Hard to write too much at the moment, but I feel like sharing some of this with many of you.
Heidi, The-Wonder-Dog is dying. She is in a great deal of pain, discomfort and confusion. Nothing we can do right now except make her as comfortable as possible and make it through the day and night to see how she does tomorrow.
It is very likely that we will take her to the vet to put her down, to ease her pain and let her go to wherever good dogs go.
Dammit, this is hard. I know, I know, everyone has had a good dog that dies at some point. But I really don't care. This is my dog and it is my pain that I feel.
Susan, of course is in as much pain or more. Heidi was her constant companion, and maybe even the child we never had. Susan and Heidi spent many days together when I was away, working in the Bay Area for almost 2 years. They bonded even more than Heidi and I did. I might have been the one who brought home the kill from McDonald's, but it was Susan who was sought out for comfort and succor.
Yeah, Heidi was our surrogate child and fuck you* if you think that's stupid or silly. If it seems that way to you, then stop reading and keep your comments to yourself...this post will mean nothing to you.
I've heard it said that a pain shared is halved. If that is true, then I cannot imagine what it would be like to carry this alone. For either of us.
It is amazing how these little creatures can sneak into your heart, create a warm space to reside and be part of your daily thoughts and important characters in fanciful dreams. It's amazing how they seem to rely on us for just about everything, when in reality we rely on them for so much.
I'll edit this later. Just thought I'd share for a bit. Maybe it helps.
ADDED 12/11/06: As the day progressed, Heidi's condition worsened. She was displaying signs of dementia, her back legs stopped functioning and she began to soil herself repeatedly. When she lay there and whimpered with each breath, there was no waiting until morning to handle it.
The phone call to a nearby 24-hour Urgent Vet Care was easy. The drive over there with the knowledge of what we must do and what outcome would result was not. Hard, wracking sobs mixed with rain-slicked roads made the trip a bit treacherous, but Heidi's soft moans kept me focused to get there as soon as possible.
The wonderful staff at the Vet hospital was immediately accommodating, understanding and kind. After a few brief forms were filled out and consolatory remarks expressed from everyone, Heidi's suffering was ended. It was peaceful and as graceful as these things can be.
The number of times that Susan and I cried, sobbed or just paused in grief-inspired reflection last night is lost to me. For the last month, both of us have wiped a tear after witnessing some other sign that her time was nearing the end. It seems that all we need to do is to recall her fuzzy face, sweet ways or observations such as that she never barked, except in her dreams, and the heart stabs return.
Certainly, most dogs are good dogs and have their own charming dog-ways. It's just that Heidi was our good dog and now she is gone. Our home will be a little less human with her not in it.
I'll add more in a bit. I need to thank this mongrel of extremely questionable parentage for doing so much for us. I should mention that whenever folks asked us what kind of dog she was, it was generally, "pure bred pound terrier" which seemed to satisfy just about everyone who asked. To be honest, there was no telling what various breeds were added to the soup to create Heidi. All I know is that it resulted in a very fine companion and sweet natured family member.
*Many years ago, we had a new neighbor that stated the obvious when she said something like, "Oooh, you don't have kids - so your dog is your surrogate child I guess - harrumph!" Standing in the street with her and another neighbor (Alison, who loved Heidi, too) I answered, "yeah...and your point is what?" Alison was so flustered that she merely said, very loud, "Gawd...what a bitch!"
The creepy new neighbor lady turned away suddenly and went back inside to suck on her wine bottle. Okay, that's not kind. I apologize. So maybe it was vodka, but I really think the old bat was drinking most of the day away. I'm a little sensitive when it comes to the child - pet comparisons. Geesh, I'm not a total nut, I know the difference between the two, for goodness sakes.
One you gotta send to college, the other gets rabies shots.