronics Just to save his legs.
Because, by now, he was starting to limp quite seriously.
On these trips, always curious, he had many admirers amongst the people who stopped totalk-toand pat him.
Nevertheless, the USA saw the first signs of his rapidly developing arthritis that necessitated the administration of a strong medicine Carprophen which, whilst improving the quality of life, is also known to eventually affect the liver, kidneys, or other organs.
So he was having this pill every day along with Glucosamine / Chondroitin and Atlantic Krill Oil, which is heavy in Omega 3, 6 and 9 and really helps lubricate the joints
Some days were better than others and he was able to walk a good 250metres
OnothersI sometimes had to carry him the last 100 or so meters as he was bushed.
He never complained but always valiantly tried to keep up. I knew he was extenuated when he simply stopped and so was asking to be carried.
It hurt me to see him affected in this way.
Other than that, we had a routine: almost every day I would go swimming at the geo-thermally heated Pool in Stacy Park whilst Mister Djinn stayed happily in the car, either asleep or checking-out the to-ing andfro-ingall around his space.
Then, around 40 mins later, I would take him for a walk in the park where he would do his business which, naturally, had to be collected in a Doggie Bag and disposed-of: most Austinites are very clean and poop-conscious in that way though as with everywhere, there are always those who think that their animals faeces should be collected by someone other than themselves
Then we would go back to the apartment and he would have his dinner whilst I worked.
Finally a last, late-night outing down to the garden at the end of the building for a goodnight business and he would sleep through to 11.00 the next day
Age really started to catch up with him whilst in America
The "ACROSS and AROUND THE USA" CAR TRIP...
Car trip around the USA in the Dodge Charger fromendof May to end of July 2013...
The "GWS" TheGreat White Shark an incomparable, really spunky "Road-Eater": 5.7litresof HMMI raw power which is I guess why a lot of theRoad Fuzz use them...
A heartfelt "Thank you Jesus" for having inspired me to buy a $600 Radar Detector: in that car it was just SO easy to reach even a few miles-an-hour above the speed limit that I reckoned I had saved about $2,500+ in speeding fines by the Detector's little chirpings fore-warning me of various Bogie's speed-traps...
Mister Djinn LOVED the sheer comfort and smoothness of that particular chariot...
Just the back roads with some welcome stops visiting with different friends various points along the way...
... Just over 9800 miles all-in-all and some magnificent scenery.
The sheer BEAUTY of some parts to be experienced in the USA is withoutdescription...
Lake Powell, the Grand Teton Trail, and the Grand Canyon are just some of the amazing landscapes to be seen...
What an amazing, visually-rich country...
Summing-up such a trip with just a few images is impossible...
The visual wealth of the 'States is simply mind-blowing...
There's something about Texas that I really like: probably the no-BS, no PC-incorrect attitude and their deep-rooted sense of independence coupled to a solid "WILL do" attitude...
... And the Capitol Building in Austin richly represents this pride asepitomisedby Davy Crockett, the Alamo and General Houston's victory over Santa Anna at the Battle ofJacinte.
As an impassioned helicopter pilot, I nevertheless also love flying in small aircraft and so did Mister Djinn...
Every second of his time aboard a friend's small plane for a 1 hr flight over LA in California, Mister Djinn never stopped looking out of the window and took it all in as if he was a born to it.
He never rode with me in a Helicopter, however...
BACK TO EUROPE...
Whilst the Houston-end handling of the pets by the Air France agents was typically efficient in that all-inclusive American way, I can't say the same for our arrival in Paris CDG.
Charles De Gaulle Airport was just so user-unfriendly for handling pets...
However, one positive thing about that is that the Airport Vet was so lazy that he didn't even LOOK at Mister Djinn in hisTravelBox and so there was never any chance that he might have been refused entry
France doesn't likePitBullseither and castrates any male dogs who come in...
CDG to MONACO and Mister Djinn's partially final Home...
1000kmsof Motorways, crabby little cars, lots of angry and frustrated "French" traffic and a fantastic overnight stay half-way down the "Hexagon".
We both needed the quiet and rest away from the scatter-brained angst of Motorway drivers...
Independent Principality within the borders of France. 5.5 Kms long x 700 m wide at its widest
35,000 inhabitants all of whom are proud of their Prince and our independence.
Rich in architectural detail. as well as in anecdotes all relating mostly to wealth and luxury, the country has definitely developed its own character within the tiny spread of its estate.
... But at least we could go up to the mountains around Sospel at the weekends and enjoy the fresherair justthat little bit higher-up...
Mister Djinn loved the freedom of the 5000 sqmetresin which he could freely roam...
Although he also enjoyed the titbits that my Mum would continuously feed him whenever he was in Monaco too...!
