Last year, around September, we had double dog crises: Lucky was diagnosed with multiple heart ailments and Nemo was diagnosed with the funky fungus. Thankfully, both dogs are still here with us.
Lucky’s really starting to slow down. It’s happened gradually, but it still seems like it happened overnight. He’s not getting up as much – he sleeps the day away. And sometimes it takes him awhile to get to his feet, and then when he does, his first steps are quite wobbly.
Accidents are common – we occasionally find that he’s gone to the bathroom in his sleep. Which isn’t a problem for us, it’s no trouble to clean up after him, but it feels a little bit like he’s losing his dignity. Or, maybe he doesn’t even notice, or doesn’t even care.
That’s why it’s so hard to be a guardian for your dog – you’re left guessing about how they’re feeling, if they’re happy, if they’re in pain. Letting go isn’t easy – but deciding when to let go is the hardest decision of all…
He has good days. Days where he runs the fence (!) telling the bus or the mailman just what he thinks about ’em. He’ll still put Nemo in his place, too (which makes Nemo quite happy, oddly enough). He’s still a chow-hound, ready to eat anything any time of day.
I’ve always joked about Lucky’s demise because he’s been such a difficult dog with his aggression issues. But now that his mortality is staring me right in the face, I’m not joking anymore. I spend extra time with him during the day – belly rubs and extra treats. Just some one-on-one time together. I’d like to think he feels special during those moments.
He’s lived a good, long life – he’s almost 15. And he wasn’t a dog that could live just anywhere with just anyone. He needed a home without kids, without much foot traffic, and a home that could work with his aggression with positive training methods, not with punishment. And he’s found that with us, thankfully.
We’ve always said that Lucky will live forever because he’s just so ornery. I think we’re finding out that forever’s not going to happen. I pray that he goes in his sleep, peacefully and without pain. But if necessary, I will help him cross the Bridge, holding him and telling him what a good teacher he’s been for me.
Last August, I hoped for one last Christmas. Once he made that, I hoped for one last Easter. Now I’m hoping for one last summer…