Buddy – A Series Of Adventures – Darkest Decision, Brightest Star

Our walks have been diminishing.

Oh God, Buddy, I am so sorry.

In the past few months, we’ve gone from a brisk 45 minutes to 30, then 30 with a few breaks, then down to a slow 20, with breaks.  Today, we barely made it 60 yards, stopping every 10 feet or so, before turning back around.  But July is over.  We’re into August now.  Tomorrow is your 11th birthday.  The vet only gave me 10 days of pills at your visit in April, believing we would not need to come back for more.

You sure showed him.

The hardest part is to witness this unbeatable deterioration, knowing how badly you want to run like the wind.  Nose up, and on the alert. Get those birds. You don’t understand why it feels so impossible to do now.  You look up at me with those big brown trusting eyes, as if asking me to make it better.

But I can’t make it better. I’m not a rich woman.  I can’t afford over $10,000 just to maybe give you 6 more months.  I can only try to keep you comfortable until the day we need to make that darkest decision.  And there is no way of knowing when that day is going to come.  For now, the futon cushion is on the living room floor.  The girls and I stay with you every night on that cushion while you struggle through restless sleep and intermittent groans of pain as your Rimadyl starts to wear off.  The midnight snacks and pill we started seem to be helping pull you through the night more comfortably.  By morning, the girls have climbed to higher ground, leaving you curled up by my legs on the floor.  As hard as you sleep after that pill, all it takes is for me to stir just a little, and you are awake, looking intensely at me as if you are afraid to be alone, and you pull yourself up to my bosom and place a paw on my arm, staring into my face.  I know you are scared .

They say that I will know when ‘it’s time’.  They say that you will tell me.

Is this you telling me?  Oh no, please, no.

It was hard enough to make those tough decisions two years ago when you were sick.  But how in the world do I stand up and say it’s time to extinguish the light of my brightest star?

We hardly leave home any more.  Your leg has swelled so much your boot no longer fits.  I know you are tired from that big 10 minute walk around the yard.  After a long drink of water, you lay down on the patio, next to your big smoked bone, too tired to chew on it, but instead drifting off into dog dreamland.

What are you dreaming about, sweet boy?  Days in the field, running like the wind, getting those birds?

You open your eyes from time to time, checking to see where I am.  I am right here –I could watch you sleep all day.  The girls make it a point to give you extra space.  They often flank you while you are sleeping.  You never have to fear with the three of us around, we are protecting you.

Sometimes you will not listen, or even look at me, when I call you.  It’s not the same as looking like you are in pain.  With head down, you turn and slowly go the other way, as though you are ashamed or dejected.  How can I convince you?  How can I make you understand?  How can I assure you that you have done nothing wrong?  You are the best boy ever.  You are brave, and strong, and bring great joy to us all.  You are an important member of our family and you are deeply loved by everyone.  There is nothing to be ashamed about.  We love you no matter what is happening to you, and we will be there through thick and thin.

You have toys scattered throughout the main floor.  Bones and chews that you’ve pretty much lost interest, or energy in.  Your hunting collar hangs against the wall in its assigned place.  You no longer point to it and then to me.  Same with the treats container.  You’ve become indifferent towards that as well.

I know we are nearing time for making the darkest decision I’ve ever had to make. DarkDecisions2

As I struggle and cry and mourn over the seriousness of this situation, you suddenly perk up and come to my side, trying to comfort me.  You have your ball, drop it at my feet, and are nudging me.  You hate it when I cry.  I hate it that I am not stronger for you.  You lick my leg, and look at me with those big chocolate brown trusting eyes.

My god.

I am not anywhere near ready for such a dark decision.

My sweet Buddy, you need to know you are, and will forever be, my most cherished companion, the brightest star of my heart.

 

You can read all about my boy… there are lots of stories under “Buddy – A Series of Adventures” in my blog category, “Words From The Wild”.  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in our stories.

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Comments

  1. Being stewards for our beloved animal companions is one of the hardest jobs. Which somehow seems fair given the boundless gifts they give us. I wish you peace as you navigate this journey. Buddy knows you love him.

  2. Yes, Buddy knows you love him. I believe sometimes animals want to be left alone with their pain. I lost Waylon after 15 years in May – I hear him still – the crazy little thing he was! Yes, it is tough – and “they” told me the same things. Waylon was pretty deaf and blind at the end – I wish I’d videoed him barking at the thunder, howling to the telephone!

  3. My heart cries and cries for you. It is the hardest choices I’ve ever made. And yet, it’s true, I knew when it was time and so did my beloved friend. Hugs for both of you.

  4. My heart is breaking here. I am so sorry. It is one of the hardest things I ‘ve ever had to go through. Just so hard. Sending you both much love and jumbo hugs.

  5. Sending love and peace to you, Buddy and your family. My dogs are getting older, and 1 is diabetic now and this is something I dread every day. Buddy knows how much you love him and he will always know.

  6. Thoughts are with you during this heartbreaking time

  7. Crying with you, lost for words xxx

  8. Oh Patty, my heart hurts for you and Buddy. I don’t know what to say. Sending a big hug.

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