This is my sweet baby, Bear. He probably adores me more than anyone else in the entire world could ever adore me.....I’m pretty sure about that.
No one looks at me with those eyes quite like he does. It doesn’t matter what I do, he always loves me.
Now, one of those eyes has a growth on it. And the spine that has been so strong has a lesion, a tumor. He’s losing control of his hind legs and is having difficulty getting around. He doesn’t struggle past a few houses down the street till he just stands and can’t move. I pick him up and carry him home.
This past weekend I was alone with my dogs. My husband was out of town, my kids are in their 20’s and moved out. Bear had some scary fits. Yelping in pain, cowering, wrenching on his side, multiple times, it was just terrifying to see him in such pain. I didn’t know what to do.
We have pain pills for him, this has happened several times before, but it wasn’t this bad. The pain pills we had didn’t really touch it. It seemed like he had a sharp knife of pain going through his body.
He spent Monday at the vet’s. We talked about quality of life, what he enjoys, if he’s able to keep doing those things, etc. And since he hasn’t been able to do much lately, the one thing he still loves.....is sniffing the grass. So, my vet asked me if he was still sniffing.
“No”, I said. “He just stands there, in a stupor, afraid to move.”
I had to make a decision.
But I couldn’t make THE decision. Not yet. Not by myself.
Bear rallies. He always rallies. We’ve thought he was close before. Several times. He looks like he will never get up again. But the next morning....he always comes back.
So, we went home, armed with stronger pain pills and meds.
And then on Tuesday, he rallied once again. He got up Tuesday morning and wobbled into the kitchen while I was making some coffee and did his little whine while looking up at me that means, “Where’s my breakfast?”
He came back. This time. And he’s sniffing again.
I wanted a little more time. A little more time to give him a little more love. A little more appreciation for the love he’s shown me for the last 15 years.
So, this weekend, my family is all home. We’re gathering around to give him all kinds of attention and appreciation for the simple life he has lived as our pet for the past 15 years.
He’ll be carried up to my daughter’s bed again to sleep, where he slept with her for many years, with her sweet baby talk that she does for him, cooing in his ears.
He’ll get lots of attention from my son, who won’t be throwing toys for him like he always did, but will be content to stroke his head and rub his tummy and be the center of Bear’s universe for awhile.
And we’ll share our memories of how Bear came into our lives as a rescue dog and how we loved him in spite of his wild, crazy behavior and vice versa. Oh, he was just the kind of animal we all deserved.
Then, next week, or the next, when the time comes, I’ll be ready to make the decision.
Thanks for indulging me this personal moment.