I haven’t said much over the past few weeks because I wasn’t ready to talk. Today I need to get it out. Because today I had to put my puppy to sleep.
Before we met her, Dottie was thrown over a pound fence in Georgia. Half of her fur was gone and she had cuts all over her body. When I adopted her they drove her all the way to Virginia for us.
I discovered she was allergic to chicken and fleas, resulting in the loss of fur. Her face forever showed the scars of her past, but her life had changed from abused animal to queen of the house.
Yes, I let her sleep on the bed. Yes, she had her own couch. But she deserved it all. Because after all of her abuse, she still came to us as the most amazing family dog anyone could want.
At some point in her life she had been loved. And from the moment she came in to our lives she was loved even more.
Dottie was about five or six when we got her. This year she probably turned 13 or 14. A few months ago I discovered she had arthritis in her back. I managed it with pain medication and soon turned to Class Four Laser Treatment.
But by last week, she could hardly walk. And by today, she simply could not walk. I had been carrying her down the stairs for weeks. Today I carried her through the house and held her up because she wasn’t even able to stand.
Furthermore, her medication was not keeping up with her aching back and legs. She looked at me today and told me. I knew. She knew. I could not let her go on in pain and I knew her inability to walk was the final straw.
My children said goodbye and I drove her by myself to the emergency vet. I knew my father was in the seat next to me giving strength.
The hardest part of this? Dottie was completely herself from the belly up. She wanted to bark at squirrels, she wanted to sit outside in the sun and she wanted to eat ice cookies in the kitchen. It was the lower half that stopped her. That kept her hurting. That finally kept her from even standing up.
Putting her down while she was still “herself” was the hardest, hardest hardest thing to do. But it would have been harder to see her in constant pain. I rescued her from a horrible life years ago and would rescue her from a horrible (and short) life ahead.
Right now my Dottie is sitting at rainbow bridge with my other Dalmatians, Freckles and Fritzie. My father is in a folding chair in between selling bait while tossing the occasional piece of squid to the dogs. That is what my brother messaged me from Denver. And it made my lips turn up, if only a little.
If you have dogs, go hug them for me. Give them scritches, pats and of course Dottie’s favorite – belly rubs.
My heart is so broken today.