Posted By RichC on November 14, 2015
Those who have lost a family dog probably know what the days are like shortly after a pet is gone. My daily routine is so engrained that I habitually look for our dog Tootsie at the door (I still think I see her peeking in sometimes) or to be at my side … usually waiting for a treat! A perfect example is my morning routine of peeling a banana knowing she is waiting for me to toss her a piece. She was always there waiting for a little niblet or just a simple rub under her chin.
About a year ago our veterinarian gave me information to start me thinking about the eventual day. I think she knew it would either happen naturally (and perhaps soon since we didn’t update her shots) or that we might need to make a decision regarding her comfort and safety (she has had a few close calls). We had many signs, considering Tootsie age, that life was becoming difficult for an outdoor active breed like most Australian Cattle Dogs. Her hip displasia made activity difficult, particularly getting up in the morning, going up stairs … or for that matter a single step or even in and out of her dog door on some days. Genetically, many Heelers or Cattle Dogs go deaf (as did Tootsie a few years ago). Add to deafness a loss of eyesight and normal aging, that made for challenging navigation around the house and yard … thankfully her nose continued to work. In recent months, problems started with her digestive track. We did our best to switch her food to puppy food for ease of digestion, but often, it would come uncontrollably from both ends … and not usually in a convenient “yard” location. (by the way, I can speak authoritatively on the “pharyngeal reflex”)
So after a phone call with the vet, I waited (and waited) and finally made an appointment this past week to have her help me decide if we should medically treat or consider euthanasia. It was probably one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever been faced with making (yes, God has been good if “pet decisions” rank that high). So we decided, rather than put her (and me) through another cold winter, that it was time. It was not easy (and would have been more difficult if I were to discuss with the kids), but the compassion of the veterinarian, Animal Friends Humane Society staff and volunteers helped a lot. It was much appreciated. Thank you.