Last week with Doo Dog wasn’t going well. I was cleaning tracked-in, hardened, stinky messes every day. And he had developed a sore from where his diaper was rubbing, and this was making it painful to walk. One of his many warts ulcerated and started bleeding. The latter two were hard to clean because he had refused to co-operate with a haircut, and so he was getting pretty grungy.
I was in tears with exhaustion and anxiety over anticipating the end. What I had hoped to be quality time wasn’t turning out to be. And I was making myself sick with anxiety. All of the sobbing was just making me strung out.
So, I called the vet and asked them to move up our appointment to Friday.
Friday, I took the day off work. We had the day together, just Doo and I. We cuddled and watched a sad movie about euthanasia. I took him out probably 5 times to sit in the sun and sniff. (And he still went right back inside and pooped in the house!) Around 2, he laid down on my lap for a nap. Around 2:30, my friend John came to pick us up.
Doo was surprisingly tired. I wrapped him in a blanket and he slept on my lap the whole way there. We arrived at the vet and he barely woke up. Once inside, he didn’t show any interest in getting up to check out new smells. He just stayed wrapped in his blanket in my lap on the floor. We waited for the vet’s wife to arrive because she has always been so comforting to me and was making a point to be there simply because she likes Doo.
Then the vet gave him a sedative. He startled and yelped at the poke, but then laid his head right back down. The sedative took him most of the way down. He threw up a bit, which is how he usually responds to a sedative. A few minutes later, his neck was limp and his head was hanging off my lap. The vet came back and asked if I was ready. I said “yes” (through lots of tears). We re-arranged Doo Dog so that they could get to a vein. The doc gave him the injection, and his heart stopped in about a minute, maybe two.
After another minute or so, his muscles spasmed a bit and his diaphragm tried once or twice to breathe on its own. And then he was done.
John took me for a drive in the country, then home.
Habiba and I went downtown for a choral concert, but it was unsatisfying and we left 20 minutes into it.
I went to bed early.
I’ve been doing surprisingly well so far. I still walk in the door at home and automatically look for him (or, rather, I first look for the “presents” he left me). The house seems awfully quiet without him. I miss the sound of his toenails on the wood floors. I miss burying my nose in his fur. I miss lots of things. But mostly I miss how cozy and connected things used to be for us.
I was looking through pictures of him this weekend and realizing that, for the last year, I haven’t been able to grab a shot of him looking at the camera and smiling. (You dog owners know what I mean. You can tell when your dog is smiling.) And it really hit me how tired he has been for a long time. Most of the shots show him sleeping or hanging his head. His inquisitive, exuberant personality has been buried for some time.
I stopped by the Boulder Humane Society on Saturday. Not to look for a new dog. But I just wanted to remind myself of what vibrant dogs are like. And to feel grateful that dogs are in the world. I hate that, for Doo and I, our time together had to end. But I’m glad for him that he doesn’t have to try so hard anymore. And, for myself, a bit relieved from the work of trying to keep him comfortable and clean.
I did find one or two pics from a few months ago that show him somewhat of a balance between his
true age and his young self. I’ll post them later.
Thanks again for all of your concerns and support. Please help me in praying his soul into peace. Wherever his journey takes him, I hope he gets a bit of rest. I’ll miss you, li’l buddy. I’ll miss you until the end of my own days.