Yesterday we had to put our 12 year old black lab to sleep. She had severe arthritis in her back, was a bit senile, and going deaf. Her shock collar died, she wandered off Friday evening, and got hit by a car. Was picked up by someone who saw her get hit. This Good Samaritan was wonderful. This is a big dog, she was traumatized and in pain, and she bit the woman (not badly). I wonder how she even got Tillie into her car. The next morning she took her to an emergency clinic, who managed to track me down. Although x-rays showed no breaks, Tillie’s back legs were paralyzed, and with her age and arthritis it was clear there would be no recovery. I spent a long time sitting in her cage with her and crying, held her head while she went peacefully to sleep, sat there with her body and cried some more. Sat in the parking lot for a long time trying to pull myself together so I could drive home. Cried when I called my boss to say I wasn’t coming back to work. Cried when I drove into the driveway and she wasn’t there to greet me. Cried when I went to bed last night. Good grief, I’m crying sitting here writing this. I cry not out of despair or anger or how hard it was to make the decision. Just grief. Saying a final goodbye to an old friend. We took her for granted most of the time, but we always knew she was outside. She let us know when someone drove up, she greeted us as we came in or out of the house with a thumping tail wag and a grin on her grizzled doggy face. Even as she got to where she couldn’t manage the steps she always seemed to be happy. Now there is an empty bed on the front porch.
God has taught me over the years to find a way to thank Him every day. I have to admit this has been hard the past year, but the habit has probably preserved my sanity and pulled me out of the depths of depression more often than I realize. So today I am thanking God. Here’s my list.
1. Thank you Lord for the life we lived with Tillie.
2. Thank you for those puppies born during Hurricane Ivan.
3. Thank you that she didn’t hold it against us when we neglected her or took her for granted.
4. Thank you for the wonderful lady who picked her up Friday night, even after being bitten.
5. And then took her to the emergency clinic all the way up in town.
6. Thank you for the vet tech who works there, who used to work for my vet and was able to call him to find me.
7. Thank you that I was at work and so close to the clinic.
8. Thank you for the pain meds they could give Tillie.
9. And for the vet and the techs that took care of her, not knowing if anyone would pay that bill.
10. Thank you that I got to sit with her and tell her goodbye and be with her at the end.
Goodbye baby girl. Rest in Peace.