Sunday, January 2, 2011

Putting my dog down

It's a new year and I feel bad about bringing up depressing topics, but this is what is up for me in my life right now. My poor, old collie dog, Gracie, is in terrible shape. She has hip dysplasia, and can't get up and down at all anymore. She barks and yelps when she wants up. If I'm home, I go out and help her up, but I worry about her when I'm not here. She has lost a lot of weight, and just seems to be in pain all the time. She used to love to come in the house, but now she can't get up the steps, and if I carry her in, she seems disoriented and doesn't seem to want to be in the house. It seems like she has dementia and can't understand what's going on anymore. Also, she's gone completely deaf. I came home a week or two ago, and found her stuck in the mud in the bayou next to our house. I don't know how she got down there. It's terrible to see her like this. She was my walking companion for many years.
I've struggled with what to do about her for several months and now I am ready to have her put down this week. I can't stand to see her lay there and starve to death, and suffer. I will miss her, but I know she doesn't have much good ahead of her.
I guess the reason I've struggled with it so much is because I believe in natural birth, and I also believe in natural death. But I don't want to see her suffering anymore. The difference between natural birth is that it's pain with a purpose, and I really believe most of the time, it's better not to intervene. With Gracie, there is no purpose in letting her lie in the yard and die of thirst when I'm not here. I will miss her terribly, but I want her suffering to end.
I'm attaching a picture of Gracie and myself and two of my sons, taken in Galveston. This picture was taken just a few weeks after Hurricane Ike, about two years ago. This is the way I want to remember her.