Yesterday we decided that we would l take Annie to the vet this morning and have her put down. She had been struggling for breath all weekend and it has been heart breaking to watch her although I don't think she was in any pain. She'd look at me with her gorgeous brown eyes full of confusion as if asking me "Why is it so hard to breathe? What's wrong with me?" It had been difficult to watch. If she had been in pain I probably would have called the vet and paid the exorbitant out of hours fee that would be charged for public holiday service but I truly don't think she was. It had been painful for us to watch her struggle for air. Other times on the weekend she was walking about the yard, finding nice spots to lie and soak up the sun. (Trust an old dog to find the coolest spots in hot summer and the warm spots when the weather cools down) She'd wag her tail when she saw us and enjoyed having her ears tickled and her belly scratched.
She had continued to eat a bit and to drink which has provided me a measure of reassurance that she was moderately ok... well not too bad... at least not completely and utterly miserable. I was tempted to ask the vet to remove fluid from her lungs again and let us have her for a bit longer but that is really woud have just been prolonging the inevitable and her quality of life had been greatly reduced and my husband has wisely and kindly counselled against it.
Our dogs are basically out door animals. They are allowed inside when its stormy and on other special occasions but mostly they live outside. They access the laundry room all day and are locked in there at night. However these last few weeks we have been bringing Annie inside to cuddle her at night or during the afternoon when I have been watching tv or playing on the computer. Yesterday I sat and cuddled her for an hour or so before dinner and after dinner Fixit Guy went and got her and he too spent a hour or so cuddling her whilst we watched our son play Assassin's Creed (and I sewed) Its our goodbye time.
Our youngest son, Boyo got home on Friday morning. He is her owner, having received her as a Christmas gift when he was 10. It was lovely to see her respond to him , enjoying sitting on his lap whilst we watched some Dr Who that first afternoon he was here. Yesterday I took the other dogs for a walk Annie so wanted to come too but even walks in the pram whilst we walked was getting too much for her. I called Boyo down to sit with her on the lawn. An hour later when I got back from my 7 000 step walk with the 3 dogs, he was still with her on the lawn. He was playing on his ipad whilst he patted her. Over the weekend we talked about how she was failing and our decision to have her put down. I had said that I was glad she had lasted so he could say goodbye. He said he was glad he got to do so but that he thought it was good that his brothers hadn't got to see her when she was sick and failing, because their memories of her would be of her healthy and active.
I then sat out there with her, taking photos of the other dogs as they romped about and Annie as she lay there quietly, struggling to breathe but seeming to enjoy the company. After a while I went over to my wannabe vegie patch to weed it a bit and get ready for planting. I noticed that she had changed positions and was watching me as I worked. I was glad I could spend some time with her.
I was dreading having to take her to the vet this morning to have her put down. But the decision was taken away from me. When Fixit Guy went to let the dogs out of the laundry this morning he found that Annie had died quietly in the night, stretched out in her own bed, in the comfort of her own home. The decision had been made for me. I sent a text to our 3 adult children who no longer live at home and Fixit Guy broke the news to Boyo. A sad time for our family
We are so sad to say goodbye to our faithful sweetheart of a dog. However we have a friend - 31, currently in Brisbane awaiting results of biopsies and scans but with the current thinking that he has Hodgkins Lymphoma. Now that is really serious. We loved Annie. But... she was
a dog. In dog years she was getting old. Our friend is still young with his whole life ahead of him. Perspective. We are praying for our friend that he makes a good recovery.