Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Losing A Faithful Dog

Jessie,  1999 - 2013
We knew it was coming, our rescue lab Jessie, was fourteen this year, she had not been well for the last month.  It seemed to happen suddenly and yet the signs were always there.  She had grey hair around her muzzle and on her eyebrows, her breathing was labored and cataracts were starting to cloud her vision.  Hearing was bad too.  And yet we refused to believe that her time with us would come to an end.  Only when she began to ignore her food, which she LOVED, did we start seeing the bigger picture.  She lost weight, at times seemed weak and even sad.  So we bought soft dog food, a treat that sometimes she would eat and other times walk away from.

During the her last month, she rallied many times.  As always she kept a close eye on me while I mowed.  I tried to sneak away to check bluebird boxes in the horse pasture and here she would come, checking on me and things hiding in the grasses.  I would give her a ride on the gator home when she got out that far.  She looked at me with grateful eyes.

She came to us quite by accident.  I worked for a veterinarian at the time, probably not a good place for an animal lover, I was always bringing home critters.  Once a pair of love-birds, cats and then a stray lab that had come in to be spayed.  She was very beautiful, soft eyes and still young, although she'd had a litter of puppies by then.  I brought her home in the front seat of the car that day, she looked like she belonged there, quietly happy.  The next day her sedation was totally worn off and I realized she was still a puppy herself!  

She followed me everywhere, once she was following my bluebird trail while I checked boxes.  The trail took her more than a half a mile from home in the hottest part of the day, I had to load her on the three wheeler I was riding to bring her home because she was so hot.  I rolled her over and sprayed cold water on her belly and she thought I was GOD himself.  She loved her belly being sprayed when it was hot and humid.

Jessie's hunting buddy, Gabby
She became a house dog under my protest, but as a stray we couldn't trust her to stay in the barn at night.  And our other old dog at the time was living in the house because of her age, so my girls thought I was being unfair to Jessie by leaving her outside!  Well, a house dog she was her entire life.  I lived with (and hated) the dog hair and the wet dog smell when she came in from hunting in the pasture for mice and whatever.  She and our little terrier, Gabby, who is now 15 years old, loved to go hunting together in the mornings.  I think Jessie was the sniffer and Gabby the pouncer.  They were quite the team out in the field!

She also love sleeping in the tipi with me, always on guard, often fleeing from the tipi in the middle of the night to investigate some noise in the darkness.  She was faithful and loving to the end.

This morning I forced her to get up and go outside.  Her breath was very labored and she was having issues controlling her bowels.  At one thirty last night I was cleaning up vomit and poop.  (My gag reflex is working well!)  Richard and I talked about putting her down and agreed that her quality of life was rapidly going down hill.  This is the hardest thing in the world to do, making this decision about another's life.  We talked about a grave place, having our son help dig the resting place and I called the vet.  Everything was set.

When Jessie went outside this morning, she headed for the flower beds and lay down.  Not a good sign, dogs often like to go off and be alone when the time is near.  I watched her labored breathing, convinced myself I was making the right decision by calling the vet.   I went to her, stroked her soft ears and talked to her, telling her it was okay to go, that she would feel much better by leaving, giving her permission........   I also ask that she tell all the other critters we have watched pass from this world into spirit world, that we missed them and were sending love with Jessie.  Don't you know she passed quietly right before my eyes.  I have lost yet another faithful dog and my heart hurts today.