Tuesday this week, she awoke as usual, and woke me to let her out. She came back in and made her way to the futon in the living room--her usual post for the day, when she wasn't out-side--and jumped up easily.
Forty-five minutes later, when I called her for her breakfast, she collapsed when her legs wouldn't hold her when she tried to jump down. She wouldn't eat, and hardly drank anything all that day, or the next, or the next (New Year's Day). Wednesday, I called my vet, and described the symptoms, and she was no more hopeful than I. Dogs know when it's time, and will tell you if you know how to read their text. Ceasing to eat and drink are the usual cues. All her internal functions were slowly shutting down. Mainly, I left her alone, taking her out into the sun to enjoy the sky and the breeze and the warmth of the sun.
I shall take her to the vet tomorrow, her last trip. I'll hold her on my lap when they give her the injection, and I'll be sure the last thing she hears is that I loved her dearly.
Too often this year (twice, cuz Mischief passed about 11 months ago), I have had recourse to this poem, which is my solace now:
The House Dog's Grave (for Haig, an English Bulldog)
I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you,
If you dream a moment,
You see me there.
So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.
I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no,
All the nights through I lie alone.
But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read‚
And I fear often grieving for me‚
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.
You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying.
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dears, that's too much hope:
You are not so well cared for as I have been.
And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided...
But to me you were true.
You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.