We’ve seen it happening over the last year. The decline in Spot’s health has been evident to all of us – losing weight, whining at night from pain, weakness in her back legs and the lackluster fur that used to shine. Through it all, she keeps on going and continues to look at us with those big dark eyes. She still tolerates the overzealous advances of our young grandchildren. And she remains totally loyal to my husband, Rich.
How do you decide when a pet’s life is no longer worth living? We’ve been over this ground so many times, hoping to delay the inevitable. It’s too easy to look past her failings and focus on her loving personality, wanting things to be all right. It’s hard to separate our desire to hang on to a beloved member of the family from the facts of her discomfort and failing body. Finding the balance is nearly impossible. Facing the hard reality of the situation is even tougher.
How do you explain to two toddlers that their favorite dog is going away forever? Once resigned to the decision, we consoled ourselves with one final family week at the cabin with Spot. It’s a place she used to love to roam, enjoying her freedom from the leash, and her choice of critters to chase. Watching the grandkids petting Spot for the last time without really understanding was heartbreaking. Tears flowed freely as our daughter knowingly bid Spot farewell. Tonight our sons will have their opportunity, one via Skype from Washington DC.
How do you console a husband, who is losing his faithful friend? She may be a family pet, but when we rescued her as a stray and brought her home with us, she immediately attached herself to Rich. For twelve years he has taken her for the lion’s share of her walks. She has slept by his bedside every night. And she is the only dog he’s ever had.
Tomorrow is Spot’s final day. She’s had a good life, and greatly enriched ours. She will leave a big gap in our lives, which we will endeavor to fill with many great memories. But it’s still a hard decision. Very hard.