There was no coincidence that it was raining this morning. Although it was a steady light shower, it felt like more of a downpour. I bathed my 13 year old lab this past Monday and could feel, not only the tumors she had had on her side over the last three years, but that now she felt emaciated; able to feel her skeletal structure as I lathered her coat with shampoo. My mom made a statement that struck a chord. She said, “I can’t believe you’re letting her live like that, Heather. My goodness, you should know. You’re a nurse for heaven’s sake.”
I don’t know that being a nurse had anything to do with it, but it was evident that my husband and I were in denial as to the current state of our dog’s health. We couldn’t bring ourselves to discuss the issue. Even though we consistently had to clean up accidents, which she didn’t even know she was having, we just didn’t speak of the end. Even though our dog declined food, scratched the door to come in and out and in and out from confusion, and was challenged with mobility from arthritis, we simply did not communicate letting her go. That is, until this past Monday when I called to make an appointment with our vet for today, Saturday April 13, 2013, to discuss these issues regarding our beloved pet.
A flood of emotion accompanied the words as we begin to give an account of our dog’s condition. And that emotion only continued as we proceeded with what we knew was inevitable…. saying goodbye to our Bailey Ann.
We took her into a big room and spread out our big blanket that she loved to lay on when we have movie night. I gave her treats as she relaxed on the blanket with us. The vet delicately and lovingly gave her a shot to make her sleep, and then came back to administer that last shot. I snuggled her and repeatedly told her, “I love you, Bailey.”
We carried her to our car and brought her back home where she belongs; with us. On that drive I reminisced of the beautiful spring day that my husband and I went to get her. Our sweet dog never completely lost that playful puppy spirit. Her body deteriorated but her spirit never did; which is what made it so hard to let go.
In the thirteen years we had to enjoy Bailey, she welcomed home all four of our children and guarded them as if they were her own, she survived being run over four times, she graced the photo of every Christmas card and she greeted us each time we pulled in the driveway or walked in the door. She was a part of our family before we became a family.
We close a chapter as we bid farewell to our precious pet. I should only be filled with joy to have had the blessing of such an amazing dog for so many years. I imagine there will never be another like her, our Bailey Ann.
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