Sometimes you go through life, everything seems just right, and you are so thankful for all the wonderful blessings. Then, you come to a complete stop and have to make a life-changing decision before you can journey any further. That's when life is hard. That's when you wish you could be a child again without the adult responsibilities. That's when you cry out to God the loudest.
Craig and I had to decide if now was the time for our dog to go or selfishly keep her around. Nobody wants to plan a death, whether a human or an animal. It's not something you want to make an appointment for and put it in your daily calendar after gym time and before lunch with a friend. You don't want to wake up and think "Oh yeah, today is the day my furry best friend is going to pass away." You just can't plan ahead for something like that.
July 2001, I was working as an office assistant in a veterinary clinic in Santa Fe, NM. Craig and I had only been married 1 1/2 yrs. We had seriously been talking about getting a dog. I was working in the right place to see which breed would fit us best. A lady came in with a beautiful black and white Sheltie. She said she was in Alamogordo, south of Santa Fe, at a gas station close to the highway. An RV pulls up, throws the Sheltie out into traffic, and pulls away. Who does that? What kind of person just gets rid of an animal, a pet nonetheless, in the middle of nowhere and leaves it?
Thankfully, there are caring individuals out there. The dog was scooped up, rode back to Santa Fe with complete strangers, and was brought to the vet clinic where I worked for a thorough examination. One of the vets guessed her to be about 4 yrs old and had a least one litter of puppies. The lady that brought the dog also informed the office that she was looking for a home for the dog, but would gladly keep her until someone wanted her. She also named the dog Lady.
Timing could not be more perfect. I immediately called Craig and by the next day, Lady was ours! There were obvious signs of abuse. She flinched very easily. She never licked and rarely barked. She was absolutely afraid of cars. She didn't want to get anywhere near them and would not even get inside of one. Gradually, she began to trust us. Lady became more playful and soon loved to go on car rides in the beautiful mountains of New Mexico.
Working at the vet clinic had some great perks. I was allowed to bring Lady with me to work. And I did. A lot! It was great having her with me like that and she soon became very attached to me.
Lady never caused problems. She was very mild mannered and very well-behaved. We got a playmate for her in 2003, a sable-colored Sheltie we named Princess. They got along very well. Kaitlyn was born later that year and Preston was born in 2006. Lady never had any issues with either of them.
Then, she started getting old and her health started to decline. Lady lost her hearing a couple years ago. I don't know if it was caused by old age or from her previous abusive life. There were times she simply couldn't stand. Her little legs would try so hard and she would just fall back down. She started urinating blood in the house in March. Accidents were no longer uncommon for her, but I knew this was something different. A visit to the vet told us she was in kidney failure, liver failure, had arthritis, cataracts, and a severe ear infection. We were told she only had a few months to maybe a couple years left in her little doggy life. Definitely not anything you want to hear.
We brought her home knowing that our time with her was very limited. She continued to have accidents, was losing weight, and not eating nearly as much as she used to. Then Monday I noticed what looked like a blood clot in her eye. She also had no more vision in that eye. I told Craig we need to take her to the vet and get it checked out. I won't do medicine or surgery, but I just knew it was something that Lady needed to be seen for.
Craig came home from the appointment, with Lady in tow, and with tears in his eyes told me we had to decide. The vet thought she had cancer and now had a heart murmur. There was nothing more we could do for her and even though we don't see it, she's in a lot of pain. We knew we had to stop being selfish and let her be at peace. We all very tearfully said good-bye to her and Craig took her on one more car ride.
Lady was 14 years old and we had her for 10 great years. Having written an entire post about our dog may seem very silly to some, but she was a member of this family. She was our first "child" and we will never ever forget the wonderful memories we all had with her. People that came over to our house always saw Lady walking around or simply sleeping. It will take some getting use to not seeing her sleep in her usual spot or carrying her up the stairs, but we know it's for the better.