Beloved Blue Truck Dog

I think we have to put our old dog down. Except when he comes back to the porch after being in the yard, the look on his face is that of a puppy. But then he takes the stairs one at a time like he would hold on to a hand rail if he could reach. And when he must hop over the threshold into the dining room, he misses and falls, his back legs splaying behind him. He gets up and tries again but he is uncertain in his blindness. Where is the threshold, I can hear him asking himself, I remember it being here.

He is lying here on the bed with me. He is sleeping but restless. Every few minutes, he wakes and adjusts his legs or head. He doesn’t sleep in our bed – no dogs or children have ever been allowed here, our one private space. He always sleeps on his bed on the floor but I think he is failing so I have him here, my aged puppy. Part of me thinks he could expire this very night.

The woman at the veterinarian’s who did his last blood test nodded at me when I said we were wondering about how much more to do for him medically. “You have to consider his quality of life,” she said, as she has probably said to the owner of every aged pet. But what is his quality of life? If he’s happy here on my bed, should he just stay? If he likes sleeping on the back porch while I work, is that a good life? And for whom, I guess is the question. Maybe he is ready to go.

How well we’ve become used to the constriction of his life. From robust, hearty dog to diabetic, blind dog. The circle of his life tightens everyday but we accommodate. We know him in real time but think of him as he was. The real dog is in there in this tired, falling creature and we love the real dog. And we are having a devil of a time giving him up. What a sad little time this is.

 

 

 

14 Comments on “Beloved Blue Truck Dog

  1. Such a hard place to be. And no one can know when the right time is except you and your dog. One of ours, with bone cancer, made it very, very clear to us when he wanted to go. Another old dog just sort of muddled along with ramps and a harness to help him walk, and a sling to help him up and down…but like you say here, he still found peace in things. When those moments of enjoyment became fewer and fewer, we made the choice for him. It’s never easy. I dread when that day comes for our two aging dogs. But at the same time, I hope I can give them what they need, release with dignity and much love, when that time comes. Sometimes I think we allow our pets more dignity at the end, to choose their time, then we do with people. You’re going to have a hard road ahead now and I’m sorry for you.

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  2. I remember only too well those last months with our dog, Boo Boo. Such an incredibly sad time because, as you said, the “real dog” is still in there. I haven’t been able to invite another dog to live with me, since, even though I long for that, sometimes.

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  3. I always hate this time with aging dogs. I have had dogs most of my life and so outlived many of them and will outlive a couple more. There’s not happy answer to the old dog story. They get old, they go blind. Sometimes deaf, too. Sometimes, we hang onto them too long. It’s always a terrible decision to make. I feel for you.

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    • My across-the-court neighbour is going through this sad process now, with her beloved King Charles Cavalier. It’s going to be heart breaking when Bobby has to be put to sleep, or quietly leaves on his own.

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    • A hard decision. We’ve been there several times. I think now we say — “It’s about the dog not US”. Not good to put the furry child through prolonged agony because it’s hard to say goodbye. It is so painful and the tears are inevitable.

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  4. I’ve been through this with two beloved animals in the past two years. Very very hard but the joys of being with them for so many years more than compensates. Sorry for your sadness but glad you are having good warm times together. Glad you are letting him up on the bed for now. I’m doing the same with my 16 year old cat who seemed to be on her last legs a year ago but who rallied after being brought inside to become an inside cat. She now rules the roost, awakening me at all times of the day and night to be fed. Five or six small meals during the day. Sometimes at midnight, usually at 6 a.m. The aged rule, be they human or feline. Hope someone treats us this well when our time comes.

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  5. Sad time. Gretchen & Dave said goodbye to Tenny’s 17 year old companion on Tuesday. It helped a little to have the vet come to the house. Even dogs like to die at home.

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