Last night was a long night for my husband and me. Our little 15 year old mixed terrier mutt, who’s been declining for the last year, awakened us shortly after midnight in great distress. She was obviously in pain. We got her and ourselves together and to the emergency vet on call, which happened to be our own familiar doctor. By the time we got there, she had calmed down somewhat and there was no clear diagnostic indication of what had happened to her, just a generalized anxiety that the vet said looked like post seizure behavior. We opted to have her treated with a dose of valium and wait to see what the morning brought.
I had an early morning appointment and left before she awoke. By 7:30 am my husband called to tell me that she was once again in significant distress and he was on the way back to the vet. Shortly thereafter he called to tell me she was gone……euthanized by our gentle veterinarian who had helped us extend her life and had given her, and us, wonderful care.
We’ve known since this time last year that her time was coming to an end. Her continued quality of life and our rising monthly vet bills were testimony to the vet’s care and our commitment. We feel that we did all we could and that we enjoyed extra months of time with her that we would not have had otherwise.
It’s hard to say goodbye to a sweet pet who’s shared many significant events in our lives over the last decade and a half. She was a comfort and a joy to us both. Today we have cried, prayed, remembered, and regretted her death together.
The thing that has been most noticeable is how the sound of our home has changed. Gone is the sound of her rabies tag clinking against the leash loop of her collar, the sound of her nails tapping on the hardwood floors, the sound of her barking at neighborhood people and pets strolling along our street, the sound of the pet door flapping with her excursions in and out, the sound of her rooting around in her bed putting the blanket in just the right wad for her to curl around, and the sound of her sighs as she settled in to sleep in her bed on the floor beside us after she quit being able to jump onto the bed. We’ll miss her company, her cocked head as she listened to us talk, her warm body snuggled against us on the sofa, her waiting for us at the front door as we drove into the driveway, and her patiently waiting to get the last bite of every sandwich.
As I recall the good times with Abby, I pause to consider who was taking care of whom?