We arrived in September 2001 in Dubai with our 2 daughters Bo, 3 years and Nova, 4 months old. Having worked full time for many years as a Vet I however missed having pets around me, so once the house and children were settled we looked for a dog and found our lovely, chocolate Labrador puppy, whom we named Dutch. Dutch turned out to be just as much of a hand full as both my daughters and being a Vet does not automatically make you a dog trainer, nor does it qualify you to be a mum. Joost & I taught all 3 of them to swim, Dutch taught Nova to stand steady as he kept walking her over to ensure she did not slowly become higher in hierarchy. Eventually whenever he came near she braced herself and pushed him over. I don’t know what I thought and if I could do it again I would never have 2 young kids and a puppy at the same time again! We however found our way, walked on the beach, went to the desert and had fun. Our Family was now 5 stong. Soon our help saved a box of kittens and Dutch became their mummy and although we re-homed 3 of them, 1 stayed with us, Joepie-de-Poepie a beautiful Ginger kitten and Dutch became strongly attached and laid on the same pillow if they were not being dressed up and carried around by our daughters. Dutch was dressed up as a butterfly and stood calm next to Bo waiting for his part in the dance show, or he was a willing “patient” for when mum “the Vet” talked to the kids at nursery school about animal care and all were allowed to listen to Dutch his heart. He welcomed visitors and friends to our home with great enthusiasm and couldn’t be happier if they stayed for a holiday as that meant that the kitchen door would be left open, giving him access to food left on the kitchen table or to his most favorite, our dustbin!
By now I had started Al Barsha Veterinary Clinic and we had adopted another dog, Grettl, a wire haired dachshund, which the person she was brought in for did not want anymore. Dutch, Grettl and Joepie formed a great bond and between the 3 of them have raised many kittens, cleaning and caressing for them when ever we needed them. I can still hear myself warn my clients about plastic, stealing food on the street, chocolates, grapes and what else is bad for dogs in general. Dutch never cared about any of my lectures and helped himself, and the other pets in our family, regularly to all the good stuff he was not supposed to have. So we had to check his stool on regular basis, had to clean up his vomit and had to protect him against himself.
Then there was this moment when Atlantis was being opened, my husband came home from the office and called me, as I was still in the clinic. Dutch looks funny and has a big belly it seems. I said I would be home in 10 minutes and would check him over. Dutch had eaten over 3 kg of dog food as someone had left the door open and he had taken the lid of the food bin himself and helped himself. Although I knew that Labradors do not have a stop and never feel full and can always look at you as if they have never had any food, I was still surprised to find out how much he had eaten. Unfortunately his breathing became so labored and his belly so extended and X-rays showed the biggest stomach I had ever seen, I therefore had to decide to open him up and remove all the food from his stomach and then close him again. The surgery went well and all ABVC staff showed their enormous support. Dutch and I slept in the clinic and we almost lost him as he crashed upon recovery, fortunately we pulled him through. It did not mean Dutch had learned anything but by now our family was even more alert on where Dutch was in our house. We however had missed the wonderful fireworks display at the Atlantis hotel.
Throughout the years Dutch developed Cataract (of course he is a Labrador) and when the ophthalmologist was visiting Dutch’s eyes were checked. He did not only have cataract but also had retina atrophy and therefore cataract surgery would not help his vision improve. His eyes became whiter every year and he was absolutely blind. Although we did not move our furnishing he kept banging his head and carefully would place one foot in front of the other finding his way around the house and the garden. He still went for regular walks and although not a youngster anymore was still an active part of our family. A new couch arrived and Dutch claimed his place on the couch where he spend the last 2,5 years of his life. Dutch has reached the remarkable age of 14,5 years when we unfortunately had to let him go just before Christmas last year. It took us over a week to dare to sit on his part of the couch and still we regularly check if the kitchen is closed and the garage door as well. We miss him every day, he has been a given part of our family and a wonderful dog who has been through lots with us,
Dream Well Dutch, trust they have chocolate in Heaven