Putting Down The Dog

Putting to Rest Little White Dogs
JUNE 16, 2010 2:37AM

Moving on

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  Lula me at GuthrieLula at Guthrie on break

Some pictures from days when
I could take her with me to work.
 
 I started writing this blog to work through my feelings and worries about having the responsibility for killing my little dog. I've always had an impulse to write and I've always worked things out in writing.  Somehow, an audience, even a potential one, makes a difference.
 
I don't know why it's taken me so long to write her final episode.  It seems obvious and I have nothing more to work out about her.  After this, I will take all her stories off this site.  The pictures, names and things I have said make me identifiable.  The things I'm thinking about writing in the future make me want anonymity.  I haven't decided if I'm aiming to spare people's feelings or if I'm just a coward.
 
Here is the end of Lula if you're interested.
 


 She was aging and failing at a faster rate and I began to realize that I wasn't going to be able to dodge the decision.  It was a responsibility I didn't want.  With her having failed so gradually, without any obvious acute disease process, how could I possibly know for sure the best was time?  Everyone says you know.  I doubted that.
 
My vet said I would regret more waiting too long than acting too soon. I constantly worried that I was waiting too long, that she was in some pain I didn't recognize, that she wasn't happy, just hanging in there, forced to trudge through what was left of her life because I was too wrapped up in my own needs and emotions to recognize that it was past time to let her go.
 
Then we'd go off to the dog park and blind and deaf she'd start her "Hurry up!" barking a quarter mile away, dancing excitement on the back seat of the car.  Once there she'd take off, checking the scent messages left around the fence,
  Lual dog park fence cropped
zooming along to who knows where, usually south and west, away from the gate or towards something I couldn't see?
Lula ADP 3 08 06 13 
She would avoid rambunctious young dogs and gracefully accept the greetings and pets of her many admirers. Until the end, I had to hustle to keep up with her.
 
Above all, Lula had such huge spirit.  She brimmed with life no matter how decrepit her body got.
 
In mid-September last year I knew.  I just knew.  The eye with the lens that had become so thick and leathery from its old cataract that it tipped over was bulging noticably and tearing enough to cause stains for the first time in her life.  (Ironically that tipped lens allowed light to enter and give her some small bit of sight in her last months.)
 
This was a sign that fluid was building up inside the eye, its normal circulation impeded by the heavy tipped lens.  The vet had warned me that this would happen and that it would eventually cause pain and infection.
 
She began to tire more easily and lose footing in her back legs.  For the first time I picked her up and held her at the park.  It was the only way she'd rest.
 
She wasn't eating.  Even special foods she'd only pick at.
 
I knew.  If I waited any longer she'd suffer.  I would not let her suffer.
 
I made the appointment.
 
Her last night we went to the park.  By chance one of our favorite people was there, with her Eskie.  Other friends also said goodbye to Lula, hugged her, cried.
 
Lula just wanted to torque.  Off she went.
 
I chased her around with my phone, taking videos.  (Which I'd try to post if I could find the cord, which I can't.)  I'd see her back end get weak, waver, and I'd pick her up, hold her, let her rest.  We stayed until well after dark.
 
The next morning we all went out to potty, normal routine.  She went to the front yard, not normal.  She headed down the block, as fast as she could, through several neighbors' front yards.  What did she know?  I was too occupied retrieving her to allow myself to feel fully the apprehension that flickered in me.
 
She lost her back legs while she was pooping, plopping her bottom in the mess.  But I had promised her she'd never have to take another bath!  Now I had to apologize as I bathed her, but only as much as was absolutely necessary.
 
I was already in tears as I carried Lula into the vet's office
 
And I don't cry.
 Grand Ave vet center
Lula had seen only one veterinarian for the last seven years of her life and she was on vacation.  We would see a new, young vet, one who had started as a tech in this practice.  She is down to earth and honest and happy.  I like her very much.  I was happy to find that our  favorite tech, Cynthia, was working that morning.  She's a bit saccharine for my usual taste but she adored Lula so much and so obviously that her sweetness never bothered me.  I passed Lula gently to Cynthia who carried her into the back of the office space.
 
My son and his wife arrived and we went upstairs.
 
At this practice you don't stand around a sterile exam room while your pet dies on a steel table.  On the second floor of the old Victorian house where the practice is there is a room furnished as a living room with a comfortable, homey sofa, a couple of easy chairs, even a TV.  (We tried to but couldn't determine what the purpose of the TV was.)  In the center of the floor was a thick sponge pad.  It must be for bigger dogs.
 
Soon Cynthia brought Lula up the back stairs, mildly sedated, with a catheter inserted in her front leg. I held her on my lap, sitting on the sofa.  We had as much time as we wanted to say goodbye.
 
We petted her, told every Lula story, talked about having used this very room with my son's wife's old Sheltie just a few months before.  I told her how much I loved her, what a good, exceptional, perfect dog she'd been.  Lula dozed, her tongue lolling from the sedative.  We stayed forever in just a flash of time until finally, I told Heather, the vet, it was time.
 
Needle in the catheter, syringe plunged.  Instantly, silently, her spirit left us.
 
 I sobbed.  I don't cry.
 
I posted this by both gates at the dog park.  People still mention that they saw it.  People still ask after her.
 
Lula RIP
 
Two weeks later I picked up her ashes at the vet's office.  I walked in crying.
 
 
bullseye
She had her own dog.
 
 

finis

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Comments

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It is so difficult - and never easier. Thank you for sharing this. I do hope you will share your home again with one of Lulu's distant relatives. As you know, she would understand and approve.
Aw, thanks so much, Catherine. I'm surprised at the way I've had to work it out. Next I will see if finishing this allows me to think of writing about other things.

I am quite sure I'll have a relative of hers. But oh, no, Lula would not approve. She never much like or cared about other dogs, only tolerated them. She was like a cat that way (a cat princess?) Lucky for me, I only tolerated that side of her, never indulged it and she dealt.
lovely story
hang in there
you lost a good one
Oh gawd you made a tear reach my eye. The little ones in our lives mean so much. Shucks, I love my fish and hated when one died. *kisses*

Raney
So very poignant. I cried like a baby when I had to put my cat down, because of a brain tumor. His picture is still my screen saver.
You are both very fortunate. thanks for a most lovely post.
So very sorry. Our pets are like our soul mates. They love us unconditionally, and it was obvious the feeling was mutual with your little Lulu. Loved the photos! That face! That darling face!
Thank you all for your comments. It was years of hard work at the end but she enriched my life.

I don't know why more people don't have Eskies. Sure, there's that incessant yapping making your ears bleed but it's a small price to pay.