I’ve got a hard decision to make and I’ve been putting it off.
Cookie is our 14 year old dog. She is a golden retriever and border collie mix, most likely. She has been a great, if stubborn, family companion all these years. She has kept us company, taken us on long walks, warned me when the newspaper hit the porch, driven squirrels out of the yard. She once, with the help of our cat, caught and killed a rat in the street. She has defended me against all Y chromosomes, suffering only a few to cross our threshold.
Her big brown eyes are blue with cataracts now. She is so deaf that we have to clap our hands loudly to get her attention. I can let her out front off the leash because she can’t physically run off. She is so stiff and creaky that I beg her to sleep downstairs but she limps her way upstairs at bedtime because she can’t imagine sleeping anywhere other than my bedside.
And now she has days when she can’t get up off the floor. Her back end has gotten so weak that standing is a challenge if she is on the hardwood floor. If the young dog bumps into her, she falls down with her legs splayed out in four directions. I got one of those rear lift harnesses to try and help her get up, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Some days I have to roll her onto a blanket and drag her to the back door. Then I can get her up on her feet and she only has a couple of steps to get outside. Once she is outside with the grass and dirt underfoot, she is a bit steadier on her pins. She’ll make her rounds, peeing and sniffing, and then stagger back up the stairs to come in.
She is on pain meds now and has good days and not so good days. I’ve been putting off making the decision because she keeps rallying. She’ll have a bad couple of days and I’ll think, yes, it’s time and then she rallies and gets her mojo back and is clearly enjoying life. She loves hanging out with her people and loves her treats. It takes half an hour to get around the block, but she loves her walks. She is still loving life.
I know that I need to call the housecall vet to let him know that the time is getting near. I can’t bear to take her to the clinic because she hates it so much and I don’t want her last moments on earth to be there. Dr Carroll will come to the house when it is time.