My heart is breaking.
I just got back from the vet where we put down our dog, Luna. She was 14 years old, and had had bladder cancer for a couple of years. At the time of her diagnosis we were given the option of surgery, but declined. We wanted whatever time she had left to be spent in comfort, and her spirits were still high. She was active and happy, if a bit arthritic and slower than she used to be. She was the best family dog anyone could have asked for.
We adopted her from the Pasadena SPCA in early 1999. She was 6 months old, and had just been brought in with her brother. My husband saw her first, then motioned me over. It was literally love at first sight, and as soon as we saw her, we knew she was ours. And vice-versa.
We put out name on the list and, luckily, were the first to do so. A LOT of people, as it turned out, wanted her. But we got her. And after she was spayed and given her shots, we took her home.
She was a spirited little thing: a mix of Corgi and Pit bull, she was curious, energetic, and loved everyone. The one thing she DIDN'T like was being home alone. One night Hubby and I returned from an evening out to find a pile of Ripped Up Stuff in the living room: books, shoes, photos, and even a role of toilet paper. I was convinced that if she had opposable thumbs she would have set the whole thing on fire.
She also tore up the bathroom wall, tried to dig a hole in the carpet, and took a while to house train. And was the sweetest puppy ever.
In 2000, when she was 2 years old, I got pregnant with our first child. Luna became my guardian. No one could get near me without her permission. Even, sometimes, Hubby! When the baby was born, she became his sworn protector. Same thing with our daughter. She showed the ultimate in patience and tolerance with both of them, and watched over them as if they were her own. Once she got a know a person, or another animal, that was it, they were Pack.
One night, before we were to leave on a trip to Lake Tahoe, she showed signs of her recurring bladder infection. I took her to the emergency vet to get her medicine. Another woman was there, with an old dog. The woman started to cry, because she was going to have to put her dog down. Luna walked over and sat by her, leaning against her leg.
Last year I took her to a dog park that was near the water. It was a hot day, so when she was done, I let her play in the water for a bit. There were a number of other dogs there, many of them swimming into the lagoon to fetch tennis balls. Luna's herding instinct kicked in, and every time a dog swam out, she would herd them back in.
Basically, she was the sweetest, most empathetic, and hardest-working dog I've ever known. And I'm feeling guilty for putting her down, even though I know it was for the best. I wish I'd taken her for a walk or something first. But she was panting and trembling, and seemed like she was in pain.
And I'm missing her so much right now.
Our other dog has barely left my side since I've returned. He knows his pal is gone, and that I'm sad.
I have to commend the vet, and everyone in his office. When it was time, the woman who cleans the office came in and stayed with me, petting Luna and whispering in Spanish, and crying with me. The doctor, who is, I believe, Sikh, asked if he could say a prayer while he administered the injection. First he gave her a sedative, and then, when she was calm, the stuff that stopped her heart. It was quick and painless, and I was right there with her. Then they left so I could say goodbye. It was the best way we could have let her go. Everyone in the office was so kind, and everyone was so sad.
In some ways, Luna was MY dog. I took care of her most of the time, took her with me to many, many places, and called her my puppy. I told her, as I was kissing her goodbye, that she's STILL my puppy.
And she always will be.
Play in Peace, my lovely puppy. Run around with your friends in that endless dog park, drink from the giant, never-empty water bowl, and eat as many treats (and as much cake) as you want.
And always know how very much you are loved.