True and loyal friends don’t come around too often.
That’s what makes dogs so amazing. Dogs only want to please you. They will be a loyal companion to and protective of even the most loathsome and cruel owners, owners who are unworthy of such devotion and love. That is why it is so sad when the day comes that your most loyal companion needs you to do what is right by them.
A walk in the field …
Today, Sophie and I went for our usual walk in the field where we saw one of our friends with her two dogs, Charlie and Koa. Charlie is a fun-loving, ball chasing Golden Retriever, while Koa is, I believe, an older Yellow Lab mix.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to Charlie and Koa’s owner and her husband, who made the comment that he wasn’t sure how much longer Koa would be around. It seems Koa was having trouble standing, and moving around, and seemed to be “lost” sometimes.
Today, there were taking Koa for one last walk in the fields he loved to roam around in during his entire life. You could tell he was enjoying being there, but you could also tell he was ready for a rest. They had to help Koa back to the car when it was time to head to the vet’s office. It was time for this loyal and steadfast friend to be at peace.
Dog owners will understand …
Dogs live short lives. So if you own dogs, this will happen to you. I have had dogs, sometimes multiple, for my entire life. For me, dogs are simply members of my immediate family. They’ve provided enjoyment, laughter, comfort, and understanding when human friends simply walk away. So, when it is time to do the best thing for such a loyal companion, it is almost a debt of honor.
I was reminded of the last time I had to go through this with Roxie. She was a rescued female Doberman and a beautiful dog. Roxie was a great friend during some really tough times for me. Unfortunately, she was struck by a debilitating disease when she was about five years old, known as Wobbler’s Syndrome. It is a degeneration of vertebra in the neck that typically affects young Great Danes and middle-aged Dobermans and causes a loss of coordination and balance through the legs and hips. As it progresses, it can cause a lot of pain, especially in the neck region
This disease has two paths it frequently takes. It can come on hard and fast, and there is nothing you can do except end your friend’s suffering. Or, it can come on, reach a point and level out for about two years, before coming on again and forcing you to make the tough decision.
For Roxie, the disease took the second path, and we had about two more pretty good years. She looked like she’d drank a few too many Margaritas when running, and toward the end, we needed a lot of low dose aspirin and neck massages, which she really enjoyed, but that dreaded day had to come.
For Roxie, we couldn’t go to the dog park because of the condition the disease had her in. So, we went out into the yard and sat in the sun. It was pleasant, not too hot, and she enjoyed that. I spent a lot of time massaging her neck. Then, when it was time, we went to the vet.
I will never forget the very kind veterinarian. There were two shots. The first to relax Roxie and the second to put her to sleep. I got down on the floor with her as the vet administered the first shot. There was an instant change in Roxie. For a moment, it was like I had my old dog back. She rested her head on my arm as if to say, “thank you,” then the vet gave her the second shot, and she quietly went to sleep. It was an emotional experience. I felt heart-broken, and tears welled up in my eyes. But, I was also happy she was no longer in any pain.
I have Sophie now, and she is another fantastic dog. I never try to compare a current dog to past dogs I have had. They are like people, each unique in personality and the gifts they bring. I will have dogs as long as I can adequately care for them. The joy they bring to my life is worth the sad day that will always come. And that’s okay. Because, the God that I worship, lets all dogs into Heaven.