Today’s post is a pretty personal one. We took our oldest dog, Abbie, to the vet yesterday. She’s been struggling more and more each day. She’s over 14 years old (her breed’s typical life expectancy is 10-12 years), she has horrible arthritis, she sometimes seems to be “lost”, and she has had a handful of “accidents” in the house over the last two months (which is completely out of character for her).
Abbie is our first elderly dog. We have no idea what is considered a “normal” part of aging and what’s not. Ultimately we just want to do right by Abbie, to keep her in as little pain as possible, and to enjoy our time with her….which is quickly running out.

Abbie on her 14th Birthday

Our vet is absolutely the sweetest lady. If you live near Lawrenceville, GA, I highly recommend seeing Dr. Cook at Gwinnett Animal Clinic.  I won’t go into the details of the visit. The bottom line is that Dr. Cook said Abbie is on the decline and that it will be her immobility that will cause us to have to eventually put her down.  We’re at the point that there’s just not anything more we can do for her. She’s on five prescriptions to manage her pain and slow the arthritis progression. Her grandparents buy her a nice orthopedic bed every other year for Christmas. We cater to her in anyway we can (particularly with assistance in getting up/down stairs). But the vet confirmed what we have known…in the near future we’re gonna be forced to make a painful decision to end the life of another living being.

when do you let go?

Abbie as a Kitty Cat, Halloween 2017

So here we are on the threshold of this awful decision. Where do we draw the line? How will we know this is it? Will we feel peace in our hearts and minds knowing we’re making the right decision at the right time? Are we being selfish? And that question can be asked from two perspectives. Are we being selfish by keeping her in pain because we don’t want to make the decision? Or are we being selfish by making the decision too soon because an elderly dog with all of her ailments/needs is a lot to deal with? How do you end the life of a companion you’ve had for 14 years?

I just hate all of this so much. There is no happy way to wrap up this post. No nice ribbon and bow. Just a heavy heart and a good dog whose body is giving up quicker than her mind.

At her vet visit yesterday

I’ll tell ya this though, she’s a smart dog! Her day care has to use extra locks on her kennel at night and nap time because she knows how to open it. Even now, with all her health issues, she needs the extra locks. She gets that determination and persistence from me, I’m proud to say!

‘Til next time,
~jen
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