I don't know why it didn't hit me that this is my last weekend with Shiela until today when I looked out the window to the back yard and saw the maple seed pods dropping from the maples in the breeze that has come up this afternoon as the thunderstorms try to move into the area. I don't know if it was that scene, or the book I am currently listening too as I continue to pack away our belongings into their proper places in the new house, or the simple fact that I have to keep stepping over her carefully so not to disturb her last days as I go about these tasks.
Whatever the trigger, I find that I'm thankful that I do know that these are my last days with her. That I was able to make this choice for her and pamper her for one last weekend and that I find some strange comfort that it should be over Memorial Day weekend that her last days span. It's appropriate in some way, and the fact that she came into my life on a sunny May weekend and is leaving my life on the same. It's been a hell of a 17 years Sweet Mama.
You have been with me for my entire adult life. I went to the pound to get you on my lunch break when I found out that another rescue association took you on the news that morning despite the Aussie Rescue Association's tag on you since they were holding you for me to get off work the next morning. I had to put you in the back of my truck when I got back to work in which you promptly tore out the screen from the rear bed and jumped. But I found you again... Thanks for sticking by me from there on out.
You were there for me through so many changes and phases of my life. I know that your absence is going to be a hole I feel for ages. Hell, I still talk to you when it's just me and the dogs around though I know your deaf as a door nail and have been for over a year. Now that your eyes have been failing for sometime it's that nose that guides you around.
Now it's your liver that appears to be going, and that isn't something we can chalk up to old age and live with is it? No, you're barely eating anything other than extra special treats like the hot dogs off the new grill we the Guy bought on Saturday and yesterdays ice cream treat after our outing to the Flat River. You're losing weight drastically, and have a hard time moving around and though we have upped your pain meds I know you're hurting and can't let this keep going.
I'm going to miss you so much. The way you always had to check on me, and even now have tried to stagger upstairs to confirm my whereabouts. You've slept most of the day away while I sorted and shuffled and kept coming to check on you but as soon as I sat down at the computer and was gone for more than a few minutes you had to do as you always do and make sure you know where I am. Just like these last three pictures where it was you looking to check on where I was or make sure I was part of the attention getting process. At least you've passed this trait onto Sullivan.
And boy, no house will be home without your wily ways and doing things you know you shouldn't. I have never had a dog outsmart me as much as you have over the years and your brothers will never have your happy little evil streak. I still laugh thinking about some of your exploits.
Like knocking Kelly and Jon's little Chocolate Lab pup who had been harassing you and chewing on your ears into the creek as soon as you figured out he was scared of water. Or taking that little kids ice cream scoop right off his cone as you walked by in the crowd during parade day. You must have been 14 or 15 and were still faster and smarter than your boys ever would be.
Mind you, it didn't stop you from teaching them plenty of bad behaviors, but also a lot of good ones. You showed each one the ropes and I firmly believe you made life much easier introducing each new dog to our little
Despite your flair for life, you were almost always a good dog. You made me laugh, and now your absence is making me cry, yet you always seemed to know how far you could go and never did anything that crossed that line. Hell, you were such a good dog I never really took training seriously until the day you found Emmitt left out to freeze to death.
I will never forget that you not only touched my life and made it so much better by your presence in it; even in the worse of times, but also those of many others. Not only people but other canines. Had you not been the easy going (we won't mention the few dogs that you opened the can of whoop ass for they deserved it), and attentive to show your boys how to behave, we would never have been able to foster dogs as easily as we have. You were always confident with out being a bossy bitch and knew your place in our world, therefore let other dogs know their own. In your way you always had an elegance, poise, and grace to you.
Okay, so maybe that's pushing it, but you always had character. Always.
Love you Baby Girl.
This Post was written on Monday the 26th. I am posting it today as I prepare to take her to the vet for our last appointment. I have known all weekend that Shiela was ill and had made the decision and appointment to put her to sleep last Wednesday after speaking to the vet when her blood work came back. She had quit eating last week, which for those of you who knew her, know that this is not the Shiela way of thinking about life. It seems after years of Rimadyl for old bones her liver was finally giving way. Who would have known she would have made it 17 years in my care? Since she was already an adult when I got her and had no puppy behaviors or physical characteristics at the time I had the joy of adopting her, this means she is at the very least 18 years old now. Even for a proud old bitch, this is ancient and I had to make this decision since she is obviously not going to go quietly in her sleep. Why did I think this cantankerous old bird would? She's always been stubborn and I knew better in my heart. However; I couldn't say much to anyone about this decision because it breaks my heart each time I think about it, so I've just been loving on her and make sure she knew she was loved for one last weekend. I wrote this today because I'm afraid that tomorrow I won't be able to. I will hurt too much. So please when you read this don't call or try to see me because I will just blubber my way through any conversation as I am doing so right now. Instead I will spend the day as I should. Walking the boys, spending time with them and remembering my girl in all her glory.
This is the worst part of having a "pet" in one's life, yet I wish we could make such decision for our human loved ones. Who wants to hurt in the end? It's a responsibility and honor to make these decisions and though I hate doing it, I understand the gift she's given me to make this one for her.