When you first acquire a pet, the furthest thing from your mind is how you will feel when your pet dies. I have had many dogs, cats, gerbils, guinea pigs, birds, and hamsters so the death of a pet is not new to me. But today I find myself faced with something I've never dealt with before. Always before my pets died suddenly on their own. Just boom! Or in the case of the dogs or cats, many of them died because they ran in front of a car.
But my current dog was diagnosed with bone cancer today. The vet estimates somewhere between three to six months before the time comes that we will have to be humane and let her go. I've never had to watch a pet slowly pass away.
At the moment, she's very alert and pretty perky except for the huge bone mass on her front knee. She moves slowly and we will have to be careful that she doesn't break the leg. Stairs are tough. And we came home with a bottle of pain killers. The vet said when these no longer work we can put her on something a little stronger. When that doesn't work...it will be time to say goodbye.
She's been a good and faithful companion, keeping me company while I write, while I paint, while I sleep. She follows me from room to room as I move around my apartment, always keeping me in sight. She's travelled to Texas, Arkansas, Florida, and New York with us. She's a well travelled dog.
She's been camping, stayed in fine hotels, gone to the beach, and slept under the stars. She loves squirrels. And deer and rabbits. She'll face down the biggest dog around. She had my daughter's St. Bernard convinced that she was the boss. Tiny dogs terrify her. Can't imagine why.
She's gentle and loving and fiercely protective. She's under the impression that the entire apartment building is "hers" so she doesn't bark at the other tenants or their dogs, but strangers will raise a noisy alarm from her.
I don't have a lot of time left with her, so I'll be spending what time I can just being together. If I seem a little distracted or absent minded, then I hope you'll understand while I take the time to say goodbye.