The dog’s owner ignored the veterinarians’ recommendations to put the dog down three times; now the canine is 18 years old and “thriving”

A dog owner who ignored vets’ recommendations to euthanize her beloved pet three times for 18 years, who helped her cope with the death of her brother, said her canine friend is “thriving” now.

Emma-Jane Taylor, 50, a lifestyle business manager from Henley, Oxfordshire, is best friends with her West Highland terrier, Charlie, who helped her cope with the loss of her 57-year-old brother. years when he died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage.

After the vets suggested Charlie would be better put down due to his old age, even though he wasn’t in any pain, Emma decided to give her pet “the benefit of the doubt” and see if he got better with time, which she did. . .

A few years later, Charlie received another death sentence after suffering a stroke, but to the surprise of Emma and the vets, he was suddenly back to his usual cheerful self.

A year later, Charlie contracted a disease that the vets again thought could be the death of her.


Emma says Charlie is still a ‘bubbly and always happy’ dog and can’t believe how lucky she is to have her (PA Real Life/Collect)

Charlie is now happy and healthy, but needs extra care when he walks, so Emma carries her pet in a carrier on her chest, similar to one for a baby.

Since Emma got Charlie in 2005, the pair have been the best of friends and have barely parted; when Charlie was a puppy, Emma would even take him paddle boarding.

The “bright and always happy” canine has always been “strong, both mentally and physically,” according to Emma, ​​and in 2020 Charlie proved it.

Three years ago, Emma took Charlie to the vet because he had bladder problems, but to Emma’s chagrin, the vet suggested it might be time to put her beloved dog to sleep.

She explained: “She gets to the vets, and they see an old dog, 15 years old, and they said they think the kindest thing to do is see where she is with her life and put her to sleep.

Charlie in Emma's sling

Emma says that when it’s time for Charlie to leave her, she’ll know and respect it (PA Real Life/Collect)

“My partner was with me at the time and of course I started crying.”

The vet recommended that Charlie undergo a series of scans, as a dog her age could be suffering from ailments or a life-threatening illness.

But, Emma didn’t want Charlie to have any scans, so she suggested that the vets test his urine.

She said: “The vet tested the sample and it was just a urine infection so we came out on antibiotics.

“Thank God I listened to my gut because it could have been a totally different story.”

Charlie in Emma's sling

Emma’s dog Charlie needs a little extra help walking so Emma carries her in a sling (PA Real Life/Collect)

Determined that Charlie had more life left, Emma decided to wait and see if Charlie got better before undergoing further scans, as the vet suggested.

She said: “We started doing just five mile walks with Charlie, and she was fine, she was back to normal pretty quickly.”

But, out of the blue, in 2021, Charlie had a stroke one morning in Emma’s kitchen.

She said: “He started walking towards the kitchen cabinets and it didn’t look good.

“So I went in and talked to her, and she just didn’t seem to be listening.

Charlie and Emma rowing

Emma and Charlie are the best of friends, and the couple would always go rowing together (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I was walking in circles; the only way she could describe it would be that she seemed drunk.

“I held her, and she seemed shaky, and then she was sick.

“It felt like his eyes were spinning in his head even though they weren’t. I felt that she had an out of body experience.

“When my vet arrived, we went out into the garden and she was falling on one side.”

Miraculously, after the vet gave Charlie a shot, she was almost instantly better and better than ever, with more pep in her step.

charlie and emma

Charlie’s company helped Emma cope with the loss of her brother (PA Real Life/Collect)

Emma said: “It was like some kind of magic. That afternoon, the vet came back to see her after saying it might be the end of her, and she ran up to him wagging her tail. We both couldn’t believe it.”

To Emma’s amazement, Charlie continued like this for over a year after being told he was near the end of his life twice.

In 2022, Charlie gradually began to deteriorate and had a stomach virus, and the vet once again suggested that he be put to sleep.

She said: “They suggested that we are probably at the end now.

“But there was no official diagnosis, and it just doesn’t feel right. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.


Emma’s dog Charlie is alive and thriving after vets thought it would be best to put her down three times (PA Real Life/Collect)

“So I took him off his medication and gave him chicken, rice and white fish for 48 hours.

“He couldn’t move, but he wasn’t in pain.

“I tested her again on her meds, and she’s still alive today.”

At the same time Charlie was ill, Emma’s brother Nick Brown, 57, unexpectedly suffered a brain hemorrhage and passed away in September 2022.

She said: “There was a short window where we traveled to see and support my brother, and Charlie was not feeling well.

charlie and emma

Emma’s dog Charlie has been given a death sentence three times by vets but is still here today (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I just told Charlie, please don’t die now, as long as you can go and be with my brother, I need you.

“I am very spiritual and I really like to believe in the good energy that surrounds us.

“Suddenly, he got up as if to show that we needed each other and he got better.”

Charlie helped Emma with her brother’s death, and the dog gave Emma more love and attention, almost as if it could sense her anguish.

She said: “I feel so grateful that we have her, and she has helped me immensely.”

Emma is still determined to give Charlie the longest and happiest life possible, and since her legs are weak now, she carries her in a sling when she goes for walks.

She said: “We’ll go out for an hour, and then at that hour, I’ll have her walk for about three or four minutes; she mentally wants to do it.

“This sling meant we could be freer about where we went and what we did.

“Charlie is happy and healthy, though, and he’s not in pain.

“All things considered, she is thriving.”

charlie and emma

After Charlie suffered a stroke, he got better almost instantly and Emma was overjoyed (PA Real Life/Collect)

Looking ahead, Emma said: “When the time comes for Charlie to leave me, I will know.

“I will respect that and, while sad, I feel like this time in recent years has allowed me to say goodbye.

“We can say that we gave him the longest and happiest life possible.

“I will never regret that.”

Animal welfare charity Blue Cross advice recommends that owners who are concerned about their dog’s health and are considering euthanasia should consult their veterinarian for advice.

“Talk to your vet and your family and friends,” recommends the charity.

“You and your family know your dog better than anyone, so try to make a reasoned judgment about his quality of life. His vet will help you with this and will often make a recommendation.”

Owners facing the loss of a pet can contact Blue Cross on 0800 096 6606

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