Last Sunday, it happened. Since my dog was diagnosed with a harsh cancer in January, I have been trying to prepare for the day we would have to put her down. I watched her carefully and hesitated for months. I consulted the vet on a regular basis. People with more experience told me I would look at her one day and just know. Last Sunday I knew it was time.
That morning she was doing well but by late afternoon her tumour (which was on her spine) must have started pressing down on some internal part of her that made it difficult to use her back legs. She kept trying to walk and did not understand why she could not. It was horrible and was sudden. Luckily, I had just started using a new pain medication which masked pain so she was, at least, able to be herself and cope with the pain. I knew this was no life for my active, curious dog. She would not be able to explore, she could barely stand a few seconds, and she would not be able to go to the bathroom.
My heart was crushed but I knew I had to do the right thing. I called my family members and we all took her to the emergency animal hospital. While we waited for the doctor, we snuggled and cuddled with her. Despite not being able to move much, she was herself (thanks to the pain medication). She licked my brother’s face when he was crying. I got covered in her ever shedding hair as I hugged her and ran my fingers through her gorgeous coat. She kept eating dog treats with gusto.
We were asked to step out so she could be sedated. We did. They brought her back and she was drugged up so much that she just lay there staring ahead. We were supposed to say goodbye to her in that state but it already felt too late and we were grateful for the doctor being late in the other room as that was our real goodbye and our true final time with her. She was given an injection by a sad but kind faced vet who explained it was all humane and very instant. My hand was on her head. I checked to feel her breathing from her nose and there was warm air! I almost hoped it was not happening. The vet used a stethoscope and said she was gone. We all cried. I did not want to just leave her there on the stretcher and go home-her home, our home. She was still warm. I could not stop touching her. How could by vital, full of life, curious pup be gone? I was devastated.
We had to go home without her. I had to look into the yard and see she was not there. My husband was away out of town for work and devastated he could not be there but he understood that, given her condition, we had to take her in that night. He consoled himself by buying a stuffed animal husky for himself. He came home the next day and gave it to me. It, for some reason, brought me comfort. It looked a lot like my baby.
The next day I stored her dog bowls and beds into our garden shed. It broke my heart to look at them. I took a day off work. I cried. It broke my heart to see my empty yard, to see her dog hair here and there (it is shedding time), to not hear her paws running towards me each time I opened the door, to not see her gorgeous face, and to know she was never coming back.
Now it is Thursday. My brother and his girlfriend have bought $1,000 of dog food and donated it to the local animal shelter. I went back to work but have had bursts of sadness and tears throughout the days. I am donating the remaining medicine to a charity that helps low income families care for pets. The other things I will donate later. I feel a hole in my life and in my heart. For almost a decade my dog was my most faithful and loving companion. She was a true bright light in my life. I try to keep positive. We had 9 great years in which she was happy and healthy. Only 3 months were hard and, of those, only a few weeks were truly bad. All dogs go to heaven eventually. I have to remember it was her time.
In her honour, I bought two blue hydrangea plants to plant in our now depressing backyard where I hope they will flourish. Her name meant blue in my language and her eyes were a gorgeous blue. Just like her, hydrangeas are bigger than life, ostentatious, beautiful flowers. It is my tribute to her who I miss so much and who I will never forget.
She was my first true love as an adult. I could look at her anytime and feel my heart filling with love each day. There will be no other like her. She had an amazing energy and everyone loved her-not only for her gorgeous and cuteness but for her kindness, patience, and zest for life. She could eat like not other. She loved walks, chasing birds, and belly rubs. She loved being part of the pack but was smart and independent. She listened to us only if she felt like it or if there was a treat in it for her. She was no appeaser or begger-of-attention like other dogs 🙂 She bulked up in the winter and slimmed down in the summer. She loved swimming in lakes-drinking and swimming at the same time. She loved car rides and nights when we would bbq. I would like to think she had a good nine years with lots of love and lots of people who loved her and thought she was special.
I can now only hope there is a heaven where she is happier than ever. My husband tells me she is there now playing in the snow-cancer free, chasing birds, eating snow, enjoying all-meat meals, and playing with other dogs. May it be so.