Elaine Potter from Beacon Drive in Selsey, is a former dog breeder and owns nine Maltese dogs. Her eldest dog, Phoebe aged 14, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in March this year, and the dog's health continued to decline.
Elaine said: ‘She had a cancerous lump and she was having trouble breathing when lying down and was sleeping all the time.'
With the tumour getting bigger and bigger, Elaine had spent some time considering having the dog euthanized. With Monday's 'beautiful weather' Elaine decided the day had presented itself.
In the morning, after the dog got out of the bath, the pair watched the London Armistice Day memorial from bed which brought Elaine to tears. Afterwards, they enjoyed a stroll along West Wittering beach.
‘She would usually run around but this time she just walked,’ Elaine said. Then Elaine decided she wanted to give Phoebe a 'really nice final meal'.
‘I just thought it was fitting because her stomach was so bloated. I thought about a rotisserie chicken but then thought “no, she deserves more”.’
Phoebe's final feast would be a tender filet mignon, rare, cut lovingly into small pieces. The venue of choice was the fine dining country pub the Earl of March in Lavant Road, Chichester.
‘I've been to the Earl of March before and they are absolutely fabulous so I went in and told them what was happening. They made me so welcome and they didn't stop cuddling her.’
They sat at a low table by the fire place and the steak was eaten out of a silver dish.
Elaine added: ‘I didn't want her eating off the floor like a dog — she was my baby.’
With the emotional day before her, Elaine misplaced her purse but promised staff she would return to pay for the meal but staff made the decision to cover the cost instead.
‘To have that, I couldn't believe it. It was so emotional.
‘They took so much care and cuddles and they took pictures of us. I just can't thank them enough.’
She said the dog 'absolutely loved it', but then came the inescapable next step: Taking Phoebe to the vet to euthanized.
Elaine described the 'woeful walk' to the car knowing her dog would be put down: "It was the slowest drive of my life."
The dog was cremated this morning (Wednesday November 13) and will join another dog in a handmade urn. The same will happen to the other nine, Coco, Rosie, Jack, Lily, Darcey, Rex, Sophie, Pucci and Lucie and they will all be buried alongside Elaine.
Even more can be done to remember the cute companion. Now Phoebe has been cremated, Elaine and her youngest son Luke will have the ashes put into ink and tattooed onto their backs in the shape of the dog's paw.