Yesterday afternoon, we took our sweet Dug the Doodle Dog to the vet's office for the very last time.
I've alluded to him not being his usual self here, but never elaborated, because to be honest, that was hard to write too, and I wasn't really emotionally able to deal with comments and support from everyone. I know that sounds weird, but there you go.
Dug was never an active dog in the sense that he couldn't really run, and had an odd gait. This was a combination of him having arthritis, but also because the vet told us that it was likely that whoever had him as a puppy kept him crated except for walks, so his back leg muscles never really had the chance to properly develop. He wasn't in any severe pain, but he was slower than most pups and more deliberate in his movements. Needless to say, we didn't care.
When he started having serious trouble walking a couple of months ago, we took him to the vet for a check. She felt a lump in the area of his spleen, and suggested an ultrasound. That scan showed that his arthritis was also really bad in his spine, and that there were several tumors and masses near his spleen, kidneys, and other places.
The vet prescribed some painkillers, and suggested two things: 1) let him enjoy his life and the things that made him happy, until they didn't, and 2) take him to a local rehab place, and see if that helped at least a bit in the meantime. We agreed that as long as he was still his happy self, we'd do whatever we could for him. But Tuesday night and Wednesday morning it was clear he was not his usual self, and so we knew it was time.
He died having gotten lots of love from the kitties before we left, everyone at the vet's office (where he was a favorite), who kissed him, hugged him, whispered special things to him, and of course, from us. In his last conscious moments, he knew that everyone who loved him, and those who loved him best, were right there, petting him, talking to him, kissing him. (We should all be so lucky when our time comes, no?)
We are grateful that we could help him, and that he is no longer suffering or sick. We know there was an entire welcoming committee - animals and people - waiting for him, to be with him. We know he will always be with us, even if we can't hug him, walk him, watch him love the cats and love his life.
But it sucks, and it hurts and that will never change. We know we'll never get over it, but we'll just get used to it. We've both been through it before with so many of our other family members (human, furry, and otherwise). We would love to have him here still, but only if he could be healthy - because to wish otherwise is selfish and cruel.
Dug was always a happy boy. He was full of love, kindness, and he loved his life. Anyone who would give him attention was his friend. He liked to play, though on a calmer level, like he did everything. He was with us for 3 1/2 years, plus a week. We think he was ~8 years old.
He was our boy, and he is our boy, and he will always be our boy. We love you, Dug, more than our own lives. We'll see you again someday. xo
I've been thinking out this, and Dug never wanted anyone to be sad or upset, nor did he like to be sad or upset. So I think he would want us to follow the advice in this quote attributed to Dr. Seuss, even if we can't quite do it right away:
Don't cry because it's over,
Smile because it happened.
Dear Dug, we are smiling through our tears right now, but know that you will always bring a smile to our hearts and our faces. Thank you for forever being our Doodle Dog, and for saving our lives, especially mine.
Be sure to kiss and hug your family, both human and otherwise, today, as soon as you have a chance. And if you are so inclined, please say a prayer, think a good thought, or raise a glass for our sweetheart.