Friday, August 30, I had to let my sweet Sandy dog go. She and I had been together since February 20, 2000 - 13 and a half years. And she was between 2 and 3 when she was adopted. At 16 years she was showing her age.
Sandy had dementia. At first it was mild confusion, then acting as if she only knew me. She experienced sundown symptoms and panted in panic all evening. Too often she peed and pooped in the house, usually after she had just been outside.
Sandy had arthritis in her back and rear legs, and it was clearly painful. On days where she was very slow to get up or walk, I had pain meds that gave her a little spring back in her step. But in the past few weeks Sandy had to work hard to keep her back legs from splaying out. It was especially bad when she was standing still to eat.
And she wasn't eating as much, having lost 4 pounds in the past 9 months. That was more than 10% of her weight. And you could really feel her spine and ribs when you petted her.
Sand had really separated from the rest of the family, spending no time in the living room anymore, preferring to be in a bathroom alone. She would only be in the kitchen when forced. But when I would go into my bedroom and bathroom, she would still come to me for petting and love. And she would sleep next to my side of the bed.
But lately, she was separating herself from me. She would leave the bathroom when I entered and at night she left my room and went into the hall bathroom to sleep.
So two weeks ago when we went to the vet and started discussing what to do, the vet gently explained that Sandy was trying to tell me it was time for her to go. And that as a vet, she has the privilege of letting pets go with dignity. There wasn't anything else to do medically that could improve her life.
So far Charlie has only asked where Sandy is once, and I just said she wasn't here right now. He still talks about her but doesn't seem to miss her presence much.
I'll write about it later, the day that Sandy passed. I just can't do it now. My heart hurts too much.