Today was a really tough day. We had to have our 15 year old dachshund, Lilly Belle, put to sleep. I’ll spare you the details, but she was getting old and it was really showing.
Every time we moved or there was some big change or we just left for a few days on a vacation (leaving her with a sitter) she seemed to get a little older.
It was like watching waves wash ashore taking a little more of her vitality. One day she was fine and then a wave hit. She’d have a rough day or two. And when she recovered, she never got fully better.
One day she was fine and a wave hit and then she couldn’t see the stairs we put for her next to the bed or sofa.
One day she was fine and then she wouldn’t roll over for belly rubs.
One day she was fine and then she would have a sensitive spot on her side and would startle when we went to pick her up.
One day she was fine and then she didn’t really seem to hear us walking around the house.
One day she was fine and then her hind legs didn’t work quite right and she would stagger around as if drunk.
One day she was fine and then she made a mess in her bed.
We had no illusions about what we were seeing. She was pushing up on 16 years old and doxies only live for about 15 – 17 years. We didn’t expect that she would still be with us in November to welcome the baby into our home… but we did hope.
This last wave came crashing in over this past week. When it started, I remarked, “I think she only has a month or two left.” I was hoping.
Last night it became clear that we couldn’t leave her with a sitter when we leave for vacation tomorrow.
Vacation. I feel like an absolute beast thinking about vacation while all of this is going on. I worried that because I was thinking about vacation, I was rushing into the decision to let her go. I worried that because I was thinking about vacation, I wasn’t thinking about what was really best for her.
But when husby and I made a list of all the things standing in the way of her being happy and comfortable in life, it was an ocean of waves too big for her little old legs. She would never be young again. She would be this… and worse. So, as difficult as the decision was, as selfish as it feels now to be packing up for a trip we believe it was the right decision at the right time.
We have a great vet who shifted her schedule around to be with us during the process of letting Lilly B go. She knew Lilly’s history and agreed that it was the right time. If we prolonged her life, Lilly would be the one who paid for it in more discomfort and suffering. As her owners, we couldn’t do that to her.
She slept more today than she usually does. Probably because of how long she was awake during the night. And she seemed to be getting around better than usual. She even hopped around a little bit after our other dog as if she wanted to play. I gave her some treats and made sure I spent some more time petting and cuddling her. I think she had a good day.
And the drug they used to put her to rest was a pale blue. It really struck me that this source of final relief was such an unusual, peaceful color. The color of calm water.