Thanks to everyone for their kind words about my dog.
Rudy’s passing came about rather quickly and unexpectedly. He was about 9 1/2 years old, but the last 3 or 4 hadn’t been the best for him. He had sustained fairly significant injuries to both joints in his hind legs which made it difficult for him to run or even walk and caused pretty severe arthritis. There were corrective surgeries we could have looked at, but they were far from guaranteed and were prohibitively expensive. As a result of these injuries, we had to keep him from running and in truth, even taking him for casual walks seemed to cause him discomfort.
When we heard a loud thump and looked to see him scrambling to get up off the floor on Friday night, we assumed he had possibly had a seizure and/or aggravated his injuries. The fact that following that incident he barely moved, had stopped eating and going to the bathroom and was panting, led us to believe that it was probably the latter and he was in some pain. Given that it was the Easter weekend, taking him to the vet was going to cost about triple the going rate. Since I assumed it was an issue with his legs, I tried giving him some aspirin in hopes of easing some of his pain and getting us through until Monday.
On Sunday morning, though, he just seemed worse. He still wouldn’t get up or go outside. We carried him out on his padded bed in case the deck stairs were the barrier, but even out on the grass he wouldn’t stand. We laid out in the sun for a while as it was a nice day. After bringing him back in, he flopped over on his side and began to pant more. We decided to call the on-call vet and take him in.
We were waiting for a call back when Rudy’s body seized up and his heart failed. I was with him as he went, my hand on his side as he quivered and took his last breaths. I was calm as those around me wept. I have experience dealing with crisis and tragedy and in the moment, I can function….because I have to. Someone has to.
But once the moment was over, and I had explained what happened to my daughter, and the reality of the loss of one of my closest friends settled in, I retreated to the washroom, closed the door, and broke down.
The rest of the day was a joyless haze. My nerves were raw as I set about taking the body to the vet and making the arrangements for cremation before getting on with the rest of the Easter festivities. I felt hollow, and kept wondering if I had taken him in earlier if anything could have been done, even if that was just making his transition a little easier and more peaceful. But that’s such a hard decision to make. It’s hard because they can’t talk to you. They can’t tell you if they want to go on or if they just want to go.
Rudy was my best buddy through 4 homes and 2 Provinces. We used to play in the yard and go for walks. When he was a puppy he would snatch whole, raw chicken breasts from the counter when we weren’t looking. He loved ham and barking at strangers…but only long enough until he could sniff and lick them. Sometimes he would jump up on the bed and want to sleep with me. We may have even spooned on occasion. He was great with my daughter, even though her arrival resulted in less attention for him. Anyone you ask would tell you that he was a great dog.
He was rubbish at fetch, though. He never wanted to let go.
Neither did I.