Jun 19, 2009
I guess everyone can see my mood as SAD because we had to put our 20 yr old cocker spaniel to sleep this morning and it's a very sad day at our house.
My husband got her from the animal shelter 13 yrs ago. At that time, she was 7 years old and was due to be euthanized within a day or two because her previous people had passed away. Her name was Heather and it only took her a few minutes to win our hearts and rule our heads. She had such a cute dainty little face and when she'd **** her head and "smile" at us, we couldn't help but laugh at her and she usually got whatever she wanted. After a day at the groomer - talk about struttin' her stuff............. Her hair was a bright brownish gold color but was actually getting gray in some places, especially around her face.
In 2006, we got another dog, beagle mix who was then 2 years old, named Francis (after the hurricane in 2004). I never really cared for the name of Francis and HER previous owners had called her Franny. Anyway, she's built like a tank and just not "feminine" enough to be EITHER Francis or Franny, so I took to calling her Frankie - suits her perfectly.
Anyway, when we first brought Frankie home, Heather was a bit "miffed" - like she thought she would lose her "standing" in the family, but it didn't take long for her become "the boss"...... She made sure Frankie ALWAYS knew her place..
A few years ago, Heather developed arthritis in her hips pretty bad, so the vet had her on Rimadyl and she's been taking that for several years. In addition to that, her teeth were bad and gave her a lot of pain. She was deaf and her eye sight was deteriorating steadily. Over the past few months, she had gotten so she wouldn't eat unless either my hubby or myself got down on the floor and "hand fed" her - literally.... She had recently developed a habit of pawing/digging/scratching at the floors, like she would if she were digging a hole in the dirt. We never did figure out what THAT was about...
Recently, she had spent most of every night wandering around the house - keeping me awake, with her toenails clicking on the laminate floors and her heavy panting (which we learned today was caused from pain) when she came beside the bed to let me know she needed to go outside - IF she remembered that's what she was supposed to do. She also had some alzheimers (sp?) going on -- we have a "doggie door" from the screen room to the dogs yard by the house and often she'd go out and just wander around looking up at the sky; poor thing had no idea where she was or what she was supposed to be doing. Even with ALL that wrong with her, she still LOVED the daily walks around the "big yard". That's when we put both dogs on leashes and walk them "away from home".
Yesterday when hubby got home from work, she was chasing crickets in the screen room (which was a favorite past time for her) and shortly after when he leashed both dogs for their walk, she could hardly go at all. Last night, my hubby spent most of the night awake holding and stroking her to keep her from the "digging activity" and she finally fell asleep. This morning as he was getting ready for work, she had gone into the bathroom with him and found a spot that she was comfortable with, so that's where she stayed for well over an hour after he left for work.
Later, when I got up and was on the computer (checking out MH) she laid at on the floor at my feet (more accurately ON my feet) and whenever I got up she'd follow me. She was not interested in eating OR drinking anything. Even when I went to the bathroom, she'd go with and lay at my feet. When I took my shower, she crawled into the corner behind the toilet (very small space) and wouldn't come out.
After going to work, my husband called home and asked what I thought about her. I said that I had an appt for a hair cut this morning, but after I got done, I planned to get her in to see the vet.
That's when he asked the question we had both been trying to avoid. Even though we both loved her and shared her care, she was pretty much HIS dog, so I felt that HE should be the one to make that decision. He decided to come on home from work and take her to the vet himself - she was still laying behind the toilet in the bathroom. He had no appointment, but they got him right in.
The vet looked Heather over and told him that she WAS in great pain. Although there are meds we could give her for the pain and alzheimers, what would her quality of life be like? The pain would never fully go away. My husband and I had already discussed that it we kept her with us, we would be doing it for US not HER. Meds would only have prolonged the inevitable and quite likely would not have made her very comfortable anyway. She WAS, after all, just a few months away from 20 yrs old - and she'd lived a long, happy life.
My husband made the only decision he could make and did what was best for her. He said "Farewell".
Losing a pet is SO much like losing a family member and we all handle our grief differently. My husband is rather at loose ends right now, not quite knowing WHAT to do, but totally exhausted. He's already shampooed the carpets and cleaned up the stains from the times Heather didn't make it outside - now what?? He's taken away the steps that he made and put beside the bed so she could climb up, since she was no longer able to jump up. Her bed is sitting in the kitchen waiting for the cover to get washed and dried - then what will we do with it? Frankie MIGHT use it, but most likely not because even she knows that was Heather's bed - Heather made sure of that.......lol
I'm handling my grief by writing this journal. We will always miss our pretty little "golden girl", but her spirit will always be with us. I'm sure by now, she's young again and free of pain, chasing her beloved crickets once more.
Rest in Peace, Heather.