Last week was one of the toughest I have had in a while. There were several events that made the week hard to handle, but the worst was the decision to not let my sweet girl dog suffer from rapidly declining health.
I brought her home on October 16, 2000, the day before my birthday. A friend, knowing my affinity for spotted dogs, had called me a week earlier to tell me that there was a Dalmatian in the local pound. We already had two dogs and I just wasn't sure I wanted to add another to the mix, especially considering I was seven months pregnant at the time with our first child.
A few days went by, and I kept thinking of the spotted dog at the pound. I called, just to see if she was still there, hoping that she had been adopted. No, she was there, and she only had a few days left. Another two days pass, and by this time I am thinking about the poor dog constantly. Finally I make a decision (without letting my husband in on the plan). I will just go and see if she is there, and if she is, I will adopt her and find her a home.
Here is where I must tell you that at the time I was living in the middle of nowhere, with only about 60 people in a 15 mile radius, and all of them had at least one dog. Should be easy to find a home, right? Turns out I didn't need to worry about it....
I pulled up to the pound, and there she was in the outdoor run, beautifully spotted, with the most gorgeous blue eyes you have ever seen. Well, she ran up to me and sat down. She nuzzled my hand. Boy was she sweet...and so well-behaved! I was in LOVE. I had to remind myself to stay neutral, because I was there to pick her up and find her a home...not our home, per se, but a home. I loaded her up in the truck and drove the hour back home. As soon as I pulled up to our warehouse, my husband came out and said, "She is beautiful, we are keeping her!". Sigh of relief on my part, because now I could really fall in love.
We went home and settled on the couch for a nap (those were the days...childless, with time for a nap!). She crawled right up there and lay her head on my pregnant belly, looked up at me with those big blue eyes, and sighed, as if to say, "Thank you, I will be yours. I love you already."
She would 'Moo' when she wanted something. She hated thunder. She loved to chase lizards. She loved to run. She was an amazing friend and listener. She was just so beautiful, inside and out.
Last Monday she had what appeared to be an eye infection. On Tuesday she was hard to wake up. By Wednesday the eye infection wasn't getting any better, despite twice daily antibiotics. The vet called to say her bloodwork showed low thyroid function and very high liver enzymes. On Thursday she could barely walk and I was afraid she would not last the day. She wasn't eating, and she seemed to be going blind. She was going downhill FAST. They took x-rays. Her liver was twice it's normal size. She had a mass in her belly, and she was showing signs of neurological damage, most likely from a brain tumor.
I asked what we could do, knowing in my heart that there were so many obstacles. I was grasping at straws, hoping the vet could help her, and then hoping she could help me decide. In the end, I had to make one of the hardest decisions one can make. It was time. She was ailing badly, and there just wasn't that much to hope for. I couldn't bear to see her suffer, so was too good for that.
I held her, and told her I loved her, that she was an amazing friend to me. I thanked her for giving me her unconditional love. I cried. A lot.
I am still crying.
I love you, girl, you are and always will be missed.