It’s a weird thing to call and schedule the time in which you will say goodbye to your best friend forever. That’s what I did today. Over the past couple of months (starting shortly after the seizures) Penny’s health started to deteriorate. I first noticed it when she would attempt to jump on the bed and wouldn’t make it. Now, that’s not totally abnormal. She’s a small dog, but it was happening a lot more than normal.
The second time I noticed something was wrong was when she was standing on her back legs with her front paws on my legs and I was scratching down her sides. All of the sudden her left leg just collapsed and she fell down. Things seemed to pick up quickly from here. She continued to have more and more issues jumping on the bed and then even the (much lower) couch. I even bought pet stairs so she could still get in bed. She never used them.
As the weeks, and yes, the progression was a matter of weeks, went by, her back legs got weaker and weaker. She started having trouble going up short stairs. She no longer attempted to jump up on anything. She also started having issues getting comfortable when she was laying down. She would constantly get up, turn around, and sit back down. Sometimes when she would do this, she would let out a little yelp in pain.
Another week goes by and now she’s having trouble running. She would literally drift when she would run. She had no control over her back end so when she would stop, her back end would keep going, leading to tumbles. By the end of the week, she was no longer running because, by then, she was having trouble just walking. This progressed into trouble standing. She could only stand still for about a minute before her back end would begin to droop because her legs couldn’t take the weight any longer.
The strange thing about this is that she could still (somewhat) walk. The past three or four days were marked with her pacing non-stop around the house. When I say non-stop, I mean she would literally pace around the house for several hours without sitting or taking a break. Finally, she would exhaust herself and would lay down. During the last two weeks of the ordeal, she lost hearing in one ear and stopped eating her normal amount of food. I would be thankful if she ate half her bowl of food that day.
While the last month or so has been really difficult, nothing has prepared me for today. I try to remember all the good times we had together and then look at her now and realize she is not comfortable any longer and this is not a good quality of life for her, but the selfish side of me didn’t want to say goodbye to my friend. I knew that is was the right decision though. Making her suffer for another week or so isn’t really going to make me any happier. Remembering the good times will. Maybe not at first, but someday I will be able to look back at her life with happiness, not heartache.