The oldmediaevalcity of Sospel with its Cathedral and its castle-protected staging points for the Salt Road
The town has always been an important through-way fortravellerspassing along the hinterlands of France to Italy.
In summer, a riot of flowers over-bloom the river Bvera alive with the croak of frogs whilst visitors enjoy the outside tables of cafs along its banks.
When Spring comes to the mountains, its lush demonstration of vitality andcolouris resplendent with a rich palette of tones.
Mister Djinn spent his last days with the scents of burgeoning life within his nostrils and the power of new growth all around his fading strength.
WINTER IN THE MOUNTAINS
Autumn led quickly into winter though the sun still had some warmth right through to November and we would both sit out on the terrace enjoying the short heat of the fading days.
When Winter itself arrived, the darkness of the nights was intense yet allowed for the brilliance of the stars to twinkle within the crystal clarity of a clear sky.
At our end of the village and valley, there were few lights and at night, the quiet of Nature was both serene and restful.
There was a bit of snow but mainly on the surrounding peaks that then glistened like crystal in the bright winter sunlight. In the evenings, the white would turn to a subtle pink as the sunset and the cold rapidly entered our bones.
After dark, It kept us inside and snug within the thick walls of our home a one-time farmhouse.
Outside, the dead starkness of the ghost-fingered trees spare and spindly in their forlorn nakedness no longer hid the Train that every few hours would snake its way through the mountains from Nice to Breil, on the Italian border: unlike in summer, when a curtain of thick foliage isolated the property in its privacy from our few neighbours
Personally, I always find the stark skeletons of these denuded trees to be a touch depressive: the absolute absence of any visible life with everything in hibernation or simply dead makes me want to just sleep the winter away like a bear.
Visits back-and-forth to Monaco ensued whilst we both waited for the first signs of Spring.
I arrived back literally in time to see him through his last short week and it was almost as if he had been waiting for me...
I had needed to travel to the USA in Mid-March on an assignment and would be back on the10thApril.
It had been arranged that Mister Djinn who was well but visibly aging would spend the time with his friends in the mountains, who were expecting him.
The question of how long he would continue to be with us was always at the back of our minds
I knew it was going to be either this year or very soon after that when I would have to accept that his life was coming to a close.
It would be a balance between his being able to walk and function and the time when he simply was too old to wish for any kind of continuance.
On an intellectual level, I had no illusions as to this eventual moment that I knew would have to be faced: on an emotional plane, I simply refused to imagine the day when Mister Djinn would no longer be at my side.
We all knew that 15.5 is three-and-a-half years more than the average Use-by Date for the breed: plus Mister Djinn was now walking with greater and greater difficulty.
However, other than this, his appetite was strong, his eyes sharp, his interest in everything going on around as bright as ever and he seemed at peace in the openness of the countryside.
So off I went sure that he was in good hands.
On arrival back in Paris, I inserted my local SIM and immediately had three messages to say that Mister Djinn had been very, very sick
He had been to the Emergency Vet Clinic because he was peeing blood and had an echo-graph that showed some not very good things happening around his spleen, the prostateandkidneys.
One message simplysaidCome back soon: Djinn is looking for you
This more than any of the others had me in a panic and I hastened back to the South of France as quickly as I could.
The poor old fellow: when he was brought back to me, he was so THIN..!
And whilst he wagged his tail in a desultory manner, it was obvious he was in pain and really NOT well.
He was on a homeopathic mixture of arsenic which supposedly would allow the bad blood to flow and painkillers.
However, over the next few days, I saw no progress
I had moved my mattress down to the lounge and placed a plastic sheet under the cover on my bed that had been set aside especially for him.
His incontinence when asleep or his otherwise need to pee every 20 minutes when awake, and the ensuing stale smell of bloodiedurine,was difficult to deal with.
Every time he tried in a half squat he would piss blood.
Or try to.
Sometimes it was a little.
... And rarely enough as he would need to try again very shortly thereafter.
I kept washing this evil brown liquid off from his legs and also the terrace just outside the French Windows where he would stagger to make hisattempsat relieving himself.
If he was able, herefused to pee inside: he always tried to make it to the garden.
His last days were really a Calvary for him and I watched him gradually begin to fade.
The light wasslowly fading from his eyes and I could see as much as sense a deep lassitude eat-away at his otherwise unstoppable Spirit.
Hewould spend the days in the sunshine often lying in the grass: but sometimes near, or under a bush like when he hadbeen riddled with parasites in Dubai.
So I knew he was not well: his deeper Soul and Inner Beingwasstarting to reconnect with the Earth.
There was such sadness and almost like an "apology" in his eyes when our looks would connect...
... And then it was his End...