Last night, I said goodbye to my best canine friend of 13 years. Â He would have been 14 in October, but things were not going well for him. Â He laboured to walk, to move around,and his eating was infrequent. Â It was time. Â The average life span for a dog of his size and breed is ten years, so any time after that was a bonus round. Â We walked him over to the vet’s office, a last long walk for him, followed by an examination.
The vet was amazed at how old he was, and I think that’s why there was little talk of further treatment to make him more comfortable. She knew that his quality of life was falling and would continue to fall. From his demeanor and symptoms, she suggested that he likely had a degenerative disease of the spine, that wasÂ dissolvingÂ his spine, causing some of the mobility problems he had been experiencing, coupled with a neurological problem that had basically taken away feeling in his back feet.
Jessica and I knew that this was likely to be the end for him when we went in, so we were as prepared as possible. I knew it would be difficult, though. Â He’d been with me for so much. Â He got me through a couple of tragedies, and like good dogs always are, he cheered me up when I was down, and was the best companion.
As we sat, waiting for the sedative to take effect, I signed the consent form. Â The one moment of levity in the night, was my misreading of a declaration in the form which read something along the lines of “I certify that the dog has not bitten any person or animal in the last ten days”Â which I misread asÂ “I certify that the dog has not been bitten by any person or animal in the last ten days” and I commented on how strange a declaration that was. Â I commented on it, and was corrected, but could not get the image of some person coming up and biting my dog out of my head. Â Everyone laughed, and then it was time.
The sedative had relaxed him enough (he was pretty anxious in the vet’s office), he lay down on blanket they provided. I thanked him for everything he had done for me, we told him we loved him, and they administered the drugs. We stayed with him, petting him until he was gone. Â And the vet left us alone with him. Â We didn’t stay long. Â We had a good five minutes of weeping, and then just couldn’t stay any longer. Â He looked like he was asleep, and knowing that he wasn’t just made it harder.
I will miss so many things about him. Â I can’t even list them all. Â But most of all, I will miss how if I was sad he would come over and lay his head in my lap and look up at me. Â How petting him like that would make me feel better.