Jan 04, 2008
Chica is gone as of 5:45 this evening. This day has gone on much longer than it should have. As of yesterday, I was prepared for the end of Chica's life, but my husband remained unconvinced. "Let's wait until this afternoon to make the call." As if that would make any difference. It was Chica's time, and I was not prepared to allow her to suffer one moment more than necessary.
While Hubby was out of the house on a business call, Chica became more lucid and decided she had to take one more trip outside. Going through the dog door was out of the question, so I opened the back door and went out with her. Although at death's door, Chica wasn't about to forget her early house training no matter how weak and sick she was. Going pee wasn't too difficult, but the poor dog had diarrhea and her legs just gave out on her. She collapsed right into the pile. The Chica of Old would have been horrified and immediately rectified the matter. This time, she finally got to her feet and just stood there with her head down and waited while I cleaned her up. That event finally convinced Hubby that we needed to help Chica by assisting in her exit from this life.
At 4:15 I gave Chica the vet-prescribed tranquilizers that were supposed to be for a dog more than double her weight. Just as we feared, it wasn't quite enough. Chica has given 110% to every event in her life, and although her mind was willing, her flesh was weak. The tranquilizers made her very drowsy, but she was still more lucid than we cared for. I finally resorted to giving her some of my own nausea medication, phenergan, because it also has a tranquilizing effect. After another 15 minutes, she was stoned enough that we felt comfortable to take her on her final journey.
We had to wait a while for the vet to finish up with his last two clients before we brought Chica in to the surgery. I spent the time in the car petting her and talking to her. Finally, it was time to bring her in. The staff had the table warmed up for her, and I'm convinced that she really didn't have a clue where she was by then. Dr. Smith came in and quietly administered the final shot that stopped her heart. Peace, at last. Chica will never have to be sick, nauseated and vomiting ever again. The end was just... peaceful. No trauma whatsoever.
In a way, I almost feel guilty for being glad Chica is gone. For the past three months my life has revolved around Chica, her medications, her diet and her general state of comfort. Honestly, I didn't realize until today exactly how much time I've spent dealing with her every changing symptom and need. Anyone dealing with a chronic illness, whether in a human or an animal, knows how it eventually overwhelms every waking or sleeping moment. I have prayed every night for weeks that Chica would go quietly in her sleep, but that wasn't in her character. She needed our help, and we gave it to her.
We critter lovers are a special breed of human being. We take animals into our homes and into our hearts knowing that we will likely outlive them; yet, we continue to include them in our lives in spite of the heartache that always awaits. Not everyone is willing or capable of doing so. Chica had nearly 14 years of a fabulous life with us. She taught us more about dogs than any dog we've ever known. She was a constant challenge, but she lived life to its fullest measure of enjoyment. We can all learn something from her example.