My dog peed on the carpet three times today. He pants heavily while standing. It may be heart failure. Probably is. His breath is stinky. He is almost deaf. He stands at the top of our deck stairs when it's time to go out and takes forever talking himself into making the four step trek down. His legs buckle underneath him if he stands too long.
But, even with all of that. I still love him. I am trying really hard not to because I am trying to separate myself. So it won't hurt so bad when it's time to put him to sleep. I just can't seem to do it. I know it's time, but I just can't.
It would be easy for me to tell my husband to take him. Even my friend said she would do it for me. But he is my dog and he trusts me. It's is my responsibility. It is my honor and duty to give him love and comfort in his last moments. Even if it is a terrible thing. I keep hoping I will come home one day and he will be gone so I don't have to make the choice. I have been waiting for six months.
How am I supposed to take him on his last walk?
How am I supposed to decide which meal is his last?
How am I supposed to drive to the vet?
He is old. He is 16. He is a shepherd-collie mix. He has been with me for my infertility, my bed rest, my two new 6 pound babies, my heart failure, Rocco's diabetes. He has been with me duing the loss of my dad and the breast cancer with my now healthy (Thank God!) sister. He has seen me with greasy hair, ripped pjs, unbrushed teeth, Rocco's blood on me and Zeke's blood on me. He never cared. He has accepted me unconditionally. When I cried, he laid next to my bedside. When I squeeled with joy, he wagged his tail. He has seen me at my lowest and my highest. Just lying next to me.
He was a comfort when I was having a hard time trying to have a baby. I was so heart broken and lonely. I just needed to take care of something, anything. I had all of this love just bottled up waiting to burst. I was volunteering at a shelter at that time and I saw him. He had heartworms and was wild. I was afraid of him at first. His shepherd side was so strong. He was a year and a half. But he was beautiful. I got inside his kennel and knelt down. As soon as I started to squish his neck fur into my hands he leaned into me. He leaned into me so hard that he knocked me down. Then he just snuggled his way into my lap. All 60 pounds of him. I remember saying to him, "Aww, you need me as much as I need you". I brought him home on Valentine's Day.
He has been amazing ever since. My friend who used to pet sit for him said he is the most grateful dog she has ever met. During his early wild days, my dad saw through that and said he had a gentle soul. He was right.
He still walks/ limps once a day around the block. He still eats every day. He still loves every day. But I know its close. It's just so hard.
How do you know when it's time to say goodbye? Did you ever have to put down your loved pet?